A shortage of child care in the state is not a new issue, but it is affecting more and more families.
After years of watching families struggle to find child care, Sheila Morris, owner of Wee Folk Child Care Center, decided to expand, exponentially, to meet the needs of her community.
KX News visited the new facility in February when construction was nearing completion.
Morris explained her plans to care for approximately two-hundred children, longer hours of operation, and higher pay and benefits for her employees.
Fast forward to today, and everything is going to plan, with 170 kids, and thriving staff.
“Staffing is an issue among the childcare industry as well, so we try and take care of them,” said Sheila Morris, Wee Folk, owner. “We’ve been blessed to have a really amazing staff. It’s not for everybody. You find those right people and you find the right fit, and they just find their home here. It’s great.”
While all is going quite well, there are still significant challenges.
After being open for just 5 months, there is already a wait list of 85 infants, and 177 children in total.
With more recent closures of child care centers, and infant spaces closed in others in the Capital City, the number of inquiries has increased.
But due to room capacity and the ratio of staff to infant and toddlers, she is not able to take on many more children.
“I would like to be able to offer like an infant only center with an after school place where the older kids can go and parents know that they’re safe,” Morris said, “and they’re taken care of and be able to provide transportation right now I can’t do that I can’t expand. Everything comes to funding.”
Morris also has plans to open a drop in portion to the center, for families that require last minute child care.