Child care centers overwhelmed by coronavirus demands

SPOKANE CO., Wash. — Taking care of children, especially now that they are learning home, can feel like a lot. Imagine what it’s like for child care centers—some having to take on extra kids, and others trying to figure out if it’s best not to do that for everyone’s safety.

“It’s been a hard struggle. For about a week now, we’ve been debating, running all the scenarios through our head,” said Megan Benedict, the owner of Into the Forest Learning Center.

Benedict has been thinking about scenarios of what to do with her child care center as the spread of the coronavirus gets worse.

“That’s our biggest concern, that the families that we have here, their safety, my staff safety. I mean, it’s a hard balance trying to decide if we’re going to take on kiddos for more first responders or if we’re going to completely close the doors due to lack of income,” Benedict said.

She’s seen families stop bringing their children in, but she’s also received more calls to see if she can take in even more kids.

It’s not as easy as just saying ‘yes’ and taking them in for the safety of staff and other kids.

Child care providers are putting themselves at risk, too, because kids are kids and it can be tough for them to understand boundaries.

“They don’t know what social distancing is, they don’t know what your bubble is,” Benedict said.

During these tough times kids need comfort, too.

“You’re trying to help them through because everything right now is crazy for them, they don’t understand what’s going on,” she said.

To keep the child care center going, it also needs to be cleaned often. Those with kids know that’s not always easy to keep things clean and tidy.

It’s even more difficult when child care centers can’t find cleaning supplies either.

“We started trying to find cleaning supplies and know where they’re at and gather some. At that point it was already almost too late because of the craziness of everyone trying to hoard everything,” Benedict said.

One way to help out child care centers is by donating cleaning supplies, or in the case of the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, they’re in need of volunteers and monetary donations. The crisis nursery is also in need of diapers and formula to pass on to other families in need.

Since the spread of the coronavirus, Amy Vega, the executive director for Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery said they’ve increased their number of openings, taking up to 40 children now.

“We actually have seen a huge increase in new families that we haven’t seen before because their resources just aren’t there,” Vega said.

The crisis nursery will take in kids in a short notice, if needed.

“If there’s a family that has to work or child care has fallen apart, they can call us in advanced and we can make an appointment for them or if they just find themselves overwhelmed and stressed out in the moment, we just want them to call us,” Vega said.

RELATED: Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in need of supplies

The goal of the child care center is for families to avoid neglect and abuse, so if things are getting too much at home for parents, Vega said the crisis nursery can help.

To learn more how to get help or how you can help the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, head over to their website here.

To see what Into the Forest’s needs are, visit their Facebook page here.

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