Experts say lack of quality childcare causing 'childcare desert' in Amarillo

Experts say lack of quality childcare causing 'childcare desert' in Amarillo

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A news conference was held today to raise awareness about the lack of quality, affordable daycare in Amarillo.

A recent survey showed approximately 3,200 children in Potter and Randall County don't have access to daycare.

Any location where there are more children than there are daycares is what the speakers called a "childcare desert."

These "childcare deserts" are usually in low income areas where affordable daycare is not accessible.

Speakers at the conference say this is an issue that threatens the future of Amarillo.

"It's not just about childcare, it's about early education and how do we make sure our children are ready to learn," said the Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs Mandi Kimball.

Another speaker spoke about the importance of quality daycare, which she said is equally as important as accessibility because it can affect a child's learning in the future.

"80 percent of our brains are wired by the time we are three-years-old," said Director of the Opportunity School Jill Goodrich. "Those things really create the foundation for learning that create the building blocks for learning, so when they get to AISD, when they get to those public school classrooms, they can be successful."

Speakers also said quality daycare is also key for a successful Amarillo workforce.

"It's important for our community to have quality childcare so people can be employed, they can give back to the community, and businesses continue to grow," said Vice President of Business Development and Governmental Affairs Jason Harrison.

Goodrich urges lawmakers and citizens to take action for the future of Amarillo.

"We invest now for a bigger payoff later and that's what we do when we invest in a better way for young children in our community, and we've got to do that," said Goodrich.

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