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Report says most Missouri families live in 'child care desert'

Posted: 6:24 PM, Jan 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-08 00:24:33Z
Tomlin Academy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new report shows more than 50 percent of American's live in a child care desert, meaning parents have few or no options for licensed daytime care for kids while they're at work.

Parents with young children in Kansas and Missouri have trouble finding childcare.

"Nowadays, not many people stay home with their kids," said Sha-Leah Wilson, a teacher at Tomlin Academy preschool.

After having her first child, Wilson was in need of the right daycare for her daughter.

"I'm a stickler for education so I wanted good quality child care," said Wilson.

That was years ago. Now, Wilson has been in the child care field for 10 years. She said not all parents are looking for the same things in a daycare that she once was.

"I think probably nowadays, some parents actually waiver that quality because of the cost," said Wilson.

In most states, the cost of child care is more than in-state college tuition. In Missouri , the annual cost is just over $9,000. In Kansas , it's just shy of $11,000.

Location is another problem parents come across. The Center for American Progress released their annual report on licensed child care. The report shows there are few places for working parents to send their children. When parents do find the perfect cost and location, they can't always get their kids in right away.

"Cost for one, and then when I found a good one, I found me a good one. I loved the teachers. I loved the building. It was a great location. Then there was a waiting list," said Wilson.

It's an on-going issue for new parents and one that's happening nationwide.

Wilson said over the years she's seen several local child care centers close due to lack of funding. Currently, Tomlin Academy preschool does not have a waiting list and is looking to open a second location in 2019.