According to an online database from the Virginia Department of Human Services, Bedford County has 18 licensed daycares and seven regulated and unlicensed daycares. A regulated and unlicensed child care service can legally care for a maximum of four children if it does not qualify for a religious exemption. If it cares for five or more children, a center must be licensed and not qualified for a religious exemption, Graham said.
Polls Seek Solutions to Bedford County Child Care Shortage | Local News
For years, families with young children in the Central Virginia area have reported difficulty finding quality and affordable child care, Graham and Crawford said, especially for the infant to all age range. -small.
“Number one, there weren’t enough centers or places available, and second, what was available was either unaffordable, inaccessible or lacked the quality of care they would want their children to be in,” said Graham, who has worked with HumanKind for 10 years.
A few major factors underpin the “complicated web” of problems creating the child care desert in Bedford County and central Virginia, Graham said, a situation that has worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic .
The need is especially great for the care of infants and toddlers, said Graham, aged zero to three.
One challenge is to get a properly licensed installation. The process is rigorous and can be expensive, as the space must meet certain criteria that make it safe for children. This may require renovations and other expenses related to upgrading a facility.