As Buffalo schools go remote, the need for affordable childcare increases

Posted at 6:21 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 18:28:35-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The upcoming school year won't be easy for Krystle Callari and her almost 4-year-old daughter Alba. Callari is a single mom who works full time. Alba is starting Pre-K in the Buffalo schools fully remote, so Callari must find affordable child care for her daughter.

“I don't know what's going to happen. The Buffalo Public School District doesn't seem to have a concrete plan. They don't seem to be concerned about the needs of working parents,” said Callari.

Alba currently goes to daycare two days a week, but she will need to go all five come September if she can even afford it.

“I asked day care if they could take her full time but they don't know yet because they have such an influx of people wanting full time because so many of the districts are going virtual right now,” Callari said.

Day care costs on average $14,000 per year in New York State. And on top of that, Sheri Scavone, the executive director of the Western New York Women's Foundation, said about 30-50% of daycares will permanently close their doors because of the pandemic. Scavone said Western New York is already a child care desert, meaning there’s not many facilities in this part of the state.

“I think we're beginning to see some of that now,” said Scavone, “In Erie County we had about 38% of the child care centers close.”

If Callari can even find affordable care, there's another issue.

“If she's in day care all day, they can't do schooling with her there. They can't have a tablet in there,” Callari said.

But there are resources for parents like Callari who are searching for a solution.

“There are child care subsidies available for individuals who are working,” Scavone said.

You can call 211 to get more information on child care subsidies.