HENDERSON — A reported shortage of child care workers in the nation and North Carolina does not seem to have filtered down to the Tri-County area.

Adonica Hamption, director of the Granville County Department of Social Services, said no child care centers in the county are closing. “We are experiencing some turnover [of staff], but it’s similar to what businesses are experiencing,” she said.

Warren County DSS Director Emma Perry said there is no shortage of child care providers in the county, adding, “We do not have a waiting list.”

“We haven’t had any [childcare providers] close due to COVID,” Vance County DSS Director Denita DeVega said. “Two closed for reasons unrelated to COVID.”

Some child care providers closed temporarily because of the pandemic but have reopened, DeVega said. She noted that there was increased demand for school-age child care because of COVID-triggered school closings.

National news media have carried reports of a shortage of child care workers. CNBC reported that a survey of child care centers and homes across the country found worker shortages “in nearly every state.”

According to a Brookings Institution report, “The nation’s child care infrastructure is in a fragile state, after recovering 90% of its workforce relative to February 2020. Roughly 108,000 workers are still missing from this sector, where women dominate the workforce and wages skew toward the lower end of the distribution.

“A Columbia University study tracking child care center closures estimated that Black, Latino or Hispanic, and Asian American families were disproportionately exposed to child care facility closures, and that a considerable number of these closures may be permanent,” the Brookings report said.

Closer to home, Education NC, an independent source of news about education in North Carolina, reported that in a September 2021 survey, a third of child care providers responding said they have had to close classrooms because of staffing shortages.

“Most respondents said they were finding it harder to recruit and retain teachers than before the pandemic, and had lost teachers (2.5 on average) and students (seven on average) since March 2020,” the article reported.

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