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Lincoln child care centers face wait lists, some staffing issues

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 7:31 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln child care centers are starting to see families come back as more people return to in-person work, and new families are searching for spots for their kids. The issues they’re facing is that many have waiting lists, and some are having a hard time hiring help.

When the pandemic first hit, many childcare facilities reduced capacity or scaled back, as many parents stayed at home, but now as more Nebraskans become vaccinated and go back to work, the demand is going back up. That means waiting lists for many parents, and staffing challenges for child care providers.

“We did have a couple people that quit throughout the pandemic, and we have not had to replace them until now,” Jocelyn Bade, owner of Krayon Campus said.

That’s because multiple times every week, parents are calling places like Krayon Campus to enroll their kids. They say in the next few months, spots will be all filled up, and they’re worried they might not have enough staff.

“Right now, a lot of our staff is working overtime just so that we make sure we can keep the state ratios,” Bade told 10/11.

They’ve been looking for more staff members for months, and haven’t gotten many applicants. They say part of the reason is because of certain requirements, the pay and the challenges of the job.

“Early childhood now is more of teaching, learning, assessment, curriculum and social emotional learning,” Bade said.

Over at Primrose School of Lincoln, staffing isn’t an issue, but those waiting lists keep getting longer.

“Our infant and our toddler and early preschool programs are currently on a wait list up until next year,” said Dr. Betsy Tonniges, owner of Primrose School of Lincoln at Wilderness Hills.

Child care centers are working on ways to open up capacity, but as of right now, they say parents should get their names on lists early.

“There may be an opportunity if someone moves or if someone has a different situation that an opening may pop up. So, to get yourself on a wait list may be your best bet,” Dr. Tonniges said.

Even though child care centers like Krayon Campus might not see those waiting lists right now, they say taking on extra kids in the coming months will definitely be an issue.

“Our other rooms are pretty much full unless we do get the additional staff, then we could feel comfortable enrolling more,” said Bade.

For parents still looking for child care centers, owners of some in Lincoln say you should try and schedule a tour, whether it’s in person or online.

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