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Parents Facing Childcare Crisis As 156 Sacramento Daycare Centers Folded During Pandemic

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As more people prepare to go back to work in person, there's growing concern about the lack of child care options.

"The waiting list I've heard has been kind of long," said working mom Manuela Dominguez.

Dominguez returned to her workplace four months ago and is glad she has daycare for her three kids.

"Because when you don't have someone, you're kind of left with trying to figure it out or missing work - which can possibly cause you to lose your job," Dominguez said.

Daycare providers were able to stay open as essential businesses during the pandemic, but many lost customers as parents began working from home.

"To survive that, if that's your livelihood, was very hard to do 18 months in and not have anyone paying the bill," said Denise Lee, Deputy Director for the Sacramento Employment & Training Agency.

The City of Sacramento says 156 daycare providers closed during the pandemic.

"Folks closed because they couldn't make ends meet if nobody was bringing their children," Lee said.

"Forever Friends" in Sacramento was able to stay open, but owner Krystal Barlatt says her business dropped by 50 percent.

"It's really been uncharted waters for us all," Barlatt said.

Because of that, they currently have space available - but another big issue is finding more child care workers.

"A lot of people are short-staffed so they're limited in the number of kids they can take," Barlatt said.

And as more workplaces return to normal, many child care providers are concerned slots will fill up so quickly theY won't be able to keep up.

"If they all went back to work in one fell swoop, we wouldn't have enough," Lee said.

City leaders in Sacramento have pledged to prepare for the rush and daycare shortage by ear-marking $1.5 million in COVID-19 relief money.

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