SAN DIEGO – Finding an open day care spot can feel like a game of musical chairs. Local parents say those chairs are quickly disappearing.
“Their day care closed down — totally disappeared,” said Kristy Garver, a San Diego mother of three who stopped by Balboa Park Friday to let her kids play on the swings.
“We kept them home for the whole year and it’s been an adventure.”
The day care facilities that survived the pandemic now are feeling the rush of parents hoping to lock up last-second spots as California pushes for a June 15 reopening date.
“It’s crazy,” Garver said. “It’s like trying to get tickets for a concert. I have him already enrolled. There’s nothing for her. So, for me, I’m going to have three kids in three different places, but I don’t even know where to start to look for her.”
That’s where a local tech company called Tootris comes in.
“Parents no longer have to go down the list of 18 providers they have to call and leave messages for callbacks,” company founder and San Diegan Alessandra Lezama said. “They can do it online.”
Lezama, a single mother, said she knows full well the struggle of finding a day care provider and the amount of time spent on the phone to check various options. Her company tracks openings at more than 3,200 local day care sites and some 32,000 in California with up-to-the-minute results.
The company also has started partnering with businesses to offer child care as part of employee benefits, similar to how some provide health care.
“Due to COVID, child care has percolated to the top of minds for business executives,” she said, “and they are recognizing childcare isn’t a family issue. It’s a business issue. So, more and more businesses are looking to offer support.”
For more information or to search for local day care providers, visit tootris.com.