Finding Time: Survey looks to examine Door County’s childcare shortage

Local News

DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Door Community Child Development Center opened last year, after Sturgeon Bay’s previous daycare center closed.

“I myself have five kids. I knew immediately there was a need,” Bridgett Starr, President of the Board of the organization said of the decision to open the new center.

She and her sister, Alexis Fuller, the Executive Director of the childcare center knew that Door County’s situation was different.

“We live in a unique community where the workforce is kind of varied,” Fuller said, “and the needs of the workforces and parents specifically are varied, so this is something we’ve kind of always wanted to tackle.”

The center currently has a long waiting list of families hoping to find care for their children.

The closest childcare center to the Door Community Child Development Center in Sturgeon Bay is the Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay.

It’s about a 40-minute drive between the two centers, barring any traffic delays.

“It’s really difficult for parents that way, with the distance,” said Fuller.

It’s also difficult because a lot of families in Door County rely on jobs that aren’t your typical 9 to 5.

“It’s a tourism industry up here,” Starr said, “so the hours are a little bit different than the 9-5, so we have people that work 3-11, 3-10 and not finding help to watch their kids.”

The childcare center has teamed up with the United Way of Door County to get a better picture of what families need.

“We’re looking at this really as a workforce issue that we here in Door County need to focus on in order to get younger community members, young families here to fill all of the different jobs,” Amy Kohnle, Executive Director of the United Way of Door County said.

The survey looked to gauge what times, outside of normal business hours, people in the community need childcare.

As of Friday afternoon, about 90 people had filled out the childcare survey created by the two organizations.

They’re hoping to use the data to figure out how to best move forward.

“We do have a plan to possibly build a bigger center so we can try to incorporate all these new kids that possibly come from the survey of different care hours need so, trying to think big and think about the community and what they need and how to fulfill that need,” Starr said.

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