Licensed child care availability is up 21 percent in Juneau compared with last year, according to a local organization.Listen nowIssy Kako-Gehring holds her two-year-old daughter, Ally. Kako-Gehring runs the Gehring Nursery School in Juneau. (Photo by Lakeidra Chavis, KTOO – Juneau)Child care providers and its supporters say that’s good news for a market that historically has struggled to meet demand.Joy Lyon is the executive director the Association for the Education of Young Children, a Juneau-based organization that researches and provides services for child care in Southeast Alaska.“We’re really excited that now we 21 percent more child care spaces than we did last year, at this time, so there’s an increase of 80-some spaces that is the result of three different initiatives.”One of the big initiatives relaxed city zoning rules that apply to child care centers, which theJuneau Assembly passed late last year.One change let at-home child and day care providers have up to 12 children, instead of eight, without needing a permit from the city.“The zoning laws have led to four new group homes, so they’re able to provide support for more children,” Lyon said. “That’s the model we hope to encourage for the other 30 family child care providers, and then two new centers have started since last year, which has led to the increase. One of the centers would not have been able to start without that change to the zoning laws.”That center is the Gehring Nursey School.On a recent morning there, about a dozen babies and children are running around, eating snacks and preparing to paint. Some are crowding in a circle to listen for an impromptu story time.Gehring Nursery School worker Allison Cadiente-Laiti-Blattner reads to a group of children. (Photo by Lakeidra Chavis, KTOO – Juneau)The five women that work at the day care also have their own children here. One teacher said watching her children grow up while working is a bonus.Amy Myers is an administrator at the daycare. After getting pregnant two years, she said one of her first thoughts was: What about child care?“I heard that there were waitlists for pretty much every day care,” she said, “and then not only were there waitlists for child care, there were no infant spots.”She said if you’re lucky, the search starts early.“So really it’s that moment you find out you’re pregnant, you have to get on a waitlist for somewhere,” Myers said.Myers decided to be a stay-at-home mom, and eventually started working at the day care center.Issy Kako-Gehring runs the center and said just two years ago, it couldn’t have existed under the city’s zoning rules for child care providers.In 2014, she said she began meeting with Juneau Republican Rep. Cathy Muñoz and Juneau Assembly member Jesse Kiehl to address the issue. Those meetings eventually led to the zoning changes.Two other initiatives have also contributed to additional childcare availability, Lyon said.The first is the Hiring, Educating and Retaining Teaching Staff, or HEARTS initiative, which the city sponsors. The program’s goal is to the provide educational resources and help retain child care teachers.The second initiative is a $1,000 grant that Lyon’s organization offers to new child care startups.Kako-Gehring said families turning over is another factor.“Part of that reason, I think, is that a lot of families are moving,” she said. “We’ve had at least 10 families in the last year, to move out of state, young families.”Juneau has an aging community and the cost of child care here forces families to make important decisions, she said.For mothers, she said, do you work and pay a thousand dollars a month for your child to be in day care, or do you stay home and watch them grow up?“There’s a lot that’s involved in this 21 percent and it has to be looked at from every angle,” she said. “The 21 percent increase could also mean that less women are in the workforce.”Kako-Gehring said her day care isn’t at capacity. That’s a good thing, she said; her workers aren’t overwhelmed. But when they do open a spot — it’s filled almost immediately.A few other child care centers I called in Juneau had long waiting lists, too, especially for infants. But for the first time in five years, child care capacity in Juneau is rising.
Related posts:As Nicaragua elections approach, banned opposition decries Ortega’s budding dictatorship Nicaraguan resistance group speaks out, refutes Nicaragua pointing finger at Costa Rica for attacks Madelaine Caracas: the fierce Nicaraguan artist who stood up to Daniel Ortega US sanctions Nicaraguan first lady over abuses Lucía Pineda, news director at the now-closed 100% Noticias in Nicaragua has been accused and arrested on terrorism charges against Daniel Ortega’s government.The Nicaraguan government released a statement accusing Pineda, 45, of “provocation, proposing and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts.”The prosecutor’s office said Pineda “incited hate through political discrimination and spread fake and uncorroborated news through television and social media with the intention of generating anxiety and hatred towards Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) party members and sympathizers.”Pineda is also being accused of other crimes, including promoting hate towards the national police and inciting crimes against public and private property. Pineda was given preventative prison at her initial hearing and will face trial on Jan. 25.This Saturday, the owner of 100% Noticias, Miguel Mora, showed up handcuffed in court where he was accused of the same crimes as Pineda. Picture of the facade of “100% Noticias” (100% News) televison station in Managua, taken on December 22, 2018 a day after it was raided and closed by the Nicaraguan Police. Maynor Valenzuela / AFP“This accusation is completely crazy […] something never seen before in the country’s judicial history. This is revenge on critical journalists on behalf of the government,” Sergio Marín, the director of the recently-created Committee of Journalists and Independent Communicators, told the AFP.Marín said he’s afraid these attacks will escalate because the government isn’t tolerating news outlets like 100% Noticias or other publications that are fighting to inform the people.U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen expressed support for Pineda on Twitter, saying that U.S. and its allies should demand that the journalists be liberated and strong measures should be taken against the Nicaraguan government. La represalia de los #OrtegaMurillo contra @LuciaPinedaU y muchos otros periodistas es otro atropello mas al derecho basico de expresion. EEUU y aliados deben exigir libertad d estas personas y usar medidas fuertes para responsabilizar al regimen de estas atrocidades #Nicaragua https://t.co/cqRqawL8jP— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) December 23, 2018These actions came after the raiding and closure of the digital publication Confidencial and Carlos Fernando Chamorro’s television shows “Esta Semana” and “Esta Noche.” Chamorro has been a strong critic of the government.The newspapers La Prensa and El Nuevo Diario, said that essential supplies like paper and ink have been held up at customs. They’re expecting to run out of these materials in a few weeks. The legal team of the Permanent Human Rights Commission gives a press conference on the cases of Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda, the owner and director of the 100% Noticias news channel, respectively, in Managua on December 24, 2018. Maynor Valenzuela / AFP100% Noticias transmits 24 hours a day and has been one of the leading outlets covering the crisis in Nicaragua since protests started on April 18.Julio Montenegro, a lawyer for the Permanent Commission of Human Rights (CPDH), warned that a judge issued warrants for a 100% Noticias reporter and owners of two opinion shows based out of 100% Noticias.The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on the Nicaraguan government to immediately free the 100% Noticias journalists. In a statement, Natalie Southwick, the program coordinator for Central and South America, also called on the government to “end the desperate campaign to silence important voices.”The Costa Rican consul in Managua, Oscar Camacho, said he would follow and provide assistance to Pineda as they would to any Costa Rican in a vulnerable position.Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry also released a statement against the arrest and President Carlos Alvarado also issued a statement on Twitter: Como Presidente, y también como periodista, deploro la escalada de represión y la persecución a la prensa que en estos momentos se vive en Nicaragua. pic.twitter.com/uvLjbkVujX— Carlos Alvarado Quesada (@CarlosAlvQ) December 22, 2018Pablo Cuevas, a lawyer for the CPDH, told the AFP that Pineda was taken secretly taken to court 36 hours after she was detained on Friday night, when police raided and took over the 100% Noticias offices.Cuevas added that Pineda’s family members weren’t notified. A CPDH team, which is constantly at the courts to assist detainees, first reported on Pineda’s presence at the courthouse and then became her legal representation.As of Sunday, the courts are now heavily guarded by riot police.Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years. Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments