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Western New York child care post-pandemic: what parents need to know

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 06:57:38-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — “I’ve had to find child care before school so that I can get to work on time, and it’s been a little bit challenging,” said Buffalo mother, Natalie Houck.

Houck is one of countless parents searching for day care options across western New York as businesses begin to reopen and employees head back to work.

Houck is a full time teacher. Her four year old daughter is heading into Pre-K at Buffalo’s Bennett Park Montessori Center in the fall. “It starts at 9,” Houck explained. “For parents {like Houck} who have to be to work at 8 you need that coverage, and she’ll also need to attend an after school program.”

According to Western New York Women's Foundation Executive Director Sheri Scavone, the western New York daycare dessert is looking even worse post pandemic. “During the pandemic, many child care centers closed. We’re hoping most reopen but the reality is there is even less availability now.”

Scavone said the state is researching how many eligible day care spots were lost due to either a day care closing a room because of a lack of workers, or closing their entire center. But, so far, the data isn’t yet available.

She also anticipates costs will rise for unsubsidized daycares. That is yet another post pandemic product of the state’s new guidance which calls for six-feet social distancing and even fewer children allowed in one room. Previous data shows the average family spends $15,000 a year on infant/toddler child care across the state.

For information and help finding child care in your area, click here.