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Child care facilities not seeing significant enrollment drops as parents return to work

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Posted at 4:46 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 11:54:43-04

BOZEMAN — School is out for the summer, which means a break for students and teachers - but what about year-round child care facilities?

“I feel like every day, I should be making some tough decisions on whether we can continue to operate in this environment or we might have to shut our doors,” said Heather Karo, owner of ABC Kidz Child Care.

This child care owner isn’t seeing a problem with enrollment, she’s experiencing a problem so many other Gallatin County business owners are facing.

“We need more staff obviously to take care of those kids, and the staffing shortage or finding qualified people that are willing to come and work has been a major, a real struggle,” said Tori Sproles of Child Care Connections.

And she’s not the only child care facility experiencing this.

“We have had some programs close and some programs have to close certain classrooms and stuff like that just due to low staff,” said Sproles.

As far as enrollment goes, it’s been pretty normal.

Child care facilities not seeing significant enrollment drops as parents return to work

“Enrollment for child care is always an evolving thing. I haven’t seen too much of a difference or a shift per se, one way or the other,” said Sproles.

The switch they have seen has been easy.

“It’s kind of been a relatively smooth transition back in," said Sproles. "It hasn’t been a huge surge. You know May 1st all of a sudden everybody's back in childcare. It was more of a smooth transition as people started going back to work.”

But for one daycare owner - She finds herself in a similar place of survival, not from enrollment challenges but just day-to-day decisions.

“We have to make some tough decisions," said Karo. "I’m in that place we were in a year ago, where I was like if we can just survive these couple months, few months, we’ll be fine. I’m still optimistic.”

If you or someone you know is qualified and interested in the childcare profession, now may be the perfect time to start.