Closed schools could mean a demand for child care in the state

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — On Tuesday Governor Laura Kelly announced that all Kansas schools would close for the remainder of the school year, moving classes online, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For working parents, this means they must find child care for kids too young to be home alone. Child care workers are warning parents to look closely at facilities before leaving your child.

Emily Barnes runs a child care facility in Johnson County, Kansas. Johnson County has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state. Barnes watches the children of health care workers who don’t have the option to stay home during this pandemic.

“Even contemplating that possibility of some of them may eventually be told their not allowed to leave work,” said Emily.

Emily is one of a small number of licensed child care facilities in the state. Licensed facilities must follow strict regulations put in place by the state and participate in yearly inspections. In order to maintain a child care license, regular training is also required. Because of this, Reva Wywadis, Executive Director of ChildCare Aware of Eastern Kansas, urges parents to put their kids in licensed, state-regulated facilities.

“This is a public health crisis that we’re in right now,” said Wywadis. “So the last thing we want to do is put children and families into a situation where they’re actually increasing their risk of contracting something.”

Emily agrees, she says licensed providers know what needs to be done to keep kids safe and healthy.

“I know that it feels scary to not have care in place, but every provider in the state right now is doing everything they can do abide by their regulations and make sure that care stays consistent,” added Emily.

If you are in a position of needing to find child care, ChildCare Aware of Kansas is a non-profit organization that helps families find licensed care in their area, across the state. Find more information at their website or call (877)678-2548.

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