ANGOLA — Quality childcare providers in northeastern Indiana are few and far between.
There are many different types of childcare services available in the United States. From after school providers, daycare centers, and preschool centers to nannies and au pairs childcare can be customizable to every family size and type.
Discovering the best childcare center for your kids is only a part of the battle. Once they find the perfect program, families will then have to first determine what they can afford and then what they can get into.
Almost every childcare provider in northeast Indiana has waiting lists. Some of the list are as far out as 2024 already.
“Steuben County is a childcare dessert,” said Jami Hubbard, director of the Early Learning Center Montessori School located in Carlin Park Elementary School.
Montessori schools are based around child-led learning. It is a teaching method based on hands-on learning and self-directed activities with collaborative play.
“It’s about meeting the child where they are at,” said Hubbard.
Hubbard noted the Early Learning Center Montessori School at Carlin Park Elementary School will be accepting new children for their 2022-2023 school year.
One major common issue in Northeast Indiana is finding qualified workers.
“For every three children in Steuben County there is only one qualified seat,” said Hubbard.
Deciding when to find childcare may be a plan parents begin making before the child is born.
“We have 56 children currently on a wait list,” said Tina Lee, the director of the Kendallville Day Care Center.
Lee notes the COVID baby boom may be contributing to the lack of care centers.
“It’s not so much the cost but the spaces,” said Lee. “A lot of people are not finding timely spaces. People are not understanding it’s a process.
More centers is the general conscious of solving the childcare crisis.
Little Lambs Daycare in Fremont noted they are completely filled into 2023, but they are always accepting applications.
“Starting a daycare is hard,” said Amber Hukill the director of Little Lambs Daycare in Fremont for the last seven years.
“There is a lot that goes into it any many factors potential provides don’t expect,” said Hukill.
Starting in-home childcare could be a resolution for easing the stress.
When the supply and demand of childcare is evened out the prices will likely also go down, providers say.
Currently, government funded support is also available through the Child Care and Development fund.
The Child Care and Development Fund helps low-income families afford high-quality child care with a sliding fee scale based on the family’s income.