TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — It’s a growing issue across the state of Kansas, especially in rural communities. Data from ChildCare Aware of Kansas and the Department for Children and Families shows there are not enough childcare options available for families.
With increased employment in the state, there is more need for suitable childcare. However, according to Kansas childcare resource non-profit, ChildCare Aware of Kansas, many counties in the state have no childcare centers and very few licensed daycare homes. Like in Wichita County, where there is only one licensed daycare facility but shows upwards of 146 children in need of care.
“Kansas is experiencing a crisis of sorts, when it comes to childcare,” says Reva Wywadis, Executive Director of ChildCare Aware of Eastern Kansas.
Wywadis says that the state is lacking quality childcare options that fit a variety of family needs, including non-traditional work hours, disability services, and affordable care options.
“Childcare is a big expense,” says Wywadis. “In fact, a lot of information out there would indicate that the cost of childcare is more than the cost of sending your child to college.”
The Kansas Department for Children and Families offers a Childcare Assistance Program to families that qualify.
“The Childcare Assistance Program, even though most families, especially on low income assistance, have a family share or pay a portion of their childcare, it really can assist them in covering the cost of their childcare,” explains Karen Beckerman, Director of Strengthening Family Services with the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
ChildCare Aware of Kansas can help families find childcare options that fit their specific needs and budget.
“What happens in a child’s earliest years sets them on that path for success throughout their life,” adds Wywadis.
Wywadis says that Kansas needs more people with a passion for childcare to open licensed childcare facilities. She also says that having public investment in Pre-K childcare would help solve the issue.