Long Waiting Lists for Infant Care

Thirteen months old, now... and little Sidney has day care. But for her mom Leslie Davis, a great job offer earlier this summer meant a hard choice.

"I had to get a friend to watch them for the first three weeks that I worked," she says.  Those were the three weeks until Sidney could move out of infant care.  It's something that, in a hurry, is nowhere to be found.

"The waiting lists were anywhere from 18 months to three years," Leslie says.  "The older one's there's never a problem, for those 12 months and younger, you find very few people who have spots open."

"We turn away people every day who are needing spots." says Martha Hagan of Marvin United Methodist's care center.  It has one of very few infant care centers in Tyler. All are part of church ministries.

"We have a waiting list until May of 2003." Marvin has an absolute maximum of 18 enrolled at one time. Going for quality they usually take far fewer. They get 20 to 30 phone calls a day.

"A lot of people are wanting care right then, so we don't have it so we turn it away, and they'll probably have a hard time finding care in Tyler." The reasons: the pay is not great for workers... and for-profit centers just don't get in the baby business.

"They're interested in making money and in an infant care program, you're not going to make money," Hagan says. "As soon as they know they're going to have a child they need to be calling to find a spot."

Get on a list at several daycares... just in case.

Leslie Davis says, if not: "You have a twelve month old the waiting list is three years long, so she can go to Pre-K by then."