Day care enrollment declining - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Day care enrollment declining

Lindy Franca Lindy Franca

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - As our economy slumps, young families with stretched budgets are pulling their children away from day cares.

Enrollment at in-home Honolulu day cares is depleting, and that means trouble as they struggle to survive.

Gas, food, electricity, the bills add up across the board and the financial strains not only affect families, but also the future of local care providers.

Families are dealing with layoffs, cutbacks on hours at work and higher costs. That's why sending kids to day care is becoming a difficult financial decision.

Toddlers at Lindy's Day Care know their mechanics. But business has hit the brakes. Thanks to a sour economy, life for child care providers isn't so sweet. Lindy Franca used to get about ten calls a day, but now,

"Sometimes I'll go a whole week and I'll be lucky to get one," said Owner Lindy Franca.

Franca says fewer families can afford day care. She's lowered her fees to $575 a month, that's about half the average nationwide. These are the toughest times in her 27 year career.

"Constant calls, people begging you, you're full you can't take children, you're at your max. Nowadays, there's hardly any calls," said Franca.

Business for Lindy's Day Care has dropped about 50% in the last year. And the country's stumbling economy only paints a bigger problem for child care providers.

"It's really spooky because you don't know where your future is going to be," said Franca.

With average child care costs higher than some rent and mortgage payments, parents scale back on their services, or send kids to family to be cared for. Self-employed and living month to month, Lindy stays positive despite financial problems.

"It's the love of the children everyday is fun, everyday is something new," said Franca.

Parents and providers sound the alarm hoping the economic down turns up.

A number of other local day cares also admitted they were struggling. But, others say business is steady and credit a loyal clientele for their continued success.

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