OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City is seeing a child care shortage, leaving many parents on long wait lists.
Mary Griffin, child care consultant with Rainbow Fleet, says she’s seen about a 25 percent increase in people searching for providers.
Contributing factors include the pandemic and job market, with parents going back to work.
“A lot of parents have been incredibly stressed just because they’ve had to go back to work, they’re not used to putting their child in childcare or their regular childcare is closed,” Griffin said.
The pandemic has also affected providers.
“When the pandemic hit, and parents were keeping their children at home, that was hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in lost revenue,” Rep. Mickey Dollens (D-OKC) said.
There are also fewer providers to choose from.
“It’s definitely been a little stressful for providers, we do have some older providers that have been really concerned about their health recently. Unfortunately they’ve had to close their doors to children because they’re concerned about their health,” Griffin said.
Dollens says it’s been a struggle finding child care for his own family.
“We’ve been on a waiting list for months and now finally in June we’ll be able to enroll our kids, who are 1 and 3, into child care which is going to make such a difference in being able to do our full time jobs,” he said.
Shelley Zumwalt with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commissioner says if parents are not going back to work because of a lack of child care–
“OESC is pleased to partner with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) and to be able to provide 60 days of free childcare for anyone currently receiving unemployment benefits or searching for employment. If you need help finding child care, I encourage you to visit the OKDHS website at https://okdhslive.org to apply for 60 days of subsidized child care.”
For more information about Rainbow Fleet, click here.