- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - Day care providers in Aberdeen are seeing high demand for infant care.

Bethany Brooks, who opened her day care in January, said she gets calls constantly about openings for infants. And so does operator Jodi Gardner, who said she regularly turns away people who need infant care.

“I could run a day care with just newborns and be full,” Brooks recently told The Aberdeen American News (http://bit.ly/1G9AACz ).

Per city ordinance, each of the home-based facilities is limited to providing care for a maximum of 12 children, including two infants under the age of 1 and only four can be less than 2 years old. Larger providers can get special exemptions.

The demand for day care services isn’t limited to the typical business hours, Gardner said. Many parents are looking for services that extend beyond 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“There’s two private day cares I know of that have extended hours,” said Gardner, who has operated her day care for six years. She explained that parents will find they are paying a higher rate for those off hours.

Aberdeen was estimated to have around 150 home-based day care providers in June 2007, when the city enacted its licensing requirement. There are currently 113 licensed providers.

The Aberdeen Family YMCA’s Youth Development Center has been open for around two years now. Child care director Cari Heupel said it’s now at 82 percent capacity with a couple of infant openings.

The Youth Development Center is licensed for 190 kids in early learning, which includes infants through preschool. Children younger than 2 are kept in three different areas based on mobility, Heupel said.

The Youth Development Center is also the site for the YMCA’s after-school program for older kids. This program is licensed for up to 170 kids and is at capacity, with a waiting list.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

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