SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — There’s one thing most of us need at one point in our lives: child care.
And if you ask anyone working in the industry, they will say Central New York is in a state of crisis.

The Executive Director of Child Care Solutions, Lori Schakow, has been sounding the alarm about this issue even before the pandemic began. Her company oversees hundreds of centers in Cayuga County and Onondaga County. Schakow said before the pandemic, we were not meeting child care needs in our area.

Now, with staffing issues and centers shutting down, it’s getting worse.

During the thick of the pandemic, most childcare centers stayed open and it was offered for free to essential workers. However, not many people took advantage. So, centers were either operating at less than half capacity or they had to shut down.

In terms of slots, Cayuga and Onondaga County lost 681 seats for childcare throughout the pandemic.

All of this snowballed into the main issue they’re facing now, the staffing shortage within the industry. The workers are paid low wages, and the market for them is growing smaller.

“Staff are just not coming back. They’re really, you know in terms of recruitment and retention, it has been almost impossible. It was bad prior to the pandemic, it is much much worse now,” said Lori Schakow, the Executive Director at Child Care Solutions.

This shortage of childcare centers is also leading to many parents, moms specifically, with no choice but to stay home and take care of their kids on their own. There are scholarships available for low-income parents and for businesses looking to start a facility on their own. If you have any questions, call Child Care Solutions at (315) 446-1220.