Pandemic closed 115 Kansas child care providers

One-fifth of Kansas counties now lack child car slots for infants and toddlers, according to a new report.

By

State News

June 3, 2022 - 3:27 PM

A new survey of Kansas child-care facilities reveals financial and personnel challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic that advocates say is pushing the system to the brink. Photo by (Getty Images)

TOPEKA — Economic disruption in Kansas associated with COVID-19 contributed to demise of 115 family home child-care providers in the pandemic’s first year and left nearly one-fifth of the state’s counties without child care slots for infants or toddlers, a new report said.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families collaborated with Child Care Aware of Kansas to release a survey Thursday of the pandemic’s influence on the state’s licensed family and group homes, care centers, preschools and Head Start facilities.

The downward trend among child care providers in Kansas operating from residential homes was evident before the pandemic. The total of this type of provider in Kansas crashed from 2,915 in 2017 to 2,419 in 2019 — a drop of nearly 500. The number was compressed to 2,259 in 2020 during the first year of the pandemic. In 2021, the state lost 115 more of these in-home providers, settling at 2,144. The report doesn’t include a census for 2022.

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