EDUCATION

Child Care Crisis: Daycares, Preschools Struggle To Balance Children’s Needs With Costs

Jun 10, 2021, 12:13 PM

DRAPER, Utah – Even before the pandemic, many in the child care industry say they faced a crisis. Now with more children bringing their COVID-related stress to preschool combined with an employee shortage, providers are struggling to meet needs without pricing out parents.

“We actually doubled our teachers in the classroom because they need emotional support, and that’s challenging because it’s hard to find people,” said Jody Zabriskie. She’s seen more children with behavior problems at her A-Z Building Blocks Preschool in Draper that need extra time and TLC.

“Make sure our team understands when these kids come in with extra stress, be patient with them,” said Zabriskie.

Jody Zabriskie owns A-Z Building Blocks Preschool in Draper. (KSL TV)

Jamie Bitton has seen the same thing at her Progressive Preschool in South Ogden.

“Their frustrations started to become visible in class,” she said. “It’s really challenging.”

Masks have also made it tougher for young children to learn to talk and recognize facial cues, so instead, providers say kids are using physicality to get what they want.

These trends have added to what providers call a child care crisis. Both facilities have waiting lists because they don’t have the staff to operate at full capacity.

The Utah Division of Workforce Services documented the child care shortage in a report in March 2020. Researchers found Utah needs 274 more licensed-center child care programs and 1,258 licensed in-home care programs.

That need continues after the pandemic, according to DWS, and addressing it is critical to the pandemic recovery.

Centers have a hard time hiring workers because they can’t pay competitive wages.

Progressive Preschool in South Ogden. (KSL TV)

“We’re competing with different industries that can pay better than we can,” said Bitton.

Preschools and daycares operate with thin margins, as they struggle to keep child care affordable.

“How do you tell a parent, because of staff, we doubled classes, this or that, we have to raise you 10%. You can’t tell a parent that,” said Zabriskie.

Child Care Aware of America data shows the already high costs of child care.

The cost of child care in Utah for one preschooler and an infant exceeds $17,000 a year. That’s about 20% of a two-parent annual income and higher than tuition at a public university.

Centers will struggle to hang on while still providing quality care. Owners are heartened by state support during the COVID-19 pandemic that has helped them offset increased costs.

But they know that won’t happen moving forward.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Education

Students who enjoy socialize at lunchtime actually improve their sense of belonging at the school. ...
Dan Rascon

BYU study says lunchtime means more to students then food

A new BYU study revealed just how critical lunchtime is for students.
1 day ago
The Davis School District buildings controls monitoring center will be staffed 24 hours a day, ever...
Mike Anderson

Davis School District installs district-wide surveillance system

The Davis School District now has an around-the-clock monitoring center, where it can keep eyes on cameras and conditions across 120 buildings.
1 day ago
FILE: Getty Images...
Matt Rascon

Districts seek substitute teachers amidst shortages

School districts are asking their communities to help fill the expected gaps in the classrooms this year by becoming substitute teachers.
1 day ago
File photo...
Tamara Vaifanua

Canyons School District implementing new school lunch program

During the pandemic, Utah students got to eat school meals for free thanks to federal waivers.
2 days ago
...
Deanie Wimmer

How Utah schools updated security in the wake of Uvalde

KSL surveyed Utah schools based on the findings of the "Robb Report," Texas lawmakers' analysis of what went wrong in Uvalde, to learn what changes have been made in our state.
5 days ago
FILE: Back-to-school shopping (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Saving $ on back-to-school supplies with inflation

With inflation running amok this year, parents are tackling big price hikes on top of the stress. Fortunately, there are ways they can still save money.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Child Care Crisis: Daycares, Preschools Struggle To Balance Children’s Needs With Costs