Daycare worker shortage impacts parents looking for childcare
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As parents are going back to work, they are finding it harder to find care for their kids.
Many daycare centers blame the pandemic for the lack of employees.
Troy Smart owns an early learning center in West Baton Rouge Parish and is struggling to find new employees.
“A workforce has been extremely hard, especially since the pandemic, about a year and a half ago,” Smart said.
While the original challenge was the unknown health risks of covid, Smart said now it’s salary.
“I think the stimulus money that has been out there, honestly in a childcare setting, you could almost stay at home and make what they make in a daycare setting,” Smart said.
Terry Iyasere at University Presbyterian Day School said when they can’t find enough employees, they can’t take more kids.
“It affects the care you give kids because you have to have the proper ratio per child for the safety and supervision of the children,” Iyasere said.
Karen Powell said the Louisiana Department of Education is giving stimulus money to help support daycare teachers and early learning centers.
“We’re giving teacher support grants with our stimulus dollars to centers to reward teachers for their work and to help them either use those grants as a bridge to higher wages long term or to provide it as supplements to wages, incentives for retention, bonuses for recruitment however they need to use them to try to meet these workforce challenges,” Powell said.
Powell hopes the stimulus money helps daycares because she says early learning is important to kids’ brain development.
“80 to 90 percent of children’s brain development happens by ages three to four, and so it really sets this trajectory for those children’s success in kindergarten and beyond,” Powell said.
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