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Indiana mom weighing her options as she struggles to afford child care

Child Care Aware estimates 9% of US-licensed child care programs have permanently closed since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

CLARK COUNTY, Ind. — Like other industries, the child care market has been rocked by the pandemic.

However, Clark County needs better child care, according to a new report. The report shows that the county has inadequate access to high-quality early learning in Indiana.

Mom Cecily King said she wants better and more affordable childcare options in Clark County.

“I have a decent job - at least, I think I do - and I still can’t afford it,” she said.

She said it’s something she thinks about often. She has a 5-year-old daughter and works from home full time. She said putting her daughter in daycare isn't an option because of the cost.

King has even thought about quitting her job to care for her daughter, but she said her finances would take too much of a hit - and she's not the only parent voicing concerns.

RELATED: Worsened by pandemic, child care crisis hampers economy

A report by Early Learning Indiana shows these are issues for Hoosiers across the state. The report says, "access [to childcare] is not uniform statewide or even countywide, and varies greatly from community to community."

Cost isn't the only reason that Indiana parents are struggling to find care for their kids. Corby Walcott from Clark County said she doesn't put her children in daycare because she doesn't think any of them are good enough. Others like Sarah Yates, have been on waiting lists at several facilities for months.

Maureen Weber, the president and CEO of Early Learning Indiana, said the lack of access to childcare is not a new phenomenon. Weber said she is hoping this report will show Clark County and every other county in Indiana where they can improve. 

"There is room for growth in the sheer number of seats, but there is also quite a lot of room for growth in terms of [the] quality of seats that are available,” Weber said. 

The Early Learning Indiana report gave Clark County a 50.6 rating because of its inadequate access to childcare. You can see the full report, including scores organized by county, online.

Child Care Aware estimates nine percent of licensed child care programs have permanently closed since the pandemic started.

Contact reporter Elle Smith at esmith@whas11.com or follow her on Twitter (@ellesmithtv).

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