ERIE, KS – Access to quality child care can be a struggle for many rural communities.
It’s something many families in Erie are dealing with.
The hope it that it won’t be that way for long.
“We drive almost 20 miles in the morning, and then we come back to work, and then we drive another 20 to get them, and another 20 miles back, so we put 80 miles a day on our truck.” Says Kelly Diller, Erie Community Childcare Center Director.
This is a common struggle for parents in rural communities like Erie.
With no child care center for miles, parents either have to make a long drive or find other options.
“My in laws watch them a day or two a week, my parents watch them a day a week, I take a day off of work a day a week, so that’s putting a huge strain on my business. I know of a lot of young families that are our age that are leaving the town and leaving the community because they’re taking kids to other towns.” Says Morgan Buntin, Erie Parent.
So when the community betterment group Energize Erie discussed ways to improve the city, child care development was at the top of the list.
Diller is helping make this dream a reality by creating the Erie Community Childcare Center.
“We’re going to start with 24 kids in this building hopefully and we are already talking about plan to expand and build a bigger facility.” Diller says.
However before doors open, the center still needs to raise $50,000 more in start up funds.
“Lots of changes from 25 years ago, lots more requirements, COVID put a strain on things. I have went before the county commissioners to see if they have some funds available to help out, I have went to the city council.” Diller says.
To help find a way to retain and develop the population in the community.
“The school district would benefit from this, the community would benefit from this. If we don’t have stuff like this to keep young families growing this community, there’s not going to be anything left.” Buntin says.