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Great Falls mom responds to daycare shortage by starting her own

Elizabeth Herman
Posted at 3:45 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 10:35:32-04

GREAT FALLS — It’s been several months since the Great Falls Development Authority released the results of a survey regarding childcare needs in Great Falls. The responses indicated that there was a problem in October, and they say that problem has only gotten bigger.

Elizabeth Herman is like many mothers who have been struggling to find childcare in Great Falls. She has two young kids, Iris and Thomas, and is like many people who have struggled to find care for them.

“We found it very difficult last year to find childcare. It was next to impossible. Some places were 30-plus days out. It was hard,” Herman said.

The kids needed somewhere to be during the day, so she created her own solution - literally: Childcare Solutions, a new daycare that is working to address the need for childcare in the city.

“It’s been nice because we have a lot of people interested in hourly, because a lot of parents are working from home now, post-Covid. We offer anywhere under five hours; we charge by the hour. I find it really nice as a great solution for a parent.”

Elizabeth Herman
Elizabeth Herman

The need is not only felt but shown, thanks to a survey from the Great Falls Development Authority and Camoin Associates.

The survey, taken by 308 people, says the demand is expected to increase due to a higher birthrate in the area, among other factors. The survey estimates a childcare center need for about 580 kids in Great Falls.

“There wasn’t anything that surprised me out of it. And if you talk to most parents, which I’m one of those, no surprises there,” said Jason Nitschke of the GFDA. “There is more need. There has always been more need. A long time ago, we recognized that there is not a single county in the state of Montana that has sufficient out-of-home childcare. We wanted to quantify that number in Cascade County. The biggest obstacle standing in the way of this is the staff to be able to do it.”

The survey says there is support for additional childcare centers based on unmet demand.

Childcare Solutions is located at 5932 2nd Avenue North, and has several openings for caretakers. You can call 406-750-5884 to learn more.

Click here to read the complete report (PDF). It also contains a list of all licensed childcare facilities in Great Falls.

For more information about finding and paying for childcare, click here to visit Family Connections; or click here to visit Raise Montana.