Survey shows lack of childcare options in Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Many parents rely on childcare centers year-round. The pandemic created even more difficulties in the industry, and according to a new survey, there are still not enough facilities or staff members in the state.
The childcare field has seen lots of hardships in recent years, but it’s a service that’s expected to be readily available. A combination that seems to be putting a strain on everyone involved.
It’s an industry that essentially never slows down, but a recent survey shows it’s also one that’s continuing to struggle.
“In our state, 72% of children under age six live in homes where all adults work,” said Kara Ficke, We Care For Kids. “Yet 91% of counties in Nebraska do not have enough licensed childcare programs to meet demand.”
We Care For Kids is a group that works with community partners to provide early childhood education. According to their new survey, more than 80% of respondents said there’s a lack of quality, affordable childcare in Nebraska.
“The pandemic has really amplified the issues with early childhood providers leaving the workforce and working families struggling to find childcare so that they can work and provide for their families,” Ficke said.
The dwindling childcare workforce is something the Lincoln Little Organizations did research on. Last year, they conducted their own survey on why people were leaving the industry.
“Many were leaving due to lack of livable wages and lack of benefits, and then also burnout,” said Anne Brandt, Lincoln Littles. “Just because so many people were leaving that teachers weren’t getting breaks they were having to cover for each other.”
It’s not just a concern for parents.
“We always call it an everyone issue, because it’s going to it’s going to have a ripple effect out to our economy based on whether or not we have a workforce, you know,” Brandt said. “Do we have a workforce right now that can go to work while their children are safe and having quality environments?”
The groups both said they aim to better educate the public on childcare and hope that raised awareness will bring change in the form of things like more state funding put towards early education.
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