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Parents scramble for childcare as school districts in the Ozarks announce closings

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:46 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Working parents are scrambling to find child care in Springfield and other communities as school districts close for illnesses.

Alex Jenkins is a single mom of five kids younger than nine. She says when she found out there would be no classes for the rest of the week. She was in a panic. She owns her own business, Chaos Professional Organizing, where she organizes people’s homes. She’s booked out for the next three weeks, which would usually be great news. But with Springfield Public Schools calling off classes last minute, she’s the one who needs help.

There is a shortage of childcare in Springfield. Waitlists for it on a regular basis are hundreds long.

“It is a resource just as power, water, food, housing,” Jenkins says. “How am I supposed to work if I don’t have child care?”

A question many parents ask and a question leading to more difficult questions.

“The economy as is it right now forces singles parents into a position of [asking] what bill am I not paying this month?” she explains.

As schools make their announcements childcare facilities are trying to figure out how to take in more kids.

“As soon as SPS announced that they were closing we immediately started getting calls,” Kathery Custer, CEO of the YMCA explains. “We were already working on the back end to try and figure out staffing and schedules and capacity and how many kids.”

CURRENT OPENINGS

Pat Jones YMCA and Ward Downtown YMCA

K - 5th (Ages 5-12)

January 19, January 20, January 21

6:30 am-6:30 pm

$25 for members. $35 for non-members

SPARC (Westport Elementary drop-off)

5-14 yrs.

7:30 am-5:30 pm

$20

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