Some scrambling for childcare ahead of summer

Parents losing options for childcare; advocates seek solutions

Parents losing options for childcare; advocates seek solutions

If you’re a parent, you know how difficult it is to find childcare. We’ve been hearing from concerned parents for months about this.

A parent reached out to News10NBC Thursday morning, after learning his provider Kidtopia would no longer be accepting school-age children. Now, he’s scrambling to find an alternative.

In a letter to parents, the Wayne County location said in part, “There are times, where we need to make tough decisions … after careful consideration, we will not be accepting school-age children for the 2024-2025 school year.”

The letter goes on to say parents can sign up for a wait list in case the program comes back.

The parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he’s left scrambling — and summer is fast-approaching.

Local childcare advocate Pete Nabozny with The Children’s Agenda said this has been a big topic in Albany.

“Childcare is unfortunately a low-paying job. It pays statewide, less than about 97% percent of other jobs. And it works out for the average worker making right around minimum wage. And it’s hard work,” he said.

On Wednesday, Nabozny met with key players to discuss possible solutions in the state budget. The crux of the issue seems to be recruiting and retaining staff.

“The governor has proposed rolling over some money that is left over from some of the COVID relief funds,” he said. “It’s a little unclear how much of a bonus it would provide.”

He added there are more permanent solutions in talks.

“What we’re pushing for is for the state to commit to, like, a permanent workforce compensation fund.”

Assemblywoman Sarah Clark said she hears from parents and providers all the time.

“I hear from providers all the time — they are challenged, they are stretched,” said Clark. “I know our small providers that do it at home, they don’t do a vacation, they haven’t been on vacation in five years, they haven’t taken a sick day.”

The permanent solution may be two-fold, according to Congressman Joe Morelle.

“We have to expand training opportunities, and opportunities for people to create more daycare slots, and more childcare centers,” said Morelle. “The second thing we need to do is equip families with more resources. So greater subsidies, so they can offset the cost of childcare.”

This Kidtopia location said it will still be doing school-age summer camp. But with a high demand, it’s going to hold a lottery, and select kids by April.

A director for the location did not immediately provide a comment or statement over the phone.

More than 1,000 childcare providers in New York State closed their doors during the pandemic, according to Assemblywoman Sarah Clark.