child care | KCUR

child care

Courtsey Shantelle Tomlin

Child care providers in the metro have been allowed to stay open in order to watch the kids of essential workers who still need to do their jobs.

But advocates worry the child care workers themselves, many of whom are low paid and don’t have health insurance, are working through the COVID-19 crisis without a safety net.

“It’s not a question of if somebody gets sick taking care of other people’s children, it’s a question of when,” said Melissa Rooker, executive director of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet. 

WICHITA, Kansas — Day cares, at a premium in Kansas in non-pandemic times, are essential businesses that can stay open while the state is under a stay-at-home order. Overall, they’re seeing a drop in the number of kids who show up, but want to be there for health care workers.

“The nurses. The doctors. Everybody on the frontlines,” Phillipsburg Child Care Center program director Brooke Feik said. “They need somewhere to take their kiddos.”

Lynn Horsley / KCUR 89.3

YMCAs in the Kansas City metro area are closed to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. But some of those facilities are now providing childcare services throughout the day to school-aged children of workers who are considered essential.

Greater Kansas City YMCA Executive Director John Mikos said the agency has provided before-and-after-school enrichment programs for a long time. So when a stay-home order was imposed and schools were closed through April 24, he realized the Y could help fill that void.

Lynn Horsley / KCUR 89.3

With all Kansas public schools ordered closed to slow the Coronavirus pandemic, some people are questioning why child care centers remain open.

One teacher at a private Johnson County preschool told KCUR that she thought keeping preschools and child care centers open didn’t make sense. She said other teachers also worried about whether those environments are healthy.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Earlier this year Kansas City voters rejected a plan to improve pre-K access and quality with public dollars, but that hasn't stopped a child care center at 59th Street and Swope Parkway from trying to get better on its own.

The Upper Room, an education equity non-profit, has run a licensed child care center for about 15 years but only recently began to pursue state accreditation as an early learning center.

Courtesy Victoria Hammond

States can get a substantial return on investment if they help single mothers in college access child care, support services and financial aid, according to a new study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

But even though about 10% of all undergraduates in Kansas and Missouri are single mothers, neither state makes significant investments in helping them persist to graduation. 

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

Go here to subscribe to the My Fellow Kansans. This season, we look at the prospects of rural places.

PHILLIPSBURG, Kansas — The opening of a child care center attracts little notice in a city or suburb.

In rural Kansas, it’s cause for celebration.

The focus on young families, and the hope that represents, is remarkably rare in small towns fighting for survival against forces largely beyond their control.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

After his son was born last February, Marcus Washington and his partner lost custody pretty quickly. The mother struggled with substance abuse. Washington said he tried to help her through it so they could get their son back, but she didn't want to get better. 

"We had to separate. My kid came first," he said. 

Seven months later, Washington won full custody of Marcus Washington Jr. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

When Viyolla Matok came out of her C-section at Research Hospital back in January, she heard something no new parent wants to hear. 

"They told me I couldn't take her home," Matok said.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

It’s a family thing

An order issued by Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer now offers paid parental leave to about 17,000 state workers to cover their time off with a newborn or newly adopted child.

Colyer, a lame duck Republican, said in a statement issued on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday that he made the change to recognize the importance of children and families in the state.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: New Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly is making the transition with the help of Gov. Jeff Colyer and others.

Free-Range Kids

Sep 25, 2018

Is the world today more dangerous for children? Or are parents being overprotective? On this episode, we dive into a conversation about parenting and free-range kids.

Guest:

file photo / Kansas News Service

Do you need a babysitter to watch your kids while you campaign for public office? That’s now considered a valid campaign expense in Kansas.

The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission said in an 8-1 vote Wednesday that campaign funds, such as donations, may be used to pay for child care. However, that child care must be directly related to campaigning or serving in office.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

When one local woman found out she was pregnant, her doctor said, "Are you going to call your husband, or are you going to start calling child care centers?" It's a funny story we heard from a local daycare worker, but it's a prevalent issue. Local parents share their struggles.

Plus, NPR's Jessica Deahl shares the personal story that informed her reporting on working parents and child care.

Guests:

The Missouri Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday on whether the state can determine that a mother is unfit because a court has previously terminated her right to parent other children.

