Daycare is an important piece of the puzzle for many families--especially if it's hard to come by.
Kelli Volk talked with two child care professionals who say the impact of a daycare shortage extends beyond the household and into the community.
The lively sound of kids laughing on the playground is what daycare provider LaVonne Byerlye considers to be a highlight of her occupation.
(LaVonne Beyerle, ABC Daycare Director)"It's just fun, fun seeing all these kids grow up. They're like my grandchildren, my kids.
If she could allow more into her facility, she would.
(LaVonne Beyerle, ABC Daycare Director)"If I could accept more kids I could probably double in size. That's how many calls I get."
Child care is still in demand in Ward County.
A September 2013 report conducted by North Dakota Child Care Resource and Referral compares the number of children potentially needing care with the availability of licensed child care--covering only about 27% of the need for licensed childcare in Ward County.
One child care expert says licensed childcare should cover about 50% percent of a county's need.
(Kristi Asendorf, NDCCRR Program Supervisor)"There's still a crunch for childcare. Part of it is because vacancies don't always match what the need is. Odd-hour care, like evenings and weekends, or part-time care or infant care are all the toughest ones for us to continue to help families find."
The research does not indicate that there are no vacancies available; however, finding the right vacancy can be difficult.
(Kristi Asendorf, NDCCRR Program Supervisor)" Just because a program has a vacancy, doesn't mean it's the right fit for a family. It might be that the hours don't work or it may be that you say an infant. The childcare program might be looking for someone who's 1 and up and the family's looking for care for a six week old. So sometimes it doesn't always match the way you may think. Vacancy doesn't equate to that's the right place for that family."
Not finding daycare opens up a list of other issues for families.
(Kristi Asendorf, NDCCRR Program Supervisor)"We've had several families that have called us and said they've not been able to accept employment because they can't find the care that they need. Employers are actually starting to see it too as a community issue because they as employers are not able to hire qualified staff for their businesses because of childcare so there's sort of this domino effect."
(LaVonne Beyerle, ABC Daycare Director)"It's just kind of a vicious cycle that we see in the community because they can't get workers, because they can't get child care.
It's a cycle that makes Byerle wish she had more room on her playground.
(LaVonne Beyerle, ABC Daycare Director)"It just breaks my heart to know that there's so many people that are looking for childcare and can't find it."
In Minot, Kelli Volk, KX News.
North Dakota Child Care Resource and Referral has information available to families seeking child care.
Just look them up in the phone book or on online.