The chances of finding child care in Mesa County used to be slim to none. Now things have drastically changed.
Childcare providers in Mesa County used to have waiting lists for children, now they are the ones waiting. One week from now Megan's Daycare will be a bit quieter. "I can't find any kids, I had an ad out for four months," says owner, Megan Wilson. Wilson started to notice parents pulling kids out of her daycare last year. "I lost almost every single one of my kids I was down to one part time kid," she says. But it wasn't for her lack of trying. Wilson says, "I have extended my hours, I'm open six days a week, so 17 hours a day."
Wilson says she used to take care of eight children, but when the energy industry slowed down families started moving out of town. Wilson says, "I've tried to be as flexible as possible to the parents that I did take care of their kids, but it's just not working out." And Wilson isn't alone.
Charity Brockman, Director for the Mesa County Childcare Resources and Referral, says, "They simply aren't looking for childcare anymore." In July, 108 people called the center, looking for childcare centers who were accepting kids. Last month they got only 48 calls. Brockman says, "Last November we took 96 calls so that's exactly double the amount of requests that we've had this November." Brockman says high numbers of unemployment have more parents staying home or leaving their kids with friends or neighbors. But she also says to be cautious. "This may not be the best situation all the time for the kids and in some instances it can be dangerous," says, Brockman. But there is help. Eligible parents can apply for the Child Care Assistance Program.
Brockman says, "It will reduce the burden on parents and allow them to remain in licensed care."
Unfortunately, Megan’s Daycare will close it's doors for good next Friday and more centers could follow. Wilson says, "I know of a lot of child care providers that are way down in numbers. We went form having waiting lists to where we have no kids at all." Wilson says she does have another job lined up but if possible she would like to re–open someday and hopefully to the sound of laughter.