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Childcare crisis: Relief available for Outagamie County providers

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 17:58:27-05
  • Childcare providers are struggling to keep their doors open, but a local nonprofit can offer some relief.
  • Child Care Resources and Referral started a program offering substitutes to providers in need.
  • The teacher shortage is Kinder Haus in Kaukauna’s biggest struggle – making this program their biggest resource.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

We’ve heard from parents about their childcare struggles.

“It's just a lot to put on your shoulders,” said Janelle Meinnert, a Fox Valley mom.

“Waitlist, waitlist, waitlist,” said Alycia Vollmer, a Fox Valley mom.

I’m your Appleton neighborhood reporter, Olivia Acree, with the other side of the story. This time the struggles from a provider's point of view.

“There's such a big demand for daycare, and not enough teachers,” said Lamers.

Lynn Lamers is the director for Kinder Haus in Kaukauna. Her biggest issue is staffing.

“If we did not have enough teachers, then I would have to tell the parents that they wouldn't be able to attend for the day,” said Lamers.

As daycares like Kinder Haus struggle to keep their doors open, one Fox Valley organization is trying to help ease the strain.

“When we asked programs, what do you need? The answer’s always helping hands,” said Hall.

As the executive director for Child Care Resource and Referral, or CCR&R, Candy Hall helps manage the essential services program. Including the four substitutes available to Outagamie County providers.

“We have 72 providers in Outagamie County. Right now, 14 of them are using us on a pretty regular basis,” said Hall.

The help doesn’t go unnoticed by providers like Lamers.

“If I didn't have the sub I would have had to be in a room and that would have taken away my job as the director,” said Lamers.

There are more kids needing care than teachers available. As parents struggle with waitlists so do providers.

“I have a notebook and I probably have six pages front and back on a waitlist,” said Lamers.

Although they can’t solve all these problems, Hall hopes the ARPA-funded essential services program takes one thing off provider’s plates.

“We're already continuing to look for additional funding to keep the program moving after the ARPA funding has run out,” said Hall.

Lamers encourages all struggling providers to reach out to CCR&R.