Nighttime Nannies: The growing need for evening child care in Ro - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Nighttime Nannies: The growing need for evening child care in Rochester

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Anab Farah Anab Farah
Helen Onanuga Helen Onanuga
Brad Jones Brad Jones
Mulki Abdi Mulki Abdi
ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -

It's a problem facing communities across the country: a shortage of child care.

A study released in April by Families First of Minnesota and United Way of Olmsted County found that the county is short on child care providers, and that many facilities are maxed out. 

But here in the Rochester area, there's a certain kind of child care that more and more parents are trying to find: child care in the evening. 

And city leaders say it's all because of another industry in Rochester that's starting to boom.

Like a lot of mothers, Anab Farah is a busy woman. 

She's a full time student, and works in the evenings providing home care. 

So she takes her six-year-old son, Musadaq, to Quality Kids Care Center in Rochester, where it's open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

"It's hard to find a daycare where they could sleep, but I found it here," she said. 

The facility's director, Helen Onanuga, says she's seeing more parents like Farah, who need someone to watch their child past dinnertime. 

"There are plenty of especially single parents that maybe have two jobs or have a late shift and have to take advantage of that 10pm pick up time," she said. 

It's enough of a problem that the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau has gotten involved. 

"We started a couple years ago to do annual check-ins with both the employers and the employees, and it came to our attention that one of the top challenges with employees and we just hadn't ever talked about daycare needs, and it came up very high, within the first two needs of some workers were non typical daycare," said Brad Jones, Executive Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

And a lot of that has to do with another growing industry in Rochester: hospitality. 

The CVB says the number of hospitality workers in Rochester has increased, from about 9,000 workers in 2005 to about 14,000 in 2017--many of them working non-traditional hours at places like hotels and restaurants. 

Some parents are just having to make do and make risky choices. 

"A lot of them actually leave them with either younger kids that probably aren't the age where you would want to leave them, not in a safe environment so they were always worrying about them and having to check in with them," said Jones. "A lot of them would leave them with friends that don't have family in the area so they were burdening other families and things like that."

In some ways, evening child care requires a different set of skills. 

"The children might be more tired and need more patience and down time," said Onanuga. 

"They've had a whole day where they've been learning, learning, learning, so once we do our homework help we try to incorporate more fun like having obstacle courses or puzzles," said Mulki Abdi, a teacher at Quality Kids Care Center. 

It has left city leaders still looking for a solution to the shortage. 

"We're looking at other models right now in our industries and creative approaches they have," said Jones. "So I think we'll do some further investigation and right now we're kind of in the learning stage. What the need is, what other cities are doing to help with this issue."

For now, Quality Kids Care Center will keep offering those late hours. 

"They tell us all the time thank you for offering what we can't find elsewhere, thank you for supporting our families, we feel really cared about," said Onanuga. 

Farah says she's lucky to have found a solution for her family. 

"That's what matters to moms, if the child is okay and happy," Farah said. "That's what matters to me--the happiness of the child. "
If you're looking for child care, there's a website that searches for licensed providers in Minnesota: www.parentaware.org

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