SPOKANE, Wash. — Dozens of child care facilities have shut down in Spokane County due to the coronavirus outbreak. Now, as more people start to return to work, some families are left wondering what they’ll do for child care.
The closures add to an already overloaded system, as child care centers in Spokane County did not meet the full need for care before COVID-19 hit Washington state.
According to Childcare Aware Washington, a statewide childcare nonprofit, 94 centers in Spokane County have closed and 78 remain open.
A state document obtained by KREM 2 shows at least 63 specific child care facilities out of 166 in the county are closed. With closures happening more frequently during the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus shutdown, this list may be updated again soon.
"Our wait list at any given time is between 40 and 100 children, especially when you're counting school ages," said Luc Jasmin, the owner of Parkview Early Learning Center in North Spokane and the president of the Washington Childcare Centers Association.
Jasmin said the financial situation is dire and even though his center is currently open, he doesn’t know how long that will last.
"I don't know how much longer we can realistically go. Even the places that are still open right now—without any type of assistance, this could get a lot worse," he said.
Jasmin says capacity limitations, lack of financial support and now low enrollment rates are all factors in many program closures.
According to Childcare Aware Washington, some of the providers will never reopen. The organization launched a campaign working to help them survive this pandemic and prepare them for reopening when parents go back to work.
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