Parents Struggle to Find Infant Day Care
TEA, S.D.-The child care shortage is a nationwide problem, but it’s also happening in Sioux Falls and surrounding communities. Some parents are finding out that they have to sign their child up for day care before they’re even born.
When Rochelle Goetsch started looking for day care for her infant Rosalyn, she never realized how difficult it would be. She looked in Sioux Falls and Tea. At some places there was over a year wait.
“She would have been my first one in day care. I have older kids, but we were lucky I guess and never had to do day care. I had no idea you could wait so long,” said Goetsch.
She first started looking a couple months before Rosalyn was born. However, she is still struggling to find a spot for her now three-month old daughter
“I planned at being back to work in August and they even waited until September, trying to wait for me. Then after that they were like ‘we’re sorry, we have to give away your position,’” said Goetsch.
At Super Titans Childcare Center in Tea, all ten of their infant spots are full.
“It’s harder to enroll an infant in versus other ages because it’s one to five for staffing,” said Director Kelly Irvin.
Having the space for more infants can also be an issue.
“Obviously when you come with infants, you come with items and big stuff. It’s not small stuff. You have to have the cribs and bouncers and swings and their toys and things like that,” said Irvin.
My Tea Tykes is also full. They say they always have a wait list because of the 1 to 5 staff ratio.
“We have one room for infants and we have three staff so we can take 15 up until that first birthday,” said Assistant Director Mary Konvalin.
Currently, they have two openings at the end of March. Then they can’t get anymore infants on the waitlist until May.
“Because the economy is so healthy right now, a lot of people are working and so the demand for childcare is extra high at this time,” said Konvalin.
Both day care’s have this advice for parents: “We have a lot of families and they need care within a few weeks. We just recommend once you’re pregnant, however, if you want to wait until that twelve week, to start looking and try to get on a list,” said Irvin.
Deb Andrews from Brandon is a state licensed, in-home day care provider. She says infant home day care is also limited. She can only take two infants at a time.
While some day cares are full, others say they still have infant openings. Tea Tots Childcare Center in Tea says they have a couple infant openings right now. While they’ve had full rooms in the past, they say that’s not an issue at this time.