HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) – It was a growing issue before the flood, and now Eastern Kentuckians are running out of options.
“Working parents need something in their neighborhood, in their community, and maybe somebody they already know that can care for their children,” Becky Stacy, the Executive Director of Appalachian Early Childhood Network, said.
Some child care centers were washed away in the flood, and the financial stress from their own damage keeps parents from staying home with their kids.
“We have families who have decided because of changes in their family situation, that they have to go to work and they can’t find child care,” Becky Stacy said.
Oak Tree Academy, a child care center in Whitesburg that held more than twenty children per day, was destroyed in the flood.
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Now, owners are building back in a new location.
“They ask me continuously when I’m gonna open, and a lot of the children right now are just placed out, and hopefully soon I can hurdle them back in,” Oak Tree Academy owner Terri Ratliff said.
What Ratliff brings is education and a second home for children.
“It’s more personal I feel, because when we have a child, we base that child’s learning experiences on what that child is interested in and what that child needs,” she said.
That home atmosphere is something Becky Stacy is looking for in the region.
“That family kind of thing is what we’re looking for. So, that parents, as they go to work, drop off their children in the neighborhood, know the person that’s taking care of them,” Stacy said.
Terri Ratliff said she is hoping Oak Tree Academy will reopen at the start of next year. They will be located behind the courthouse in Whitesburg.
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