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'Stressed To The Max': Day Care Centers Struggle With Staff Shortage

HINGHAM (CBS) – As parents return to the office, day care centers are facing staffing shortages.

"The last two weeks have been rough," said Charlotte McLaughlin, owner of Stepping Stone Learning Center in Hingham. "We are trying the best we can do with what is being presented to us at this time."

As more people get vaccinated and return to work, many day cares are being inundated with requests for childcare but not enough workers to staff their facilities safely.

"We don't have the staffing," McLaughlin said. "Staffing is our hugest enemy right now."

Before COVID, McLauglin had 15 on her staff.

"Right now we have nine. And they are overworked, they're underpaid. They are stressed to the max," McLaughlin said.

Another big challenge is finding qualified, dependable applicants.

"Many applicants are applying but not coming to the interview, they're not calling me back," McLaughlin said.

At Stepping Stone, there are 34 families on the waiting list. Parents are calling every day hoping for a spot for their child. McLaughlin says there's just simply not enough staff to accommodate. The other things she had to cut back on are her operating hours.

"Parents are stressed, we have parents daily asking me for changes in hours and unfortunately that's one of the things we can't accommodate right now and I feel terrible," McLaughlin said.

But one thing she's proud of is her refusal to compromise the safety of the children.

"I need qualified, hardworking, reliable staff members that love their job of working with children that are going to come in and nurture these families like they're their own," McLaughlin said.

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