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May 18, 2009

Day Care Closings

BLOG-Closed Every day, we hear about another area of life that the recession has impacted. One of the issues that has hit home for many families is the number of local day care centers that have shut their doors over the past year. Across the country, centers are shutting down, due to loss of funding, lack of clients, or both.

But when one center closes, the ripple effect spreads as parents scramble to find other child care options. Maybe you know a family who had to change day cares because one closed, or maybe it’s happened to you already. If so, you know families rely on these centers for daily child care so parents can continue to work. And, for many, they’re one of the few options for government-subsidized care.

The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), which has more than 800 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies and uses them to help monitor and improve child care resources, reported declines in the number of child care centers in 27 percent of their communities and almost half saw a decrease of the amounts of family-run centers.

"The results of this survey clearly show that the country’s recession has significantly impacted the number of children in child care," said Linda Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA. "As parents lose their jobs, cut back hours, or have to take lower paying jobs, they are no longer able to pay the high price of child care. So parents are forced to pull their children from child care, and as a result programs are closing, providers are being laid off, and families and communities are suffering."

As day care centers lose customers, they’re forced to close. But that leaves the families who still use their services out in the cold. If you or someone you know is facing the loss of their child care center, keep these ideas handy to find new care options fast.

Keep Back-up Options Available.
I always suggest keeping a list of back-up caregivers on hand with sitters who might be free at a moment’s notice. This list can include paid babysitters, but also consider asking relatives, friends, and neighbors for help if you’re in a pinch. 

We just launched a brand new feature, Care-on-Call, that helps you find last-minute child care (as well as special needs care and caregivers for your pets and elderly loved ones). When you need to find a back-up babysitter in a hurry, Care-on-Call texts and emails caregivers who are on your “My Favorites” list or live nearby and have the flexibility to take on jobs at short notice. I know I’ve been caught scrambling through a list of friends, relatives, and neighbors many times to find a sitter for my boys. If I had access to Care-on-Call back then, life would have been much easier! 

Review All Your Options
Many school districts offer pre-kindergarten programs for young children that are either free or come at a discounted rate. Your local Early Education program can also give you a list of child care options, and most states or counties offer programs or subsidies that can help with child care expenses. The best place to start looking for how these programs work and who you should talk to is to search your home state’s website for “child care” or “day care.”

Find a New Day Care
If your center closes, try visiting a nearby Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. You can find the closest agency by visiting NACCRRA.org and entering your ZIP code. They’ll help connect you to nearby accredited child care centers, offer advice about scholarships and government aide if you qualify, and are a great safety resource, too. You can also review the Day Care Directory for a list of accredited centers nationwide.

I hope your family doesn’t have go through a day care center closure. It makes me sad when that happens—our little ones make friends at these centers and learn so much from their great teachers. But if you do get caught in a pinch, I hope you’ve found these tips helpful.

If you’ve had to change your child care arrangement because your child care center closed, tell us how you handled the situation. Help out the rest of the Care.com community by leaving a comment!

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Comments

FL Melton

Sheila, the problem I am having is finding a reliable person to watch my autisic daughter without costing me an arm and a leg. Low economy also means we don't have a lot to pay out. In my area, most of those wanting to work seem to be young adults, first year college wanting to make money to help with college fees, but will not commit to a regular schedule. Its the something for nothing attitude our young people have which bothers me as a person looking for someone who will make a differents in my childs life. My parents traveled a lot when I was young, but we had a housekeeper who went through the chicken pox, measles, scrap knees and today, her influnce on my life made a big impression. So yes, the economy is bad but so is finding "GOOD" people who really want to help you is really harder. Thank you for helping through "Care" we are now looking at one seriously.

Fabrienne

Well some centers also dont realize the funding thats out there to help them. I have my center enrolled in several funding to help us out and keep us going.. Thank God we are doing okay.. my heart goes out to those children ...

Heather

We appreciate all the information you provide for us and feel comforted knowing if we needed a care provider you would give us trusting information.

Kathryn Montgomery

I think it is so sad to here that all these child care
centers are closing. I toke my son out of day care
because the day care wouldn't disinfect everyday they only did it once a week. And only sprayed the toy's every day. My son was there for 5 months and was always sick. I almost lost my job over it.So now his ex-teacher will be caring for him now.

Thank You Kathy M

Sophie T.

i would not be able to find a child care right away unless I search for nannies.. I am pretty sure i will find one with Care.com!

Shirley Lewis

Hello, Sheila

My name is Shirley Lewis and I live in Cedar Hill Texas, thank you for sending me the email I am in School trying to get my Ba. degree in Managment one of my dreams is to help our children some one have to take care of our familys and thier children I am willing to help parents that have to work at night.

I use to have a Daycare center in Stockton CA. But moved to Cedar Hill Texas. MY dream is to have a non-profit orgnazation to help our working parents that have to work and can not bethier for thier children like in school our when they come home and now one is their for their children we must stop leaving our children by themselves.

Thank you.
Miss Shirley Lewis

Angie

Well, maybe they should consider the prices they are charging.I have had to cut my hours at work because daycare centers are way too expensive. I would be working to pay some teanage girl half of my salary. I am a registered nurse. Having said that, I get paid very well. I have a eight month old and a four year old. For five days of care, they want to charge me $300.00 per week for the baby and $ 190.00 per week for my 4.5 year old. That is close to $ 2000.00 per month. I did the math. If I work less hours and take care of my own kids, I will stll bring home the same without having to sacrafice them. I hope Obama can do something about this madness.

DaNelle Mannor

I had been in search of a great childcare facility for about six months to put my three year old daughter. I did finally find what I thought was a great place. After only a couple of months, I walked in one day to drop my daughter off in the morning and caught the toddler teacher spanking a child in the bathroom. Later that day my daughter expressed to me that she had been spanked during nap time. This upsets me. I had trouble with several daycare's with my first child and was very hesitant this time with my second child. I have been out of work for a little over three years now and need to get back to work with the economy the way it is. How do I find a daycare I can trust enough and is affordable so that I can work without major worry? She was in daycare only long enough for me to have several job interviews, but if I do get hired I am in a bind because she is now home with me and I am afraid to put her anywhere because I really thought that was a great place.

Sheila

DaNelle,

Finding any caregiver you trust can be a difficult task. When you’re trying to find a day care center that meets not only your standards, but also your child care philosophy, it’s good to do as much homework as possible. Visit your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (you can find a nearby one at naccra.org) to see which facilities they recommend. Also, ask friends or relatives who use child care centers – they’ll be able to help.

I also suggest visiting the centers before you place your child with them, but also afterwards, too, for regular check-ups. I’ve also found that interviewing the director or teacher to make sure you feel like they’ll provide a safe environment for your little ones helps give you peace of mind. The safety of our children is priority number one and you should feel comfortable with whomever is watching after them.

I hope you find the right fit.

Sheila

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