ARDMORE, OK -- Ardmore civic leaders and East Central University have just wrapped up a study which confirms what a lot of parents already knew-- it is often difficult to find somebody to keep the kids.
Day care centers aren't open when parents need them. A lot of the programs are full up and can't take anymore kids, and if you can find child care when and where you need it, the bill can be staggering.
“Child care here in the Ardmore area for an infant probably costs a family anywhere from about $85 to $110 per week,” Brien Thorstenberg of the Ardmore Development Authority says.
If you have more than one kid who needs care while you work, that adds up to thousands of dollars each year, even more than tuition at a four-year college. Civic leaders say that is not just a problem for parents, but that it’s hurting companies as well.
“It’s very challenging for businesses to find workers, so we started looking at the cause and child care. The availability of child care, the expense and other issues related to child care seemed to be popping up, so we wanted to look at that and see if there was something we could do on that,” study coordinator Cheryl Bell says.
One of the suggestions is that companies get involved by teaming up with their employees and local child care providers to get a better deal. For instance, a company could guarantee a certain amount of business each week, in exchange for that child care provider giving the employee a better rate.
“They could benefit very directly in the short term in terms of having workers that are not having to call in sick because their child woke up at seven in the morning who is sick.”
But what if your boss isn’t interested in helping you negotiate a better deal? You still may be able to get help through social programs.
“Typically we say if the family makes less than $28,000 a year total household income, they may be eligible, and then that number goes up depending on the number of children that are in the family.”
The study found that 30% of people surveyed could probably qualify for a break, but have never even signed up, and if your family is of Native American heritage, there could be tribal resources available as well.
One of the great things about this study being done locally is that most communities in Texoma can get something out of it, and if you need advice about child care, or want to know more about what financial aid you may qualify for, call East Central's resource agency. It won't cost you anything. Their number is 1-800-862-5593, or you can check the related links below the story.