Child care staff shortages are widespread in Hampton roads

Virginia

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — If you’re having trouble finding daycare for your child, you’re not alone.

Minus 9 to 5, a part of Eastern Virginia Medical School, conducted a survey of Hampton Roads daycare centers — and they say the number of staff shortages is astounding.

Of the 68 child care centers that responded, they had 313 job openings.

Great Bridge Child Care has two locations with space for more than 260 children, but without enough teachers, manager Jordan Mellott said they’ve been forced to close classrooms and are currently operating at about half that.

“It’s hard because you get so many applications, but then when you go to schedule the interview they just don’t show up,” she said.

Minus 9 to 5 Executive Director Jane Glasgow Ph.D. said there is no easy fix.

“If we say we’re going to pay higher wages, then we’re going to have to charge higher rates for the child care and we know that so many families [are] challenged. Some are paying $1,200 a month for infant child care,” she said.

The state has provided some hiring bonuses for child care providers but they must be paying a minimum of $15 an hour. Many centers cannot afford that.

Great Bridge Child Care is now offering staff free child care for their own children in an effort to hire more mothers.

“If things continue to go the way they are, it’s just … parents are not going to be able to go back to work because they’re not going to be able to find proper child care,” Mellott said.

She and other child care experts 10 On Your Side spoke with say what they need are people who want to make a career in child care and who understand they will earn more as they gain education and experience.

Click here to search child care jobs in Virginia.

Click here for more information about the upcoming free Child Care Workforce Training Program.

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