PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Nicole Withstandley knows all too well the struggle of being a working parent. The mom of two feels lucky she got her young boys into a day care. "God forbid we didn't have day care. It would take me a really long to find someone that I would be able to trust," said Withstandley.
At Premier Children's Center in Phoenix, spots are filling up fast but there is not enough staff to keep up with the demand. Right now, the center is turning some families away. "It is heartbreaking to have a parent standing in the office saying, 'I have nowhere else to go and I want them in a good place' and us having to say 'I am so sorry,'" said executive director Ronnie Armstrong.
Armstrong said they can't keep some staff or fill open positions. She said child care centers across the state are dealing with the same issues. Armstrong said day care teachers don't make enough money and many have left the industry during the pandemic.
"If we could compensate teachers for what they are worth, then they would want to come," said Armstrong. Meanwhile, help is on the way. The latest federal stimulus bill set aside billions for early childhood development. Advocates said Arizona got $248 million but the funds haven't been distributed yet.
"We are hoping that another round of grants will be able to be expediated quickly get funding back out into providers hands where they can use some of that for staff benefits," said Barbie Prinster, program director for the Arizona Early Childhood Education Association.