ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) – A one-of-a-kind child care center is set to open in St. George this December.
Switchpoint Community Resource Center, which offers emergency shelter and services for those experiencing homelessness and includes a food pantry, a thrift store, and a community garden, will now support low-income families who work nontraditional hours.
Switchpoint’s executive director Carol Hollowell believes the daycare, called Stepping Stones, will be the first in the state to focus on the hours from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
ABC4 News met with working families who say the daycare is “hugely needed” and childcare costs in Washington County are “far too expensive.”
A mother of three from Washington City, Shyann Brown said that even with state assistance, she still couldn’t make ends meet while enrolling her sons in local childcare.
“With two boys, I was paying 1100 dollars a month,” Brown said. “Yes, the state paid for quite a bit of that, but I still had those out-of-pocket costs.”
Hollowell said staff at Switchpoint are looking into inter-generational poverty, and aside from affordable housing, the biggest need in the Washington County area is childcare.
“One thing that we kept seeing as a kind of record player going over and over is children babysitting themselves because the parents felt like, ‘I’m going to lose my housing if I don’t take that job,'” said Hollowell. “For many of these families, if you have three kids, your childcare is costing more than you ever brought home.”
Hollowell said that with such expensive childcare, often one parent decides not to work at all and hopes the daycare will allow all parents to be contributing members of the community and feel valuable.
At first, Stepping Stones will have space for 75 children. The daycare will eventually be open for 24 hours, ideally within the first six months.
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