MIDLAND/ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -Wednesday Children at Risk, a branch of the Texas family leadership council, released maps showing areas of Texas lacking childcare services
On top of living in an actual desert, much of the Permian Basin is considered to be a childcare desert as well.
That means the number of children under the age of six with working parents is more than three times greater than the capacity of licensed childcare providers in this area.
Over the course of the pandemic, texas has lost 21 percent of its licensed childcare providers.
The state currently has 635 zip codes that are considered child care deserts 242 of those communities were added as a result of the pandemic.
“That’s going to mean that those families are going to be no longer able to find care for them to go back to work,” Kim Kofron, Director of Early Childhood Education, said. “As we’re coming out of the pandemic, hopefully, and parents are going back to the office or they lost their job and are getting back to jobs and they can’t find childcare that’s going to hinder their ability to take that job or advance their career.”
The new maps released show that parts of Midland and Ector County are severely lacking when it comes to licensed childcare providers.
In Midland County for every 100 working parents, there are 25 spots available for child care.
According to the map, it’s even worse in south Ector County where there are virtually zero available options for working parents.
“We have centers that are open but they’re not at full capacity,” Kofron said. “Not necessarily because the kids and families aren’t ready to come back but because they don’t have the workforce and the educators to really support those classrooms. Childcare is a high staffing industry.”
The need for childcare is more urgent than ever as life returns to normal post pandemic and parents go back to the office…
Children at risk says it’s vital to the future of texas that our childcare infrastructure is rebuilt and expanded soon…
“We know that businesses rely on childcare just as much as families do,” Kofron said. “If we want our economy to grow, we need to make sure that we are investing in the childcare industry as well. Worst case scenario, we lose more and more people from the work force.”
Children at Risk hopes the release of the interactive maps will give parents and guardians a resource to find where child care is available near them.
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