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Oklahoma Human Services announces grant to help in childcare deserts

Childcare desert
Posted at 3:37 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 18:39:33-04

TULSA, Okla. — There could be a possible solution to the problem of finding childcare in Oklahoma.

Thirty-four of the state's 77 counties are considered a childcare desert which means there aren't enough licensed childcare providers to meet the needs of working families. A new grant is providing funding and start-up capital for people to go into a childcare desert and open up a new childcare business.

Right now, there is a significant need for families in Green Country to have a safe and enriching environment for their children to attend. Oklahoma Department of Human Services says this is especially true for parents or caregivers who work or are trying to pursue their education.

"As we look at Tulsa, you might recognize that there are family care homes and family childcare centers as you turn every corner, but when you think about working parents and the number of children that they have, we need more space for those children to go too," says Brittany Lee, Director of Childcare Services for Oklahoma Human Services.

One daycare that made an impact in the Tulsa area is Aunt Jackie's Childcare Home. Jackie Evans has been a licensed childcare provider for 42 years.

"I fell in love with the children and saw a need in my community to help mothers and fathers become better parents," says Evans.

Jackie has a large home with 12 children ranging in age from three months up to four years old. Most of the children here come from single-parent homes and daycare can be costly.

"For a facility like mine, infants are $200 a week and for 2-4 it's basically $180," says Evans.

For people looking to start their own childcare business, the new childcare startup grant will be available to anyone looking to become a licensed childcare provider in identified desert counties. Tulsa is among the counties listed as a childcare desert.

Oklahoma Human Services says not only will this grant provide more jobs here in Oklahoma, but it will also allow parents and caregivers to go back to the workforce. Applications for the grant will be available until the budgeted funds are depleted, or until July 31 of next year.

Providers will be required to complete an application and submit a federal tax ID. Oklahoma Human Services says applicants may get a total of $10,000 per child served, based on licensed capacity.

If you would like to learn more about the Child Care Desert Startup Grant, you can check here.

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