EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) – It seems to be a vicious cycle for parents and guardians. They can’t find child care services, so they can’t go to work. They need to work to pay for child care services and other bills.
Stressful, hard, impossible, and overwhelming, that’s what dozens of people have said in Effingham County. They filled out a survey about what it’s like looking for childcare.
“We have great providers in the Effingham area and surrounding communities. We just don’t have enough of them,” Meghan Rewers, with the Effingham County Crisis Nursery, said.
She said they opened the crisis nursery in 2017 and immediately felt the need.
“Never expected the great number of calls for that, so it really opened our eyes to what the true need is,” she said.
254 people filled out Effingham County Community Based Planning’s childcare survey. 15% of people said they are frustrated at the lack of options. They said quality childcare that is affordable and flexible is nearly impossible to find. Rewers said that can often lead to children being put in unsafe situations.
“We find parents that are so desperate that they then make decisions, or feel forced to make decisions that maybe they don’t feel great about. They haven’t had the time to look into this person that has said they can watch their children, and then that person turns out to be unsafe,” she said.
She said this is not just an Effingham County problem. Across the country, she said people aren’t going into the field because it is underpaid and underappreciated. She said she doesn’t know how communities will thrive without it.
“Our child care system is the foundation, it’s like the building block for our community, because we want people to come and live in our communities, have children, have their families, and live here, and without childcare support there’s no ways that’s going to continue to happen,” she said.
Now that they have these survey results, they can focus on things that need to change. Rewers said you can help, too. She said if you keep the conversation going about child care with local and state leaders more attention can be brought to the need.