Shortage of daycare staff putting a lot of kids on waiting lists

Monday, July 7th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

There's a shortage of day-care facilities in Oklahoma. More 135,000 kids are enrolled in one of 6,000 licensed centers in Oklahoma and nearly half of the kids are on waiting lists.

News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger looks at the numbers in the Tulsa area. There are more than 25,000 kids enrolled in one of 900 facilities in Tulsa County. But there still 2 kids for every slot who need care. That's because there's a shortage.

Many centers are forced to shutdown due to a variety of trends in the economy. In the past 18 to 20 months, Ginger Robertson at downtown's Trinity Episcopal Day School has seen close to two dozen families pull their kids out of the school because of unemployment.

Parents who used to work at Wil-Tel and Williams Companies can no longer afford their services and have looked to other means of daycare. Ginger Robertson, day care instructor, “The other thing is our public school now have programs for 3 and 4 year old and the cost is zero! So parents are trying to make end meet."

The turnover rate for daycare teachers is extremely high, almost 60% in Tulsa. They say it's because the starting salary is so low, $6.75 hour, barely over minimum wage.