Childcare centers low on staff as waitlists grow for children

Missouri

Weldon Spring, Mo. – Childcare centers in the St. Louis area are facing a shortage of employees amid a surge of families needing help.

Some childcare centers say COVID has left the childcare industry desperately seeking staff.

“This can be a very rewarding job but it’s no secret that it’s a difficult job and the way that the job market is, people have a lot of choices,” Faith Academy Executive Director Kristin Skebo said.

Skebo runs three childcare centers throughout the St. Louis area and said that the now demand is outweighing the supply.

“The reality is we have spots available but we need to hire more teachers, so it is a difficult thing to have to say to those families, we’re going to have to put you on the waitlist right now,” Skebo said.

In total, Faith Academy has 220 kids of all ages in their care.

Although they do have some spots, it’s getting harder to take care of more children with less staff.

“We’ve never been here before,” Skebo said, “this is a whole new world.”

“This is our third daycare because we keep getting kicked out of them because they have to keep moving other babies in, we had to find daycare on such short notice,” St. Peters mom Holly Fantasia Shadows said.

Shadows has even more issues with finding a permanent program because the infant rooms are close to capacity.

“It’s been really difficult trying to find any kind of childcare, I sat on my lunch week last week crying, calling,” said Shadows. “I think I called 17 daycares before I found somebody.”

For her, she has no choice.

“I work full-time, his father works full-time. I can’t afford to be a stay-at-home mom, and I tried to do them at-home daycare, like a babysitter, that was costing almost triple to have at-home daycare versus having him at a facility,” Shadows said.

A problem only worsening as the school year begins.  

“There is no cookie-cutter solution to this problem, it really is every day just looking at our numbers and what we can do to try to retain the teachers we do have and make space for quality childcare,” said Skebo.

Faith Academy is currently hiring and has available some spots for daycare.

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