BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — "I want to work but what if I don't have daycare, then what? What do I do then? I'm alone, I'm a single mom and I'm all alone here in Bakersfield. So, I don't have that support-just Carleigh’s Place. That's all I have," said Heidy Pinto who is a nurse and a single mom who works crazy hours.
23ABC called several local daycare centers in Bakersfield to see if they had more parents calling looking for childcare. All of them said they've seen a drastic increase in calls. Some even saying it breaks their hearts that they have to turn families away.
Carleigh’s Place is a daycare located in Downtown Bakersfield and it's owned by Stephan Cutty, who keeps his doors open all hours and days of the week.
"Three years ago I became a single dad raising a daughter by himself," said Cutty.
He's worked in the military and public service but after having a hard time finding childcare he quit his job and opened his own daycare. Which is named after his daughter, Carleigh. "She's just the joy of my life," says Cutty.
He adds that COVID-19 severely impacted childcare and numbers went down when the pandemic first hit. But since May of this year, his phone has been ringing with parents getting back to work especially with the state reopening.
Cutty says, "Now I'm getting calls everyday for child care and there's just very limited availability for children-especially infants."
Pinto said she called over 10 places looking for childcare for her son Michael who was just a newborn when the pandemic started. She said no place was able to take him. Especially with her starting work at 3 a.m.. She said childcare for her is, "It's everything. It means food it means shelter. It's everything..."
She also added that a lot of her coworkers are having trouble finding daycare too, especially one with flexibility. She believes it will be even harder with the state reopening. Which is also something Stephan understands. So, he always makes sure his door is open to keep working families working.
"They don't have to worry and that's just the way I structured my facility. So, that working parents can have peace of mind that they need and not worry about their children," said Cutty.
If you are a parent looking for childcare, you want to make sure the daycare is registered with the Department of Social Services. Check out this link so you can look for the childcare license.