Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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July 28, 2013

The quest for quality child care

Area parents face obstacles in finding child care for their children.

Five years ago, a mom-to-be armed with an Excel spreadsheet and a list of addresses set out on a quest to find a child care provider for her soon-to-be-born baby girl.

“Researching and trying to find the best place was important and terrifying,” Kokomo mom Allison Toren said.

She called Bona Vista’s Child Care Solutions and developed a list of places she wanted to see.

Then she either called them or made visits and logged her observations in a spreadsheet.

She still has that paper today.

Next to one provider, she wrote the words, “Not impressed. Workers seemed immature.”

Another received higher marks. Under impressions, it said, “Very nice, Christian influence.”

She visited 11 places that ranged in price from $95 a week to $150 a week.

She wasn’t set on any of them.

Then she decided to drop in and visit the staff at Little Lambs Childcare on Goyer Road.

“Interestingly, Little Lambs wasn’t on the list,” she said. “I did an unannounced walk-in and fell in love. Once I found Little Lambs, I didn’t look anywhere else… They have an unquantifiable element – I know they love my children.”

Toren knows she’s lucky. She said so herself.

She and her husband were able to enroll their daughter without wait, which is unusual for Little Lambs, she said. And five years later, they haven’t had any issues with the provider.

Other families aren’t so lucky. The search for child care is often a bumpy road.

“We’ve had families come to us in tears, whether it be financial concerns, concerns over leaving their child with a stranger, or they may have had a bad experience,” said Michelle Kanable, program director for the Child Care Solutions referral service on Buckeye Street in downtown Kokomo.

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