The case involves a Kansas City-area mother who lost the rights to her older children — a ruling that became evidence in a hearing over infant twin girls. Her attorneys say the law that allows that to happen violates her constitutional rights to be a parent.

tylerhoff / Flickr - CC

How do you know if your child's day care facility is licensed, and why should you care if it is or not? Today we discuss child care regulation, and why it's so hard to find a trustworthy place that's affordable. Then, sit in the passenger seat as we talk with a "bedbugging" trucker who's got a tale or two to tell about Life on the Road. From a blindfolded trip to a warrior burial ceremony, to what piece of furniture says the most about you in a move — you'll want to hear this.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Trauma experienced at home or elsewhere can negatively affect a child's learning in the classroom. Today, we learn how and why Kansas City Public Schools has introduced trauma-sensitive care to help kids cope. Then, meet the two nuns who broke the mold to establish one of the largest child care and social services organizations in Missouri, Operation Breakthrough

Andrew Turner / Flickr - CC

Parents want to know their kids are on track when it comes to hitting key developmental milestones. At what age should your child be able to perform certain tasks — feeding themselves, walking, or talking, for instance — and when is it time to worry? We talk with pediatric experts about gauging your little one's progress, and how to keep an eye out for potentially critical delays.

Until recently, living in your parents' basement might have been viewed with some derision. Now, more families have been stacking two, three, even four generations under one roof. On this encore episode of Central Standard, we take a close look at the growth of multi-generational living in Kansas City. 

Guests:

Nic McPhee / Flickr - CC

For parents who have a picky eater in the house, mealtime can feel like a battle. Today, we get tips from health professionals — and from listeners with front-line experience — for encouraging good routines in the kitchen and at the table. We'll also explore ways to get your kids interested and involved in preparing the food they eat.

If the baby isn't sleeping, it's likely you aren't either. Today, we learn how your own habits can affect your child's nighttime routine. Then, how symptoms and treatment of headaches can differ between kids and adults. 

When children get headaches, it can be difficult for them  to understand or express what's bothering them. It can be equally challenging as a parent to decide on the appropriate action to take.

Guests:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

About a dozen people gathered at the Johnson County Public Library on Saturday to learn how to start a child care businesses.

Several area organizations led people through the process of starting a business, obtaining proper licenses and getting certified to care for young children. 

It's part of an effort to support low-income families in Johnson County, says Chris Schneweis, a senior management analyst with the Johnson County manager’s office. 

He says a work group at the county Board of Commissioners identified a need for more at-home child care providers. 

Andrea Tudhope / / KCUR 89.3

Last November, for the first time, Kansas City child care workers spoke out about their low wages, as they officially joined fast food and other low wage workers in the Fight for 15, a movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The Mayor’s Office wants more Kansas City businesses to adopt family-friendly policies as a workplace retention strategy.

In a joint news conference with the Women’s Foundation Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James announced the “When Work Works” initiative, which encourages companies to make their business a place people want to work.

James says he’s seeing already seeing innovative policies around parental leave from Kansas City companies.

“When you’re concerned about whether you can afford to be on that leave, it just stresses everybody out,” James says.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Paying for care is expensive — whether it's child-care, in-home nursing or help for an aging relative. And according to the Economic Policy Institute, home health care and child-care workers are among the lowest-paid professionals in the United States.

What is the cost of care, both financially and emotionally? We take a close look at the delicate dance between families and professional care providers.

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City-area childcare workers joined the minimum wage fight Tuesday with a rally and protest at a childcare center on Troost Avenue.

The workers used the event at UBUNTU to publicly join the "Fight for 15," a national movement raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

A national expert on the federal government’s plan for reforming its support for child care says Kansas has a lot to be concerned about.

“When you look at Kansas, you see that you’ve lost lots of children who were receiving child care assistance and that you’re paying very low rates to child care providers who serve families getting assistance,” said Helen Blank, director of child care and early learning at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. “You don’t want that, and you don’t want that to be cut any further.”

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

People involved in Kansas child care will meet Monday to discuss a plan for moving the state in line with new federal regulations — without the state agency that will have to implement the plan.

Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of a Topeka-based nonprofit called Kansas Action for Children, said her organization is hosting the event at the request of child care workers, associations and continuing education specialists.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

There are roughly 2,300 child care providers in Missouri that don't have to follow any kind of health and safety regulations – a huge problem for parents trying to find suitable day care for their children.

"There are some folks out there who, either through negligence or circumstance, should not be in the business of providing child care," says Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, "and there's very little to stop them from setting up a sign,  throwing a swing set out back and calling themselves a childcare provider."

Pages