Child care can drain a family’s budget. Also, a lot of parents have a hard time finding a place to take care of their kids.
A local child-care center owner is determined to help put a dent in the daycare shortage in the Midwest.
Local 4 News spoke with Angie Otis, a Quad-City mother of two, who says that she struggled for close to four months to find a child-care center for her kids.
“I want to say I called around seven day cares – seven or eight day cares – before I found one that had an opening,” Otis said.
The fourth month, she found the APK Academy in Silvis, where she was able to enroll her oldest child and reserve a spot for her baby on the way.
“A lot of them had openings, but they were months down the line. I don’t know what I would have done if APK had not had an opening,” Otis said.
Local 4 News also spoke with APK Academy founder and owner Erin Hartwell, who wanted to help with the child care shortage.
“Parents are going back to work and they need somewhere for their children to go. Grandparents are going back to work so they can’t take care of their grandkids anymore. Everyone is going back to work. They need the care, and we’re hear to provide it for them,” Hartwell said.
Hartwell has been in the daycare business for 20 years. Despite the staffing shortage, she has recently found ways to keep her business going.
“So what we’ve found out and what we’re now doing is hiring more employees and giving them less hours so that they can go home and spend time with their children, have a break time from the active child-care facilities and everything that they do,” Hartwell said.
There also was not a cook onsite, so Hartwell partnered with a local catering company who delivers food to the children.
“From the time I walk in that front door, you know, they’re just, ‘Hi Mr. Gary, hi Mr. Gary,’ and I just love seeing the kids. I love kids,” said caterer Gary Bull. “I really love the atmosphere – wouldn’t give it up for anything else.”
And Hartwell says there are more locations on the way.
“If we continue to open up child-care centers and taking over centers that were not able to make it, we are able to love on the kids, people go back to work, everything’s amazing again just like it was before.”
APK Academy’s newest location opened for business in Davenport in September of this year, with another coming soon to the Rock Island area.
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