Preschool director explains why affordable childcare is so hard to find – Valley News Live
MOORHEAD, MN (Valley News Live) – A common complaint we hear often from parents is that childcare is difficult to find, and costs continue to rise. The average cost for childcare at a group facility is around $10,000 per child a year, according to www.childcareaware.org.
Valley News TeamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Nicole Johnson sat down with a local preschool director to find out why itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s so hard to get into childcare.
“The ones that are really good have waiting lists that are really long,” says Kay Heidrich, director of Trinity Lutheran Preschool.
The wait list is a seemingly never ending process for Heidrich. And has to turn down families all the time trying to get childcare.
“Almost daily, and it’s really, really hard, currently there was a Moorhead site who is closing and so that is, phone calls daily, phone calls daily,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¯Â¿Â½ says Heidrich. Most people apply for toddler care when their infant is born, and there are people on the waiting list for 2017.
Heidrich says more people are working, including grandparents who traditionally could take care of children. “Times are changing, times are really changing, we are finding that people are staying in the less longer than they used to, even programs.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¯Â¿Â½ She says. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI was really sad to see a place close, that means that’s 30 something less spots that are no longer available, and the community has to absorb that, and it’s just difficult.”
Multiple childcare providers tell us, it’s tough to find good workers, and even harder to keep them around. Problem is, when childcare providers find qualified passionate people, they have to pay them more. Driving up cost for parents. “I know it seems very costly for families, and it is, I mean that’s one of their larger bills, but it’s really costly for programs too,” says Heidrich.
Heidrich’s advice: start early, and be patient. “There’s a tendency to have to want to settle sometimes, but stay with it, ask around,” she says.
Parent’s concerns over childcare has been heard by Minnesota lawmakers. Some house republicans have formed a special committee on affordable childcare, they plan to study the shortages. Also, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has proposed a childcare tax credit.