Newport addresses childcare shortage

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 10:39 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2023 at 10:42 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEWPORT, Ark. (KAIT) - One Jackson County town is addressing its childcare shortage.

Newport city leaders signed an agreement with The Early Years Place on Thursday, May 11, to give parents another daycare option.

Dejasia Gist is a parent who struggled to find a job because of the daycare shortage.

“There was always a waiting list, you know, and I kinda got discouraged with that because you never know how long can I wait. Then, when do I apply for a job?” she said. “I didn’t give up, but I accepted the fact that I just couldn’t find any childcare services.”

A friend offered to watch her child for her to get a job.

Jon Chadwell, director of economic development, said the city lost a daycare over six months ago, influencing the city’s commerce.

“A business, if their employees can’t find a place for their children to go while they work, then they’re going to have a hard time finding employees. If they can’t find employees, then they won’t choose Newport as a location,” he explained.

The new daycare will utilize the facility the Jackson County Senior Life Center is in. Chadwell said the place was ideal because there wasn’t much to modify.

“It was built as a kindergarten facility, and so it is built to the preschool, kindergarten standards that the daycare would require,” he said.

Chadwell said the Economic Development Center was also helping the senior life center find a place to move to before the daycare moves in.

The daycare will also provide a curriculum with a preschool focus for the children to prepare for kindergarten.

Gist, who raises her son on her own, says the news of a new daycare comes as a relief for her and other parents like her.

“I believe that there will be a lot more people climbing right out the system and be more independent and get jobs because a lot of us want to work, but we need help, can’t do it alone,” she said.

Chadwell said the daycare hopes to be operational in August.