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What's Behind The Child Care Cuts?

The need for child care in our region has been an issue for years, but some say it's getting worse. As we've reported, child care facilities across Oneida County have been forced to make program cuts, employee layoffs, and in some cases, close their doors completely. Eyewitness News reporter Rachel Polansky visits with child care experts and parents to find out what's behind the child care cuts.
The need for child care in our region has been an issue for years, but some say it's getting worse. As we've reported, child care facilities across Oneida County have been forced to make program cuts, employee layoffs, and in some cases, close their doors completely. Eyewitness News reporter Rachel Polansky visits with child care experts and parents to find out what's behind the child care cuts.

Some child care providers blame the economy. Others say 'illegal child care' is becoming a dangerous, growing trend and it's leading to lower enrollment and program cuts across the board.

"We don't know where these children are going. We believe they're going to unlicensed, unregulated care," says Ellen Olson, Oneida County Child Care Council.

Olson says following spendings cuts, there's been a substantial lack of enrollment. The Council reports 250 empty children slots. So where are those 250 children going for day care? Some providers think parents may be choosing cheaper alternatives.

"Anyone watching more than 2 children that aren't related to them for 3+ hours is providing illegal care," says Olson.

"And those people are flying under the radar and we don't really know whats going on inside those homes particularly," says John Kalpin Jr., Genessee Street Childrens Center owner.

Kalpin Jr. has also seen a decrease in enrollment. As far as illegal child care goes, he says bringing children to unlicensed providers has long-term consequences.

"The under 5-year old time frame for children is critical. It's far more critical than parents realize. As we're seeing with children that don't have the proper background, when they get to kindergraden, they're already behind," says Kalpin Jr.

While regulated child care might cost more money, some parents say that added security is worth it.

"I want the best day care for my daughter," says Holly Powers, Utica parent.

"When children are young their brains are like sponges and you need to put that education into their heads," says Danny Powers, Utica parent.

"Cost is a concern but there's always programs that can help you pay for more expensive day cares," says Holly Powers.

At this point, in yet another effort to increase enrollment, child care providers say they're trying create more infant and toddler programs in our region.

The Oneida County Child Care Council says they are always look for people who want to become licensed child care providers. For more information on becoming a provider or if you are looking for a licensed provider, visit: http://www.mycccc.org/


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