By TMoM Team Member Dennette Bailey
Have you experienced, what feels like, an all of a sudden loss of quality childcare or preschool options? The entire Unites States has seen a significant drop in childcare spaces available. Sadly, North Carolina is heavily impacted by this drop. Liz Bell reports for Ed NC (Education North Carolina) that 43% of licensed Family Child Care Homes and Centers have closed.
Childcare facilities have closed for a variety of reasons. These reasons including fewer availability of staff, low pay, and increased expenses to run childcare facilities.
What can you do if you are having difficulty finding a childcare or preschool facility for your child?
- Get a Referral– Ask people who are happy with their childcare facilities for the name and contact of that facility. In addition, utilize trusted referral agencies. The Childcare Resource Center is a great example. Reach them at 336-245-4900 or go to the NC DHHS website and hit the provider search tab for a list of Family Childcare Homes, Centers, and Preschools. Finally, when calling a childcare facility, if they don’t have an opening ask them if they can refer you to another facility. All of these are free!
- Get on the Wait List– After you have received some referrals, even if these places do not have a current opening, ask to be on the wait list. After all, you cannot be on too many waitlists. In the event you have to use some sort of temporary care- such as a relative, it will be a welcome relief when several places call to let you know you are up on the list. Then, you can have a choice as opposed to choosing a place out of desperation.
- Get Ready to Negotiate– If you call a childcare facility and they do not have an opening- do not hang up! Do you have flexibility with days and times? Then ask the facility if they can accommodate you on a flex schedule until an opening comes up. Examples of this are reduced hours or reduced days.
- Get to Advocating– Write your local legislature and tell them the about the difficulty you hare having finding a quality licensed childcare facility. A 43% decline in availability of licensed childcare facilities is unignorably acceptable. Children who do not have access to quality early learning environments are least likely to be ready for the rigors of kindergarten. Early Education environments prepare our children for lifelong learning and success. Unfortunately, an unaddressed decline in licensed facilities will impact our communities in many ways for many years.
If you need assistance paying the tuition for a high-quality childcare facility there are options available to you. In Forsyth County, for example, Smart Start of Forsyth County offers scholarships and referrals for childcare options. You can reach them at 336-725-6011. The Department of Social Services Daycare Division also offers childcare voucher assistance and you can reach them at 336-703-3800.
Stay positive regarding your childcare search. If you reach out to the agencies listed in this blog, you are likely to find the facility you need. Remember that a quality environment is very important. At the very least, make sure the person you leave your child with has a criminal background check. In addition, they must have certifications in first aid and CPR. Finally, they need to have a genuine love for children. If you utilize a facility, make sure it is licensed.
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