March 19, 2017 11:09 PM
Some type of child care arrangements are used by 600,000 families in Minnesota.
In some part of the state, there are three times as many children as daycares, including outside the seven-county metro area. The Minnesota Department of Human Services reports from 2005-2015, the number of licensed in-home providers dropped 27 percent.
Jim Koppel works for DHS and said more daycare providers have been leaving the business than joining it because of "retirements, long hours, low pay and regulation."
Balaton is a small town three hours southwest of the Twin Cities. It's a farming community hit hard by the lack of options according to Erin Hall. The mother of three works full-time and said, "There's not enough to go around. None of my kids have gone to the same daycare."
A decade ago there were 12 daycares. Today there are four. One is scheduled to close in April, leaving just three, and they're all booked.
Jessica Hively is another parent who works full-time, and said she's on three waiting lists. She just found out her daycare provider is moving out of state, forcing her to find another in-home option with an opening.
She just got in at a place 15 minutes away at a higher price.
DHS regulates the industry, and Koppel said, "We need quality child care not just safe care for the healthy development of our children and their learning environment."
That's where Mike Nelson of Balaton comes into play. He's a parent, grandparent and pastor of Victory Calvary Church. It landed a $26,000 grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development to build a daycare service.
"People keep asking how long will this take us to get up and running because the demand is right now," he said.
Balaton along with organizations in Duluth, Fergus Falls, Crookston, Baudette, Hutchinson, Mora, New Ulm and Lake Crystal were granted a combined $500,000 to begin, expand or improve in-home daycares.
Nelson said there's an economic impact as well because in order to keep or attract businesses to town, daycares are needed for employees with children.
Updated: March 19, 2017 11:09 PM
Created: March 19, 2017 09:43 PM
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