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Child care crisis affects all

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Public schools across the state are walking a very thin line to stay in operation despite the concerns of COVID-19. However, pre-school, daycares and early childcare facilities are too. Stephanie Forbes, President Board Member of First Kids Preschool daycare shared they are just as strained as the public schools. 

According to Forbes, COVID-19 has impacted the day care industry is almost incalculable. Illness, staffing, long periods of quarantine and the lack of available testing are just to name a few. Families keeping their children home for longer periods of time due to quarantine guidelines and the safety of childcare workers have been a constant battle. 

With schools across southwest Missouri shutting down due to low attendance, transportation and illness, parents are scrambling to find child care options. This further adds to the ever-growing wait-list for child-care facilities.

We have a large waiting list, but are unable to add children without adequate staffing. With the increase in wages across the nation it is also hard to keep up,” explained Forbes. “ We have increased wages, but it is still not as high as some other businesses can offer, whilst remaining competitive within the daycare industry realm. We don’t want rates to be increased too much and cause a financial burden to the families either. 

Keeping up with the ever changing demands of the community will continue to prove a challenge for day care facilities across the nation, however, Forbes knows that it takes everybody to succeed and is grateful for her team.

“I would like to thank the staff for their hard work and the extra time they have put in,” said Forbes. “And Cathy Zimmerman, our interim director, for helping navigate this season as well as the rest of the board for their help and our substitutes.”

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