FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Schools and childcare facilities have had to close for COVID-19, staffing shortages and weather this year, leaving parents scrambling to find childcare.

LaTrisha Murphy has a two-year-old daughter in daycare. She said her daughter has only been in daycare a few days in 2022 because of different closings. Murphy said she is then left having to find a babysitter or having to miss work.

“That really kind of cuts into a good portion of what you were going to make that day,” Murphy said.

Murphy said missing daycare means her daughter also misses therapy.

“That does affect her and I can see it set her back or make it take longer maybe for her to have progress or something, because absolutely kids with disabilities and stuff, it is even more crucial for them to get that consistency,” Murphy said.

Childcare Aware of NWA helps connect families to childcare in Arkansas. Co-director Michelle Wynn said like K-12 schools, childcare facilities have been hit hard with staffing shortages during COVID-19. As a parent herself, she understands these shortages can have a trickle down effect.

“Families are having to take off work and find childcare and maybe do the virtual school from home and so it can be very stressful for families again,” Wynn said.

Wynn said the facilities Childcare Aware of NWA works with are taking extra safety precautions to keep students and staff safe during the pandemic.