I-Team: Daycare Crunch
A different kind of desert is emerging across the valley affecting families from nearly every background and experts warn if things don't change soon the problem will continue to get much worse.
Even before the pandemic, finding good child care was a challenge for many parents. but things got much tougher.. when many day care centers closed, leaving parents to juggle working from home with taking care of their kids.
Right now, more than half of all Americans live in areas with insufficient child care, according to the Center for American Progress. That includes here in the Coachella Valley, where I-Team investigator Peter Daut discovered many families are desperate.
"They can't find quality, affordable or even openings in child care right now," said Heidi McArthur, the owner of Jadabug's Kids Boutique in La Quinta.
From January 2020 to January 2021, child care home licenses in Riverside County dropped 7 percent and the number of total center licenses plummeted a whopping 37 percent.
"The demand is overwhelming," said Robert Craven, owner of the Palm Desert Learning Tree.
DSUSD reached out to News Channel 3 about its early childhood education program. Full day and part-day classes are available at multiple locations. Fees are based on family income, size and need.
Both PSUSD and CVUSD have similar programs. For more information on all three, check out the links below: