Monroe County invests $300,000 for in-home childcare

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MONROE COUNTY, N.Y. — In the past three years, more than 70 childcare providers had to close permanently in Monroe County. Childcare advocates say the effects of the pandemic are lingering, resulting in staffing shortages and competitive waitlists for parents to get their kids in.

That’s why the county announced a $300,000 investment to help in-home day cares. The dollars will support Rochester Childfirst Network, a nonprofit agency that helps provide early childcare and education services.

According to the county, 66% percent of census tracts in Monroe County qualify as childcare deserts. A desert is defined as an area where there are more than three children waiting, per every available childcare slot.

“Even right now with RCN, we have over 200 families on our waiting list; it’s crucial to try and open new childcare providers, so they can help these families who continue to be on a waiting list for six months, a year, because they do need to go to work. They need childcare in order to do so,” said Ivelisse Marrero, director of family childcare at RCN.

Some families can’t even access childcare, due to cost and transportation challenges. Some caregivers have no choice but to turn down jobs so they can stay at home.

Cassandra Manley, owner of Kiddygarten Childcare, said she hopes this investment will alleviate those challenges, creating more options while helping parents find and maintain good jobs.

“The more daycares that are out there, the more we can provide a service for the community, truthfully, and again that’s why I help other people get into it. My own sister-in-law opened her own daycare, because I shared that it was beneficial,” said Manley.

With this grant, RCN hopes to help 10 new childcare sites launch in 2024.