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In the midst of the workers shortage, a lack of affordable childcare is keeping parents from filling much-needed jobs

Posted at 10:37 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 11:16:31-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Across the state, there's no shortage of places looking to hire. But for parents who are struggling financially, a lack of affordable childcare is preventing them from filling much-needed jobs. 

“The lack of affordable childcare has been an issue for years but especially during COVID and the workers shortage at daycare facilities," said Jessica Diederich, the president of Freedom House Ministries.

Diederich says that while the parents at Freedom House are able and willing to work, the struggle to find childcare makes it next to impossible for many.

“Something that we have as a requirement here at Freedom House is that the adults are working within thirty days of coming into shelter and what we’ve found especially more recently is that they’re struggling to find childcare in order to go to work," she said.

Diederich says the problem is even more of an obstacle for single parents.

“80 percent of the families that are here are single-parent households. So you don’t have somebody else to lean on or they maybe don’t have family in the area that can help out with childcare while they go to work," Diederich said.

Aside from the factor of affordability, she says there are no daycare facilities in the area that accommodate parents who have to work second shift schedules. 

"They could work at some of the larger employers in the area that have great benefits and all of that but that one piece that’s missing, if they have to work second shift or overnight, there are no daycare facilities in this area that accommodate those schedules," Diederich said.

In addition, due to workers shortages at daycare facilities, many currently aren't taking new clients or have long wait lists. It's extra time that families trying to get back on their feet simply don't have.

"The waiting lists can be six months before they can get into a facility," Diederich said. "We don’t have that kind of time. These families need to get moving, get back on their feet and find stable housing. But you can’t do that unless you have income from a job.”

Freedom House works to connect families with resources that can provide assistance with childcare. Family and Childcare Resources of Northeast Wisconsin is a non-profit organization that can work with parents to refer them to affordable childcare providers.

"The jobs are definitely there," Diederich said. "We know that. But we have all of these residents who are struggling to find childcare who say I want to work, I'm willing to work, I'm capable of it but there’s nothing available for childcare.”