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DIGGING DEEPER: Struggles of finding child care in Tri-States

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QUINCY (WGEM) — We are digging deeper into the challenges Tri-State parents face when trying to find child care. Also, what can parents do when they run into obstacles during their child care search?

The struggles of new motherhood, plus now having to worry about child care; Quincy mom Allie McCleery had no idea how difficult it would be.

"I was surprised, especially with the lack of infant spots," said McCleery.

McCleery has her mother-in-law watch six-month-old Molly three days a week while Allie works from home. Molly is with a nanny the remainder of the time.

"We're currently still on the waitlist for all the centers in town so once those become available we will reassess," said McCleery. "But, until that happens, we are kind of stuck with what we're doing."

Parents often run into a waitlist when trying to find childcare. Then they're left with very limited options.

"It's a dance until the child gets into Kindergarten," said Elisabeth O'Donnell with West Central Child Care Connection.

According to a new study by Ready Nation, nearly one-third of parents report having difficulty finding child care.

Quincy mom Catherine Meckes says she started calling around to child care centers when she was six weeks pregnant with her daughter Margaret.

"You hear that it's difficult, but until it actually starts happening to you, is when the panic starts to set in," said Meckes.

Meckes was able to get her child into a center but she says the cost isn't what they expected.

"We don't eat out as much or we might forgo getting a new car for a little bit, but that's part of the equation for quality care," said Meckes.

Budgeting is key, especially considering the average cost for daycare per year in Quincy is around $7,000 and that's just for one child, according to West Central Child Care Connection.

"When you're a new mom, you're a working mom and you're trying to navigate all those changes in your life," said Meckes. "At the same time you're also feeling like a shift manager trying to make a shift of who is trying to take care of your child from day to day when you don't have care. That's a lot of stress for a person and for a family."

Some relief in child care options may be in the sight. 10th Street Children's Academy just opened in Quincy back in May.

"We decided to open this business because there was a need for childcare in Quincy," said Alison Berhorst with 10th Street Children's Academy.

Berhorst says they did have a waiting list before they opened but they are continuing to grow their facility and they have spots available.

"Start early," said Berhorst. "Look for a place maybe even before you need it because it might take you a while to find that perfect spot that fits the needs of your family. Do your research. Find a place where their values correlate with yours. Make sure when you walk in the door that you feel comfortable. You know that your child is going to have strong relationships with the people there."

Another option for parents could be Little Angel's Child Care and Preschool of Quincy. It is set to open in the old Washington Elementary School building.

Kaylee Pfeiferling

Multimedia Journalist

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