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Pittsburg Childcare Shortage - KOAM TV 7

Pittsburg Childcare Shortage

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

For years, Pittsburg's Family Resource Center and other local childcare providers have been at capacity.

"I've have about 60 infants, 62 that are 12 months to 2-years-old, and about 60 that are up to 2-and-a-half, so there's about 120 on the waiting list right now," said the Resource Center's Executive Director Ann Elliott

The childcare shortage was the topic of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce's first Friday lunch.

"We have a long track record of collaboration here in Pittsburg and Crawford County. So I think it's really going to take several different entities working together to address the issue, but fortunately we have some pretty good experience with that," said chamber president Blake Benson.

And many hope that solution will come sooner, rather than later. Pittsburg business Pitsco has lost employees because of the childcare shortage.

"We have several young mothers who work for Pitsco and all have had trouble finding a placement for their child once they were to come back from maternity leave. We've had some who didn't have placement the day they went in to give birth to their child," said Pitsco manager Ruthie Muller.

Muller says Pittsburg's childcare situation has also caused an employee to move from Pittsburg to Joplin, and potential hires turn down job offers. Many have suggested Pittsburg's current childcare facilities expand, but that comes with complications.

"It's not just a matter of expanding, because when you expand infant/toddler you have to have more for your 3's and 5's, for those kids to funnel up to. One thing affects another thing," said Elliott.

While the solution of building another childcare center may seem obvious, who will be behind that operation and when it will happen, are discussions for future meetings. This gathering was about recognizing the problem and starting a dialogue.

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