Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 28, 2013

The quest for quality child care

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

(Continued)

The parents worked a later shift, though, and needed someone who provided 24-hour care.

Kanable said there are only 6 homes and one child care center in Howard County that stay open 24 hours. And none of those are a level three on the Paths to Quality rating system.

According to Indiana Youth Institute data, there aren’t even enough licensed child care slots for all of the county’s children.

In 2011, there were only 25 licensed spots for every 100 children.

The numbers in surrounding counties are even bleaker.

In Miami County, there were 5.1 licensed child care spots per 100 kids in 2011. In Tipton County, that number was zero.

Kanable said that isn’t surprising.

“In rural areas, there are a lot of unregulated providers,” she said.

But access isn’t the only obstacle families face, and it may not even be the biggest one.

Kanable said there has been an influx of Howard County parents searching for child care along the trolley routes in town.

Their selection is slim, she said. Often times, parents are forced to walk 10 blocks from the trolley station to the facility.

“If they have transportation issues, it can be difficult,” she said.

But the biggest issue, by far, is money. Child care is expensive.

In many cases, it’s a family’s second biggest expense. The only thing more expensive is their mortgage, Child Care Solutions Infant and Toddler Specialist Amy Healton said.

And the price issue is one that spans all socioeconomic classes, she said.

Toren and her family grappled with that issue.

Last year, they enrolled their now- two-year-old in daycare along with their 4-year-old daughter.

Daycare was expensive for one child, so Toren wasn’t sure at first they could afford the second.

Her husband is a pastor, and she works at Indiana Wesleyan University.

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