‘If I Lose One More Person I Have to Close’: What It Might Take To Fix The Child Care Crisis

Last spring, the Bennington Early Childhood Center was only open to essential workers. This year, many child care centers are still not open at full capacity because of staffing shortages. (Peter Crabtree/For VPR)

At a fairground in North Haverhill, N.H., past the rides and an obstacle course set up for goats, Amy Brooks was recruiting.

She stood at a booth not far from a gun raffle and a fudge stand, hawking an industry she says is a little different than retail.

“Small humans are amazing, and it’s not a desk job,” she said. “There are days that are tough, but you’re being part of a child’s … childhood story.”

Brooks worked in child care for 20 years, directing a center. She has blonde hair, pulled back in a messy bun and a big smile. Now, she’s here on behalf of the Early Care and Education Association, a nonprofit that supports early childhood educators across the Upper Valley. And they’re desperate.

Many centers in the region aren’t open at full capacity and have reduced their hours. Some directors aren’t sure if they’ll be able to keep their doors open. They can’t find enough staff.

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