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Childcare providers turning away families due to lack of staff

Early Learning Coalition will host childcare job fair
Posted at 6:36 PM, Jun 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-05 20:09:10-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Right now, there are over 200 childcare provider positions available throughout the Big Bend, according to the Early Learning Coalition.

"We've had to combine the children from this class into another classroom because we don't have sufficient staff to open up this classroom right now," said Marilyn Morales, director of Freedom Church Preschool.

Freedom Church Preschool is one of many daycare feeling the effects of low employment. Morales said they experienced a drop in numbers following the pandemic. Adding, many people feared being around children afraid to catch or pass the virus.

"It became very difficult to hire sufficient staff," said Morales.

Because of this many things changed such as quality of service, classrooms sizes, and even turning children away due to lack of staff. Morales says right now the daycare currently has 58 kids enrolled. She says that number could be 85 if there was enough help.

"Early learning educators are the building blocks in our community," said Megan Glasgow, Communications Director, ELC Big Bend.

Whether teaching things like ABC's, arts, and crafts, or how to make a new friend.

The Early Learning Coalition Communications Director Megan Glasgow wants to help fill that need. She said the ELC plans to create a space where childcare providers can use them as resources to find employees.

That also includes helping with the cost of daycare.

Glasgow said on average daycare can cost $1,000 a month in the Big Bend. The ELC offers to pay a portion of child care expenses for low income families.

"A person who's living paycheck to paycheck, we're able to help them offset that big bill," said Glasgow.

Because whether it be more staff or more kids Morales is ready for it all.

"I just feel like there's no greater calling," said Morales.

The ELC is hosting a childcare job fair Saturday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the FSU alumni center. There will be over 40 child care providers in attendance.