Free service connects parents with daycare providers in Erie County

Posted at 3:00 PM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 06:52:36-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — So often around Erie County, parents are struggling to find daycare. One mom, who just moved to Buffalo from Maryland, found the perfect resource to help find that perfect fit.

Ghazala Saleem was in a rush to find childcare, for her 18-month old daughter, Huda. Saleem starts a new job at UB and has no choice but to put her daughter in daycare.

She had to find care fast. She tried several different providers, but experienced what many other parents have. There were no open spots.

"I knew it was going to be very difficult," Saleem said. "I was actually panicking."

Saleem called Child Care Resource Network in Buffalo for help. She spoke with Christen Balistreri, who has been connecting parents with providers in Erie County, for free for about a decade. The connection is made based on the parent's needs.

"Anybody I give them is licensed or registered," Balistreri said.

Kimberly Suminski the CEO at Child Care Resource Network.

"What we will do is provide you with a detailed list of everything involving that childcare program," Suminski said.

With this list, she says parents should make initial connections and make sure the fit is right for their family.

"Things that you want to look for are: are the teachers interacting with the children and in what way? Are they on the floor with them? Are they reading to them," Suminski said. "Think of your own child. You want someone who will care and love them all day long."

About 1,000 people use this free service each year, especially when time is of the essence.

"I try to go through it as quickly with them as they need," Balistreri said. "I was on the phone with one mom for 45 minutes!"

But when a parent is new to the area and struggling to find support, Saleem says Child Care Resorce Network was there.

"I felt as if someone is with me -- even though I don't have family here someone is with me, making sure my daughter would have good care," Saleem said.

After visiting one of the daycare centers, listed by Child Care Resource Network, Saleem found a provider with an open spot, snagged it and her daughter started daycare on Monday.

For information about the free service Child Care Resource Network offers, connecting parents with providers, click here.