Daycare staffing shortage Charlotte leaves parents scrambling

CHARLOTTE — A staffing shortage forced a daycare in east Charlotte to close one of its classrooms, and now parents are having to find last-minute care for their babies.

The lack of childcare options is an issue that Channel 9′s Evan Donovan has spent weeks investigating. On Thursday, two working mothers shared that they’re stuck and searching for options.

The two moms got an email Wednesday night from the Kindercare on W.T. Harris Boulevard. It says their infants’ class would close starting Monday for at least the next month until the daycare can find a new caregiver.

It’s not the first issue they’ve had, either.

“In a couple of weeks, we’ve had days where we need to pick her up early due to staffing challenges,” said Kerry Tousignant. “There was a day they ran out of milk and we had to pick her up early.”

Both of the women are educators with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. They don’t have a way to work from home, so that means the daycare issues have been affecting how well they can serve other children.

“I love teaching, the time I spent with my students is special and meaningful; but it’s hard when I’m constantly getting messages that my son’s room is closed, because I have to miss instructional time and I feel bad,” said Erin Moore.

Both of the moms say they took all of their sick days and time off last year for maternity leave. Now they’re desperate for options, and child care isn’t cheap.

“It’s about as much as our mortgage that we pay for child care.”

The cost and availability are also affecting their decisions for the future.

“If we continue to have issues with daycare, we’re going to have to look seriously at does it make sense for one of us to keep working?” said Tousignant.

“Having number two, we’re having to look very carefully at what our finances are going to look like,” said Moore. “Maybe can one of the grandparents retire early so they can take care full-time?”

Channel 9 reached out to Kindercare, and the daycare said they are “contacting each family to talk with them about their options to transfer to nearby centers during this temporary closure.”

The staffing shortage is part of a larger issue than just one daycare, however. Earlier this month, we revealed federal data showing we’re still 80,000 childcare workers short of pre-pandemic levels.

The organization Childcare Resources, Inc. tracks childcare availability in our area. They found that in the 28215 zip code in east Charlotte where that Kindercare is located, there are 2.4 kids under the age of six for every available spot in childcare.

You can see the cost of childcare in your specific zip code by clicking this link.

(WATCH: Many women returning to work post-pandemic face child care challenges)

Evan Donovan

Evan Donovan, wsoctv.com

Evan is an anchor and reporter for Channel 9.

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