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Growing Number of Child Care Centers Offer Extended Care

Layoffs caused by the recession sent thousands of Ohio workers in search of new employment. In many cases people were forced to take jobs during non-traditional work hours causing a hardship for parents of small children. As a result more Central Ohio daycare centers offer nighttime care. When she first got a job at a Columbus hotel 25-year old Danielle Coleman's mother watched her young daughter. But Coleman says the arrangement became too difficult when she began to work a split shift. "It was just kind of inconvenient for my mom. I felt bad because she works during the day and then come home and have to watch her granddaughter. So once I found a center that was open 23 hours a day, I jumped at the opportunity." Coleman is one of a growing number of parents who need extended childcare. Action for Children, a child advocacy agency in Franklin county has identified forty child care center open until 10 p.m. and more than a handful offer round the clock care. The center Coleman found was Destinee and Friends Learning Center Too on Hague Avenue. Director Angela Brock charges the same fee for daycare as she does for night care. She says there are a variety of reasons parents need extended hour child care. "Due to either no family here, single parent homes, as far as jobs either more pay or parents are working two jobs just to make ends meet." Like many single parents Danielle Coleman says her wages make it nearly impossible to afford the hourly rate of a private baby sitter. "It would be out of my range to have to pay $15 dollars or more, you know, for care." Laurie Katz is a professor of Early Childhood Education at Ohio State. She says while not ideal, extended child care is the last best choice for many families. "This is a survival situation that families have to go to in terms of jobs and holding down jobs." Katz says children do best with a nighttime routine that includes sleeping in their own beds.  She says it's important no matter where a child receives care that a bedtime ritual is developed and followed. The Child Care Center at Ohio State has offered nighttime hours since it opened it's Ackerman Road facility in 1987. Associate Director Jean Dodson says the evening program serves a specific clientele. "Our clients are primarily OSU second shift employees for the hospital but we also provide care for students who attend evening classes. nat sound of kids On this evening the kids in Marti Fudge's pre-school class are eating dinner. After that, says Fudge, those who are going to stay engage in a variety of activities beginning with playtime. But she says as the evening goes on the children begin to settle into their bedtime routine. "Eight-thirty, the children who are going to be here to go to sleep, they usually get them washed up, go to the bathroom. They have pajamas, you know get them all ready for that. And then we take them up front and get them settled down to go to sleep. While the number of children enrolled in nighttime care are small  OSU professor Laurie Katz doesn't see the trend for extended daycare going away. "Quite honestly there's probably not enough places."