By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- It's hard enough to find housing in the Basin right now. Imagine also having the stress of not being able to find daycare for your kids. Countless families are dealing with this problem as daycare wait lists continue to grow. The oil industry is bringing in more money and more people. Those people come with kids.
Midlander Joe Faulkner has struggled getting four grandkids into daycare.
"It's tough right now. It's tougher than it was years ago," he tells us. His nephew's child also had it rough. "He was on seven different waiting lists at seven different daycare's," Faulkner said.
He eventually shelled out a lot more money for a babysitter.
"It's very overwhelming and I've never seen it like this before," Number One Wee Care Daycare Director, Helen Price, said.
Price has to turn parents away all the time.
She adds, "All the daycare's are full and [parents] are on lists there and they're on different lists for apartments or housing."
At one point in time, Wee Care had a wait list of almost 200 families, eventually forcing them to do away altogether with the wait list. They wanted to spend less time working on that and more time with the kids. Some Basin daycare's even have wait lists of up to two years.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services oversees daycare's. They tell NewsWest 9 that a lack of childcare has always been a problem in the Basin but now it's getting worse. There are not enough registered or licensed providers, potentially setting up desperate parents to use facilities that may not be safe. The state warns people to be proactive and double-check their child's daycare licensing on their website.
Texas DFPS Media Specialist, Marleigh Meisner, says, "If you do not find the facility you're inquiring about on that site than that's your first red flag that the facility you're looking at is actually an illegal operation."
Meisner adds that most of the time they discover an illegal daycare only after something unfortunate has happened there.
For a list of licensed and registered daycare's, visit: www.dfps.state.tx.us.