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Digging Deeper: Growing need for child care impacts Wisconsin

MADISON (WKOW) — For many families, finding out you’re pregnant is one of the happiest times.

But reality can set in soon, when you start looking for child care.

“I would rather vomit every day of my pregnancy than go through finding child care again,” said Becky Rosenow, a Dane County mom.

Rosenow and her husband heard from family and friends to start the child care search process early, so they started researching and calling before the first trimester was over to find care for daughter, Etta.

“We still ended up reaching out to more than 50 different daycare providers just trying to get something,” she said.  “A lot of them just didn’t even get back to us because they didn’t have space.”

Tanya Cook, owner of Kings Kids Academy, feels the burden on the other side.

“The need is tremendous,” Cook said.

She’s been in the child care business 32 years and has noticed a difference recently.  “The hiring has been really difficult, just finding people who are qualified… It’s hard on my heart when I have to tell a parent, I do not have space right now.”

According to the Center for American Progress, 54 percent of Wisconsin is in a child care desert, meaning there aren’t enough child care providers to support the children living in that area.  Key takeaways from the study include the following:

Where the Rosenows live in Wisconsin is classified as a child care desert.  “I’m not surprised at all,” Rosenow said.  “It’s half an hour drive to daycare.”

Thankfully for the Rosenows, the search is over.  Etta is about six months old and in daycare.  “Doing the process over again is like my worst nightmare,” Rosenow said.

“The biggest thing is start early,” Cook said.  “I always tell people, call moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas, aunts and uncles and then call me so that you’re on a list.”

Cook has noticed over the years, the state licensing and certification processes have become more rigorous.  “I understand the need for it, I understand where it came from,” she said.  “It just impacts how you can get a new staff person into place.”

A statement to 27 News from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families on the topic of child care shortage reads as follows:

Caroline Bach

Anchor, Wake Up Wisconsin Weekend

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