We have a really big challenge in this area, that impacts both families and businesses.
There’s a daycare provider shortage. The demand is far greater than the supply.
I hear about it on a weekly basis from friends all the time.
We recently tried to hire a person for a newly added position at our company, and I told her the biggest challenge she would face related to finding daycare for her seven-month-old baby. After she looked into options, she discovered the earliest she could get her child into a daycare provider was December of 2017 — more than nine months from now. She contacted several other local daycare providers in the area, and all of them presented the same date range of availability.
It seems to be that in this area once you find out you’re going to have a baby, you contact your prospective daycare provider first — even before you announce the exciting news to your family.
The daycare business, or lack thereof, presents big challenges for families and their ability to seek gainful employment.
I recently attended a regional fire department meeting, and a friend of mine from another fire department shared his daycare woes with me. He said he was struggling to find daycare for his two children, ages four and two, and he expressed his frustration. After striking out with two other daycare providers, he found one that may work with their family schedule. But, the cost was $350 per week for both children, which presented other challenges and concerns. That’s $18,200 per year.
We not only need more daycare providers, but they also need to be affordable — which can pose a subjective argument. In some cases, a parent may find that it is more beneficial to stay home instead of working outside of the home. As has been said before by many parents in this predicament, “do I want to pay someone else to raise my children?”
In a November 2016 report titled “Licensed Daycare Trends in Minnesota” presented by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, it was stated “Census data from 2015 shows that approximately 310,000 children in Minnesota ages 0-5 have all available parents or guardians in the workforce and are likely to need some form of child care. In 2015, licensed child care programs had the capacity to care for 224,000 children…” The full report is available at the following link: http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/groups/licensing/documents/defaultcolumns/dhs-292314.pdf
This report concluded, “If current trends continue, there will not be enough new providers entering into licensure to replace the providers choosing to retire or depart from child care over the coming years.” So, this isn’t a short-term trend. This challenge will only get worse.
Whatever the case may be, we have a tremendous ongoing challenge that presents a business opportunity for the right individuals.
If you’re thinking about starting up a business in Fillmore County, and you’re great with children, I am confident you would not be in short supply of customers.