Recent daycare closure highlights growing child care crisis

Elizabeth’s Early Learning Center in Lynchburg (WDBJ7)
Elizabeth’s Early Learning Center in Lynchburg (WDBJ7)(WDBJ)
Published: Nov. 17, 2017 at 6:09 PM EST
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A child care facility has closed its doors after more than eight years of service to the community.

Tiny Angels, which provides care to about 20 families in the area, says they are closing due to state funding cuts.

The closure leaves only one other child care center in the county, underscoring a growing child care crisis in central Virginia.

Child care experts say it's getting harder and harder for parents to find available spaces at licensed child care facilities, especially for their infants. "We have more two-parent working households, as well as single parent households then we've ever had before in our society's history and our community hasn't adapted to that yet," explained Ashley Graham, Dir. of Family and Children services at Human Kind.

Although the cost for childcare is high; "To pay for one year of a child in infant care, actually is more expensive than one year of in-state college tuition."

Finding available space is the struggle, particularly for infants, with experts calling the Region 2000 area a "child care desert." "So we have nine infants per one space available," said Joan Rowe, the Dir. of childcare resources at Human Kind. "Even families who can afford to pay for infant care, can't find a space in this community, there's just not enough space," added Graham.

This is leaving parents with little to no options.

Over at the Elizabeth's Early Learning Center, they have a wait list of 97 children and growing daily. "In fact we have had some that have told us they were trying to get pregnant and can they be on our waiting list," said Jane Gerdy, the executive director at Elizabeth's Early Learning Center.

And with the crisis growing, the attention paid to the youngest among us is shrinking.

After nearly 10 years, Tiny Angels day center announced they'd be closing due to state budget cuts.

Friday was their last day.

"Also losing state funding for children who are adopted. The funding was cut from them," explained Teresa Lee, the Assistant Director at Tiny Angels.

Now leaving only one licensed child care center in Appomattox county.

The assistant director says although some parents have found new child care, others were less fortunate. "We have a lot of parents that don't have anywhere to take their children," said Lee.

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