Kindred daycare makes difficult choice of cutting families due to staffing shortages

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 6:17 PM CST
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KINDRED, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Almost everyone’s had headaches of short staffing, from having to come in early or stay late, but for daycare’s it’s affecting whether they can legally operate.

Lil’ Buckaroo’s in Kindred, says they had to make the difficult choice of cutting 16 infants from their services, as they can look after more older kids than infants per staff member.

“Three years it’s one-on-seven. When they get to school-age, it’s one-on-fourteen,” said Tammy Erickson, owner of Lil’ Buckaroo’s. “The only place you can cut when you have a staff shortage is the infants center, because you’re affecting four families, not fifteen families.”

Erickson says if they hadn’t acted, their whole business could’ve been shut down for them and all the families.

“The ratios are about keeping children safe, so my staff has been told, ‘if you think there’s something I’m doing that’s not correct, you need to call our licensor.’ Our licensor would have come out and she would have closed Baby Buckaroo’s for sure, if not the whole business,” said Erickson.

They say, getting new help in the door has gone from little, to none.

“Hiring staff has never been so difficult,” said Erickson. “I’ve put ads out, I’ve done radio ads, I’ve put a sign out front. Usually, I get some response, not no response.”

“I have worked here just about 14 years and I’ve never seen it this short, where you can’t get anyone to come in and apply,” said Alli Brown, director of the Baby Buckaroos building at Lil’ Buckaroo’s.

They say breaking the news to the families was the worst experience they’ve had, and that they hope they understand.

“You don’t know how to help these families and you want to,” said Brown. “You see those kids every day, and now, you know you’re not going to get to.”

“They’ve supported me and it’s just a heartbreaking decision that I had to make,” added Erickson.

Multiple day care providers testified in Bismarck on January 26 for a bill that would provide millions to help daycares across the state to fight the worker shortage.

The bill would require $150 million each year to supplement wages for current childcare workers and incentivize new hires, without raising costs. If passed, it would become law in August.