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MPS parents struggle to find after-school care options after being told many programs are full

Milwaukee Recreation says they are like a lot of places right now and dealing with being short-staffed.
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Posted at 5:02 PM, Aug 23, 2022

MILWAUKEE — It is two weeks until school starts and the main child care provider for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) says they are at capacity for many of its after-school programs and some won’t even open this year.

It has left some parents scrambling to find another solution.

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Beverly Knox hold both her daughters hands, Akiah (5) and Nariah (2) as they walk out of Milwaukee Public Schools Administration Building after registering for school.

MPS mom Beverly Knox is new to the district. She is not sure if she has care for both of her children heading to MPS.

“I’m pretty much starting from scratch,” said Knox. “I’m not sure with my five-year-old. I know they said they were open for the three-year-old.”

MPS mom Tiffany Hulberg is also new to the district. She just got the news her four-year-old daughter’s after-school care program is full.

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“This Friday we found out it was all full and we didn’t get any after-school care,” said Hulberg. “Just kind of felt like a rock and a hard place of what do I do now. I either add a significant cost of adding daycare that does transpiration or I figure out a way to leave work every day, which is easier said than done.”

Milwaukee Recreation is a department of MPS. It also serves as the district's official program that runs wrap-around care for children. Last year in the 2021-22 school year, it served 9,500 students. In the 2020-21 school year, during the height of the pandemic, it served 6,100 students. Milwaukee Recreation says they are like a lot of places right now and dealing with being short-staffed.

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Tiffany Hulberg holds her 4-year-old daughter

“We do have some programs that have been impacted by the pandemic and staffing levels have been a concern. As a result, many programs are not able to serve as many students as they have historically and some programs we have been challenged to open altogether for a lack of staffing,” said Leighton Cooper, coordinator of before and after-school programs for Milwaukee Recreation.

Milwaukee Recreation says it is currently trying to recruit more staff to open programs. Hulberg’s daughter has been put on a waitlist, but Cooper says parents should not expect that waitlist to open up.

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Children on playground next to the Milwaukee Public School Administration Office.

“I urge parents to take steps to ensure that their need is being that if that means finding an additional child care organization, a local daycare, so forth, that will satisfy their needs until MPS before and after school program can or will become available for them,” said Cooper.

Milwaukee Recreation says it is hiring full and part-time employees and it has recently increased its wages. They say staff will start at $14 to $18 per hour. Interested individuals can click herefor more information and to apply.

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