CINCINNATI — Many Greater Cincinnati child care facilities are experiencing a staffing shortage local experts say is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The staffing shortage is just one issue plaguing the child care system since the start of the pandemic. Experts say families are in need of child care as their children do remote learning.
Vanessa Freytag, president and CEO of the agency 4C for Children, estimates there are hundreds of open positions in the child care field in this region.
“Those positions have skyrocketed in the last couple of months,” said Freytag. “With COVID-19 any child care teachers that may have been older or had health issues have had to step away and have had to stay away, and that is a large number.”
Freytag’s team created an online job board that can be searched by county for open positions.
“We realized we could be a central place for all of those job postings to go, and we could be a central place for anyone in our community who is interested in child care to go and find those positions,” said Freytag.
Many of the open positions do not require a degree in early childhood education, she added.
“In the child care programs themselves, they can help you and teach you what you need to get started,” she said.
Learning Grove, a daycare in East Walnut Hills, currently has five open staff positions. The empty roles mean overtime work for administrators who said they need help in the classroom.
“It’s overwhelming when three staff call off in one day,” said Carolyn Riley, director at Learning Grove. “You just make it work.”
When staff cannot come in to work, Riley often will find herself substituting in one of Learning Grove’s six classrooms.
Riley said when she is not teaching she is desperately trying to fill open positions within the program. The open positions are a result of COVID-19 restrictions that have recently been lifted, she said.
“Some of the staff had to stay at home because their children didn’t have child care for either summer camps or other child care services, so that's how I lost a lot of staff,” she said.
Freytag said that’s the case all over the region, adding that many younger teachers also opted to stay home to help school-aged children.
She believes if those empty positions get filled, more seats will open up for families that need child care during the school day.