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‘Who’s going to take care of our future?’: Daycare owner questions childcare future after struggling to find workers during the pandemic

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 5:37 PM EDT
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - When walking into Imagination Station Daycare, it’s no daydream to see kids happy to be with their peers and enjoying time away from home. On the other hand, what’s become a less enjoyable reality for the owner, Krystal Towns, is the lack of employees.

“You’re lucky to hire staff, alone qualified staff, nobody wants to work anymore,” she said. “When they got unemployment, I lost three really good workers.”

For many childcare facilities that did stay open during the pandemic, they had a tough time filling seats with kids. Now it’s the opposite. Towns lost employees that had been working at the daycare for over ten years.

“It’s been very overwhelming. I ask myself everyday, ‘is it worth going in?’ but somebody has to do it. Who’s going to take care of our future?”

Even after governor Jim Justice cut all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation back in June, nothing changed for Towns.

“You can’t compete with $800 a week. That’s not money they ever would have made in childcare,” she said. “On a personal level, I totally get it, it was a lot of money, but on a business level, life has to go on.”

Towns said she is managing the best she can with the employees she does have, and works well over 40 hours a week, but she finds a way to smile through it for the kids.

“You don’t want to put the stress on the kids, they get a lot of that at home,” Towns said. “A lot of our kids are foster kids, grandparents raising them, so you want to keep it going as best as you can.”

If you’re interested in working at Imagination Station Daycare, you can contact Towns at 304-326-1000.

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