Rural child care providers seek sustainablity: more training, higher pay needed to keep caregivers w
"For 37 years Anita Fettig has been the go-to for child care in Napoleon. From dawn until after dark each day she bounces between the care centers and the consignment shop she owns, which sits as an anchor in between the few city blocks where they are located.
Fettig runs four day care facilities which serve around 90 children, accounting for full-time, drop-in and after-school care. Managing that many children in four separate facilities near her home at all hours of the day, calls for extreme flexibility.
“That’s why I love it because I can live and work like that, but not everyone can,” she said. “We have a very unique and wonderful situation, like one big family, and it could all be gone tomorrow. We all know that too.”
Like in most child care providers in North Dakota, Fettig faces challenges recruiting, retaining and paying employees a competitive wage. Without the day care, there would be many sad families in this small community of about 800 people, Fettig said, seated in a back room of her shop.
“There may be a need for more day care in the future in this community,” Fettig said, pointing out that the community has recently been growing again. “There is only ours and one other committed gal that will probably be retiring soon.”
It is a similar tale across many rural parts of the state, where most counties rely on a mix of small licensed home care catering to a handful of children, group care in a home or facility, or if they’re lucky, a larger child care center. Profits are minimal at best.”
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By Michael Standaert, North Dakota News Cooperative.