BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — The struggle to find affordable child care, made worse by the pandemic, is now becoming a more serious problem in rural areas.
Tonya Becker runs Beckers Wonderkids. It's now the only licensed home daycare in the small town of Seven Mile.
"It is very, very busy at times,” said Becker.
The pandemic forced nearby child care centers to shut down, leaving her with more kids and trying to find more workers.
“For whatever reason, it seems like they get started and they’re gung-ho and then they get burnt out because they don’t realize there’s a lot to do,” said Becker.
While she says she might be scraping by with just her and one other worker to provide care, a new nationwide study from the Save the Children Action Network shows the cost of child care is a serious problem in rural areas. It shows 55% of rural residents surveyed said access to affordable child care has gotten worse since the pandemic.
It's the reason Becker said she’s not making any drastic price changes.
“I charge $4 an hour, and if there are multiples, I do my best to try and give a bit of a break because I know it’s hard when you’ve got two and three other children,” said Becker.
Since there are little to no other child care options in town, instead she said she’s trying to make room for as many little ones as she can.
“They’re my babies and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have them here. This is my niche, and this is what I love,” said Becker.
Find state-licensed child care providers by clicking here.