Parents Search for Childcare During Severe Weather

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Parents in Kanawha County are being forced to choose between taking off work or finding childcare when schools are closed.

When the clock hits five and the work day is done, the hallways of Kanawha County's Learning Center day care are packed with parents.

On an average day, two of Jacob Bowman's three children receive care at the Center, but Monday's early dismissal at Kanwaha County Schools meant plan "B" for Bowman.

"I had to get somebody to fill in for me and drive from Dunbar back to Clendinin to pick him up, then back to work then back here to get the baby," said Bowman.

Between the winter weather and water problems, Bowman is not alone. Hundreds of families across our region have been forced to juggle changing schedules and childcare.

"You have to either be late or call off it takes all your sick time or vacation time," Bowman said.

His wife also works there at the daycare, which means when the roads are bad and the learning center is forced to close its doors, she's not getting paid.

Emily White owns the daycare and says when they are open, the delays mean lots of overtime.

"This winter has been crazy, especially January. I think we've been closed six times just this month," White said. "Our rush of the children is usually during the two-hour delay because the parents have to go to work early, so we'll get a big rush of children between 7:30 and 8:30."

And it's been more than just wild winter weather; the water contamination put everyone in a bind.

"Its been hard. I know we gave our parents a discount for the water when we were off all those days trying to help in some way even though we needed it for our bills," White said.

Daycare officials say they've had to start announcing whether or not their doors will be open the days before severe weather, so that parents can begin to make their own plans.

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