Parents seeking child care struggle with access, costs
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) —
As Megan Garman’s due date approached, she began making calls to several child care centers in the Johnstown area to get her daughter enrolled, but found herself signing up for waiting list after waiting list.
“It’s very, very stressful,” she said.
Garman began her search more than one year ago and is still waiting for a slot to open up. Thankfully, she said, a family member was able to fill in, but the working mother knows that’s not a permanent solution.
Every few months, she calls the centers again to see if her family has moved up on the waiting lists and hopes for the best.
“It’s like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel,” Garman said.
The Johnstown resident’s story is not uncommon in Pennsylvania, which suffers from a lack of access and affordability for child care and early childhood education facilities.
There are more than 500,000 Pennsylvanian children under the age of 5 and about 300,000 infants and toddlers who need child care, according to advocacy group Start Strong PA. Roughly half in both categories are eligible for Child Care Works – a state subsidized program that provides low-income families with access to reliable, quality programs.
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