KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Across the United States, and the Kansas City metro, a daycare crisis is looming. Both businesses and parents are finding taking care of children costs more than many can afford.
Project EAGLE in Kansas City, Kansas is different than many daycares.
“We’re serving our communities the best we can ensure an inclusiveness across the board,” director, Lisa London said.
The University of Kansas Medical Center facility is funded through grants. In October, they received a $3.4 million grant to help children attend for free.
On Monday, Congresswoman Sharice Davids (KS-3) stopped by the center. While they have funding, budgeting based on needs is a clear issue in a pandemic-impacted economy.
“We have a lot of vacancies. To be honest, there’s a lot of vacancies out there. And we’re not the only ones that are struggling with staffing. All the childcare agencies across the metro area in the nation are struggling with staffing,” London said.
According to a survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, four out of five daycares in the nation are understaffed.
“So some people are just completely getting out of the field,” London told the congresswoman.
Nearly 80% of those surveyed said low wages are keeping them from hiring employees.
“It really ensures that not just the supplies, but also the professionals who are doing the job have what they need to keep moving forward and in a safe way. Because the pandemic is still impacting a lot of people’s lives,” Davids said.
Davids said President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act would help both parents and daycare operators. The act includes two years of universal preschool and a sliding scale to help parents with the cost.
However, Republicans have pushed back on the plan as a whole. It focuses on not only childcare, but caring for the elderly, climate change, health care, immigration reform, affordable housing, and education.
Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartlzer said the plan is based on a socialist agenda that would bankrupt the nation. Kansas Senator Jerry Moran described the BBB as a “spending spigot” that could fuel inflation.
“Without us here, they can’t go to work. They can’t go and get a higher education, if that’s what they’re interested in. When we have to close a classroom because we’ve got sick children or sick teachers, it’s heartbreaking,” London said.
Build Back Better is being evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office. Tuesday, they reported there is no definitive cost of the plan. A representative said there is no estimated date when they will finish evaluating it.