ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — More childcare options will soon become available for families in San Diego County.
Tuesday, the county's Board of Supervisors accepted $1 million in federal funds secured by Congresswoman Sara Jacobs to expand childcare centers.
It comes as a new report by the University of San Diego reveals the pandemic has significantly impacted childcare services.
"We'll have over 80 people on a waitlist at any given time," Amanda Manger said.
Manger is the owner of Kids By The Sea Preschool in Encinitas.
She said childcare services have always been in short supply, but the need grew even greater after the pandemic.
"Pre-pandemic, I would have maybe five families that would want to increase their days. This year, 25 of our families wanted to increase their days," Manger said.
A recent study by USD found nearly 50% of working parents with children ages 0 to 5-years-old have no childcare option. 77% percent of parents said finding care is challenging.
Tessa Tinkler, the report's Director of Research, said the gap between childcare supply and demand also has to do with families no longer being able to afford it.
"We're talking about working parents, so I think that it's always shocking to see, and it's hard to see that it's gotten worse," Tinkler said.
The study shows childcare providers also endured a lot during the pandemic with closures, new and constantly changing health guidelines, and uncertainty in revenue.
"It was like we were supposed to stay open, but it was impossible to stay open," Manger said.
The county will work with the investment firm, Mission Driven Finance, to purchase real estate property for providers who qualify.
If chosen, Manger hopes to add a second location and hopefully get some families off the waitlist.
"There's so many families that need care, and it feels like such a disservice not to be able to meet the need of so many families," Manger said.