Childcaring helps connect parents with childcare

Published: Mar. 16, 2020 at 7:03 PM CDT
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As schools close, children are left without places to go, and many parents still have to work, but shortages in childcare providers was a problem long before the coronavirus pandemic caused an emergency need.

"We are very concerned about children, protecting children and families," Kelly Borchardt, Childcaring Executive Director said.

An existing shortage of childcare providers, on top of the high cost of childcare can lead parents to make quick decisions that could ultimately harm their children. Now, with schools and after school activities shut down, kids have fewer options for supervised enrichment and parents are having to figure out how to keep working, how to ensure their children are doing the school work they are assigned, and how to help teach their children some of these lessons that they will not be getting in person.

"Families are being pretty creative," Borchardt said. "We're seeing a lot of things out on social media with teachers and high school students and the people who aren't necessarily working right now offering and volunteering to do some childcare for families."

The Department of Children and Families has been in contact with childcare resource and referral organizations around the state, like Childcaring to keep them up to date on the latest recommendations and regulations with this pandemic. Some statewide declarations have allowed limits on the number of children per childcare worker to be lifted, and childcare is now one of the exceptions to the state-mandated restriction of no more than 50 people gatherings to limit the spread of COVID-19. Childcare facilities also have the ability, right now, to decide whether to stay open.

"Just because someone is lifting requirements, doesn't necessarily mean that's the best for children and families," she warned.

She said childcare providers need to keep in mind what their staffing levels are, what their staffing capabilities are, what parents want, and what their insurance will cover when determining whether to close, add children, etc. She explained that going outside of typical state limits and rules provide extra risks safety-wise and for the type of care children could receive.

No matter if parents are looking for childcare during this pandemic or for a typical day, she said there are things to consider.

"Talking with the childcare provider about what their education and experience has been in working with children, asking for references to other families that have used them, going on to the circuit court website, checking out their background," she suggested. "Looking at their environment, what exactly are the providers going to be doing with your children?"

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and they can get you connected to resources and options for your childcare needs.