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Napa County Faces a Child Care Supply Shortage

For Immediate Release
March 27, 2013

Community Resources for Children
Contact: Lola Nickens
707-253-0376 ext 111
lcornish@crcnapa.org

Napa County Faces a Child Care Supply Shortage

(NAPA, CA)The “Great Recession” has not been particularly kind to the child care community. In Napa County, the total number of programs declined sharply beginning in 2007. Napa County’s child care supply is low, but it has remained fairly stable since 2011. The vacancy rate, however, has been decreasing each year since then. This year’s rate is a mere 9.06% overall. Most of the vacancies that do exist are in family child care homes, which have a 20.05% vacancy rate, as compared with child care centers which have a 5.54% vacancy rate. CRC considers 15% to be a healthy vacancy rate. A lower vacancy rate means that there are not enough choices for parents. A higher vacancy rate typically means that the market is saturated, that there are more programs than needed by parents. The last time we had an overall vacancy rate close to 15% was in 2009. Additionally, there are several areas with a distinct lack of supply. Cappell Valley, Carneros, and Wooden Valley have no care at all and the areas around El Centro, Mt. George and Pueblo Vista schools have only family child care to choose from. Areas with the highest vacancy rates include areas around Bel Aire, El Centro and Pueblo Vista schools in Napa and near Canyon Oaks in American Canyon. Not surprising is the lack of vacancy for children under the age of two years in child care centers. Though we are unable to accurately calculate the number of infant (birth – 2 years) openings in family child care, we know that this is where the majority of infant care occurs in our county. Family child care homes have strict ratio requirements that prohibit them from fully enrolling (up to 8 for a small, 14 for a large) if they are caring for more than two children under two years of age. Therefore, most family child care homes will not take more than two infants at a time.

The economy is beginning to recover, as can be evidenced by the fact that the average cost of child care is once again on the increase for the first time since 2009 and the vacancy rate is the lowest it has been since 2007. Low supply and low vacancy could mean trouble for parents who are looking for child care in the coming months. As the statistics clearly show, now is a great time to open a child care business in Napa County. If you or someone you know has ever thought of doing so, please contact Community Resources for Children at 707-253-0376 or www.crcnapa.org.

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