KeepHealthCare.ORG – Families struggling to find consistent child care in Medicine Hat
MEDICINE HAT, AB — Finding childcare in the city is proving to be difficult for many families.
Earlier this year, a childcare facility announced it would be shutting it’s doors, leaving 66 children without a place to go over the summer.
Families are scrambling, putting their names on wait lists where they can, hoping something comes available in the next few weeks.
Day home agencies are also looking for people to open their own homes and offer the service themselves.
Jessica Durk has struggled to find consistent childcare over the last six years.
Alaric, four, and Leonidas, six, are both busy boys who love playing board games and jumping on their backyard trampoline.
“We’ve had private day homes and we’ve done program run day homes and we’ve done day cares, so we’ve done it all,” Durk said. “Not really by choice.”
One day home ended up having too many children. At another, her oldest son wasn’t getting the care he needed, and wasn’t happy.
More recently, their child care centre told the family they were being evicted and needed time to find a new space.
“It’s something that you think about all the time. All the time,” she said. “If you don’t have a childcare provider, you’re constantly trying to find one.”
“One of the hardest things for centres is finding qualified educated staff and day home agencies finding day home providers that are willing to be with an agency,” said Jennifer Usher, coordinator with the Medicine Hat and District Child Care Association.
Bradi Jubelius, the owner and director of Monkey Business Day Homes, said she turns away families every day who are looking for care.
“It’s about 15 families a week that we can’t provide care for because we’re full,” she said.
Jubelius said she can add six more providers to her roster, which would create 36 more spaces. But it’s not easy to find someone who’s willing to make the career change.
“It’s a big undertaking,” she added. “It’s a big commitment to welcome these families and these children into your home.”
Durk said she hasn’t considered the idea of opening up her home and creating her own day home.
“I’m a nurse and I love being a nurse and I would have a really hard time giving that up,” she said.
Her boys are on several wait lists and she’s hopeful she’ll have something lined up for the summer.