BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- A survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children reported 80 percent of their respondents said their daycare center has a staffing shortage.
At The Learning Center in Baton Rouge, the demand for childcare is at an all-time high with a long waiting list.
Owner Lynn Carmouche said people were earning more on unemployment. Now that the federal boost has ended, she can’t meet those standards because she’s still recovering from the pandemic.
“The team I have here, they been dedicated, they work hard, they work overtime hours to satisfy the demand but I need more help here to satisfy more parents,” Carmouche said.
In July, the federal government began issuing monthly child tax credit payments. Baton Rouge Chamber representative Andrew Fitzgerald said these payments significantly helped parents return to work and that helps the economy.
“In August, the number went five percent down in unemployment. We’re about between 3.5 and 3.8 percent, which is very very low, to a spot where we are more back to [a] normal unemployment rate that you would see pre-pandemic times,” he said.
The Learning Center has a higher demand than before the pandemic.
“More and more people needing quality daycare, especially when some daycare centers closed and never reopened,” said Carmouche.
Carmouche said childcare centers like hers are crucial in early childhood development. She said if she does not have enough teachers, that’s putting children in the Capital Area behind.
Carmouche needs to hire more teachers because of an influx of Hurricane Ida evacuees. She hopes the local government will allow her to expand the student-to-teacher ratio to be able to enroll more children.
“The need for qualified educators is difficult. Anybody can come in here and get a job, I don’t want anyone who wants a job. I want someone who wants to be with kids,” she said.