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Childcare crisis: The domino effect it has on Fox Valley parents

Childcare crisis: The domino effect it has on Fox Valley parents
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-22 22:40:31-05
  • Many parents say they’re struggling to find childcare leading to missed work and missed opportunities.
  • The struggles range from price to availability to consistency.
  • I spoke to two Fox Valley moms about the ways the childcare crisis affects them.

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

Many parents say they’re struggling to find childcare while many providers say they’re struggling to hire workers. I’m Olivia Acree, your Appleton neighborhood reporter and I wanted to hear what childcare issues are present in the Fox Valley from parents.

Like many other parents, childcare weighs Janelle Meinnert's mind

“Financial, work and then you know, placement. It's just there's so much,” said Meinnert.

She and her boyfriend work twelve hours shifts. Making regular childcare tough to find.

“I rely a lot on family right now,” said Meinnert.

But family isn't an option for others. Like Alycia Vollmer, whose family lives an hour away.

“You're trying to do everything you can to make sure you can find this stable environment for your children,” said Vollmer.

Vollmer is a single parent working full time.

“Everyone that I called, waitlist, waitlist, waitlist, waitlist, there was not one available Vollmer.

Her daughter is 17 months now, but she has a baby boy due in February. These moms have more in common than their mutual struggles to find affordable care. Neither qualify for government assistance. So, they’re pinching pennies.

“Do I buy organic blueberries or regular blueberries? I mean, you have to be that detailed,” said Vollmer.

Their kids come before all else but it’s not always easy.

“$290 a week, $305 a week,” said Vollmer.

Childcare struggles lead Meinnert to question more kids…

“I don't want to have to deal with that again and trying to find childcare,” said Meinnert.

And Vollmer is just grateful her current provider can take on another baby.

“It would put me extremely behind or probably have to max out credit cards and that's what I don't want to do,” said Vollmer.

Now we’ve heard from the parents, but next I'm talking to some childcare providers to hear what they’re dealing with, and a fox valley organization that’s trying to ease the strain. That story is coming up Tuesday at 6.