Press-Republican

Local News

September 3, 2008

Essex County day-care centers decline

'I still do it because I love kids. I love having them here"

ELIZABETHTOWN -- The people at Adirondack Community Action Programs are worried that the number of child-care providers in Essex County has fallen by two-thirds.

The number of day-care providers in the county has dropped from 140 to 41 since the early 1990s, said ACAP Child Care Manager Marjorie Zmijewski.

She said Action Programs is trying to recruit more providers because many parents will otherwise have nowhere to send their children while they're at work.

TRAINING PROVIDED

"There is a lack of qualified child care right through the county," Zmijewski said. "There's a lot of misinformation. The regulations have changed, but for the good."

The state now requires 30 hours of training, she said, but ACAP provides the instruction.

"We're the child-care resource and reference agency for Essex County. We'd like to have people who want to be providers call so we can help them."

ACAP Executive Director Alan Jones said they're doing their best to assist more people to provide day care for children.

"We know in Essex County child care is one of our biggest hurdles."

ACAP will help people through the process to become a registered day-care provider, Zmijewski said.

"We need to maintain qualified child care and after-school programs for children of parents who work. We're focusing on in-home child care because there's a lack of it. Every day, we get four or five calls from parents (seeking day care)."

FOOD COSTS COVERED

Zmijewski said ACAP can even help pay for food for children attending child-care centers.

"All family and group family child-care providers are entitled to sign up for the Child Adult Food Program, which is a monthly reimbursement for the meals they supply to the children in their care. Informal providers can also sign up for this program if they are caring for subsidized children."

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