LONG BEACH, Calif. – Childcare is becoming scarce, but there are still some options available.
After School Reimagined is a city-sponsored fall day camp. It starts weekdays right after school is out at 3:00 p.m. and runs until 6:00 p.m.
There are multiple locations in Long Beach. Brothers Cory and Joel are enrolled at the Whaley Park location. The three hours they’re at camp are some of the only moments of rest for their mom Melissa Kreitzberg.
“It’s been a lifesaver really. These camps, that’s all we have right now,” said Kreitzberg.
The boys are in first and second grade. Their parents are both nurses. Mom works days and dad works nights so at least one parent can always be with them.
“Child care and schools are very expensive. I’m trying to find us any kind of in-person option and I looked at the charter schools and the private schools and nannies and helpers and we just can’t afford it,” said Kreitzberg.
This camp is $10 a week and there are scholarships for Long Beach residents.
However, child care in general is disappearing. The California Department of Social Services calculates almost one in four child-care providers have been forced to close, many for financial reasons. More than 1,000 of these are closing forever and experts estimate more will follow.
Since the camp needs to spread everyone out there are fewer slots for kids than the after school drop-in program they would normally be doing at this time.
Kreitzberg says she’s cut back work hours to watch her kids and all the screen time has amped up frustrations.
“My oldest child was top of the class last year and helping other students, a star student. This year his confidence is shot and feeling withdrawn and frustrated a lot and it’s been really hard to watch,” said Kreitzberg.
There are 21 camp locations and many have openings.
The last day of camp is December 18.