LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Finding quality and affordable childcare can feel like its own full-time job for working parents, but even finding anywhere able to take care of their kids can be a real struggle. For many parents, that’s a problem.

“I’m kind of just in limbo right now. I’m not sure what I’m going to do,” said Cassandra Morse.

Morse is a single parent of two children under the age of four. But as a full-time working mom, she says even affording childcare, let alone finding someone who is reliable, is an everyday worry.

“It’s so hard with scheduling to even know in advance when you are going to need to start the daycare. They want you to pay for times that you are not even going to have your kid in daycare just because that’s supposed to hold your spot.”

But childcare providers are feeling the pressure too. At places like Noah’s Ark Children’s center in Owosso, there’s a long line of strollers, backpacks and car seats dropped off every day. Mary Jo Pouillon, the center’s director, says they’re working around the clock and doing that with fewer employees than years past.

“Covid kind of took a lot of kids out of childcare for a while and now I think they are all surging back, and with not having enough staff, it makes it even harder, even if we had spots to fill, I wouldn’t be able to all the time because we don’t always have the staff to watch the kids.”

The reason? Pollian says fewer people returned to work, and wages are not keeping up.

“Teachers who have bachelor’s degrees are only getting paid, you know, 12 to 15 dollars and hour. Whereas I can get a bachelor’s degree in something else and go make more than twice that. I can’t compete with that, but at the same time I can’t keep raising our tuition because our parents already have a drain on their pocketbooks.”

Morse says for now she’s relying on family.

“I’m running out of that option here soon. So honestly, I’m not sure what I’m going to do.”