Child care shortages in Waco distress working mothers

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 7:00 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Working mothers are struggling to find day cares for their children as staffing shortages limit availability at local centers.

Jasmine Vaughn, a Waco mother who works while attending college, applied for child care assistance for her son after she learned the waitlist was three months.

“When she told me three months, I was like, that’s ideal,” Vaughn said. “I didn’t want to immediately put him in, so it was ideal for me.”

She was shocked when she received child care assistance the next week.

“She called me back the next week,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn said the woman on the phone call told her she had 14 days to find her son a day care in order to receive child care assistance.

“I literally got on the phone, called everybody,” she said. “I put myself on three waitlists. I called about 25 day cares. Some of them were closed. Some of them were still open. They were full and booked, and it took me, maybe, about two weeks to find a daycare.”

Deborah McGregor, who is the CEO of Care Net Pregnancy Center in Waco, said many mothers at Care Net are also struggling to find day cares for their children.

“We have women that are waiting eight months to get their child into a child care facility, so they can’t work, so they are not able to work,” she said.

McGregor hopes the high demand will cause more day cares to open in the area.

“I think that there’s just a period where it’s going to take people to ramp up,” she said. “My experience has been that the need doesn’t get filled until the spotlight is shined on it.”

Luckily, Vaughn was able to find a day care for her son in time to meet the two-week deadline to receive assistance.

“I didn’t have a lot of time, so I just had to make a quick decision,” she said. “This decision that I’ve made, now, I’m so happy with it. He’s happy. He’s learning. I’m a ecstatic. I can’t be happier about it.”

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