Childcare industry struggling with COVID-19 impacts

Nannies, childcare centers and parents are are struggling to cope with the shutdowns resulting from COVID-19 concerns

MADISON, Wis. — School closings and social distancing concerns have some parents struggling to find a good childcare option.

Micaela Berry, who owns Peace of Mind Nannies, said she has been working to help these parents.

“I’ve had an influx of daycare workers as well as teachers and other people who have been losing their jobs looking for work,” Berry said.  “My role is somewhat of a matchmaker of putting nannies and families together who I know will work well together and be able to create a welcoming and loving environment for the children.”

While teachers and nannies are able to find work through agencies like Peace of Mind Nannies to provide in-home care, it’s putting a strain on the childcare centers who are in need of more kids to look after in order to keep their centers running.

“It’s just an industry that is going to be very hard hurt,” said Macy Buhler, who owns the Yahara River Learning Center in Deforest. “I don’t know that we will have care for children when this is done and I don’t know how workers will go back to work.”

Buhler said has already laid of half of her staff because not enough parents are taking their children to childcare centers anymore, who are instead seeking in-home care to maintain social distance from other children.

Buhler said parents are concerned about social distancing and not wanting to place their children in a facility where there are dozens of people around.

According to a recent study done by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, if child care centers don’t get enough parents willing to send their kids to them for care, the nation could see 75% of them closing permanently.

The childcare industry faces even more issues. Jill Hagan, a part-time nanny with the La Creme Nanny agency, said many of her nanny friends are scared to look after kids right now because they are concerned for their own health.

“Yeah, the nannies are scared,” Hagan said. “Kids, it sounds like, they don’t really show symptoms but they can pass things along. We don’t live with the families so we have our own families that we have to worry about.”

Hagan also said there are many nannies who are looking for work right now.

“Parents are off work so they don’t need their regular nanny,” Hagan said.

Buhler said she only has a handful of children she is looking after now and is fearful that she will eventually have to shut down. She said she is waiting on financial help from the government, like many other businesses, to get help staying afloat so that all childcare workers who are struggling to find work right now have a place to come back to when the shutdowns have been lifted.

For parents who are still looking for childcare assistance, you can visit Berry’s website here, or visit a number of Facebook groups including Moms of Madison, 4-C Helping Communities Help Children, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Daycare Networking of Madison and Surrounding Areas, Madison Area Parent Support, Parents of Dane County and more.

Many day care facilities in the McFarland area are also currently below the permitted number of children right now, according to the Spartan Day Camp staff.