Imagine you are a parent of an infant and receive the news that, in two weeks, the early care and learning program your baby attends will be closing. Fortunately, you know to call the local resource and referral agency. They say they have already received a few calls this morning from other parents at the same program. However, there are no full time infant slots. None. What do you do?
This is the situation that many parents found themselves in last week. 52 slots were going up in smoke.
Fortunately, the program in question is being purchased by another provider and will continue to provide care. But in a system already stressed with a shortage of slots, the potential for such a large loss has made an impression on our council.
During our next Child Care Counts meeting, we will be focusing on capacity in the region. While the coalition focus is always on capacity, we believe this has been a wake-up call to develop interim solutions to help children, families, and programs now while comprehensive, state wide policy is developed to care for our youngest citizens.