(ST. JOSEPH, Mo,) Since the pandemic began, childcare services are bursting at the seams, and the costs continue to rise.
Parents are being forced to wait for months to find a center for their children to stay and most aren’t affordable. A childcare center in St. Joseph relays messages to parents on ways to afford daycare and to patiently wait.
“What I can tell you is they need is beyond great,” said Murray. “I average between five to six phone calls every two or three days looking for childcare.”
Murray has worked in early childhood education since 1998 and has never seen the waitlist fill up so quickly. “And I don’t know the reason these families are looking for care,” she added.
The Discovery Center is fully staffed with ten teachers and two floaters that care for 40 children under the age of five that have yet to overcome major covid protocol issues or staffing.
“We’ve been lucky for sure,” said Murray. “They’ve all just done really really well. And like I’ve said, stepped up when they needed to. Worked extra hours if somebody’s out sick and it’s just been an amazing thing to witness because it could go totally wrong.”
Murray also prides the center in being an affordable option for families in St. Joseph.
“We really appreciate the state stepping up and saying you know what, here’s this money,” said Murray. “We’re going to put it towards childcare. We’re going to help you guys stay open. We’re going to help the families be able to pay their bills.”
Murray explained the state of Missouri offers a subsidy program for parents and families based on income.
“Without that program, I’m not sure how successful we would be to be completely honest,” Murray added. “89% of my students in the center are state subsidy children.”
The Discovery Center offers a full rate of $160-$200 per child which includes two meals per day, a snack and curriculum. Murray says their rate is the average to below average rate across the city.
“During this covid time they’ve (Missouri) paid a max amount to all providers. And I don’t think that’s something a lot of providers may know about it. Right now if you have children on state subsidy, you’re getting max amount no matter how many times your child has been in quarantine,” Murray explained.
Additionally, the YWCA utilizes CRSSA Grant money to enhance the needs provided to the children.
More information about the YWCA Discovery Childcare Center can be found here.