FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On September 30, childcare providers stopped receiving funding through the American Rescue Plan.
Now that funds are cut, the biggest challenge they face is finding and funding enough staff.
“It’s still the struggle of finding employers to work in childcare,” said Michelle Wynn, the co-director of Childcare Aware NWA.
The grant initially helped families who qualified to use vouchers to afford childcare providers. It also helped daycares to upgrade their buildings and find and fund staff.
“The money that we received, we used for improvements and expansion. And so that’s been a big help. However, now finding people to staff the expansion in the other rooms that we’ve opened has been a struggle,” said Harmony Benedict, co-director at Kirsty’s Place.
Now without the funding, daycares are increasing tuition and are struggling to hire enough staff. Benedict says finding experienced staff is very difficult, and finding applicants is just as hard.
“I have maybe five show up for an interview, and I’ll set up a trial and then I have maybe two that show up at that. And then, maybe they make it, maybe they don’t,” said Benedict.
She says legally the amount of workers for infants is one adult per five children. For toddlers, it’s one adult per eight children, and preschool is one adult per 12.
“Yeah. I mean, it’s a struggle,” said Benedict.
Wynn says the only way to get through this is with the help of resources in the community.