Closure reinforces need for more child care providers - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Closure reinforces need for more child care providers in Estherville

One of the rooms where kids play in the current child care center located inside of Demoney Elementary School in Estherville. One of the rooms where kids play in the current child care center located inside of Demoney Elementary School in Estherville.

40 children, or more, could soon be without child care in Estherville, Iowa.

"Most of it is our employee expenses, and because we are a public sector we also have to pay into the IPRS or the retirement fund for employees, as well as insurance costs," Tara Paul, the Estherville Lincoln Central Superintendent explained.

Paul herself, is the working mother of girls, ages 9, 7, and 5 all of whom are also enrolled at the Estherville Child Care Center.  And like many other parents, she's trying to find a new child care provider before the center closes in June.

"We have tried to do some alternative planning, and some after school care for them, but we do have some off days right now where we still need to bring them here," Paul said.

The child care center is located inside the Demoney Elementary school. Last August there were 87 students enrolled.  Now, with about 5 months to go there are about 40 students left.  Their families are still in the process of finding a new child care provider.

One parent says, she's having a hard time finding a new child care provider.

"There are not a whole lot of other choices in town.  Most of them are full, so I don't really at this point have a place for him to go," Ann Ingvall a parent said.

So, that means Ingvall will have to look elsewhere for care. But, there's only 36 child care centers in Emmet County.

"I think there were about 700 kids between 0 and 5 years of age and then only 500 seats, in home or day care centers in the region to fill," Kathy Evert said.

Evert works with the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation.  She says, if parents can't find child care for their kids, that could put a strain on business.

"If the workers cannot find daycare it would be difficult to have workers take jobs, they may have to leave their job which then creates an additional work force challenge," Evert said.

Evert is now working with city leaders and community members to encourage more people to open up child care centers.

"So we've just started meeting trying to find way to encourage the new creation of childcare centers or existing child care centers to expand," Penny Clayton, with the City of Estherville said.

The Superintendent also says they're working with the center's 10 employees to help find them jobs after the closure.

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