SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Parents who are returning to work or starting new jobs are finding a long waitlist for childcare services.
Staff at Macedonia Baptist Church says the preschool is full through next fall and there are dozens on the waitlist.
“All the directors are saying the same thing, what they are seeing about staffing and the need for child care,” said Julie West the director of Macedonia Pre-School.
Waitlists is what new and working parents are facing this year as they head back to work. West says the Macedonia Pre-School has 145 children enrolled this summer.
“They are going to be on the waiting list for a while,” said West. “We have a huge waiting list still. I’m full now for the fall, and I won’t enroll anybody now, at the earliest, May or August of 2022.”
West says pregnant women will likely struggle for months to find a place for their babies.
“I suggest getting on multiple waiting lists instantly,” said West. “Then going, doing your research, checking out the places, visiting, asking lots of questions. And those that don’t meet your values, call them and get off their list, but you may need to get on several, have some backup plans.”
Like most industries, Macedonia Pre-School is hiring, but staying competitive in this market is a challenge.
“When there are so many jobs available,” said West. “When there are bonuses offered by larger corporations when there are more benefits sometimes. Actually, the pandemic hasn’t been as hard on us with staffing as the new minimum wage guidelines have been. That’s been a huge hurdle for us to overcome.”
This is why the cost of childcare services is rising.
“So between minimum wage going up, and being a demand for jobs, and grocery costs, there’s going to be an increased cost for parents, which we do not like to do,” said West.
Fortunately for some parents struggling to find affordable options new Federal Child Tax Credits will begin being sent out on July 15. Most parents will receive roughly $250 each month for children under the age of 17.