FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Operation back to school is in full effect. But for those still looking for after school programs, things are looking pretty scarce.
Officials at Southwest Allen County Schools, East Allen County Schools and Fort Wayne Community Schools say they each have their own form of after school programs.
East Allen County School’s after school care has not changed this year, and remains provided by the YMCA, LEARN, and the Boys and Girls Club. Southwest Allen County Schools makes use of the Friendship Company, a before and after school child care program located at various schools. Parents needed to pre-register for the service, and it’s currently full with a waiting list.
Fort Wayne Community Schools partners with the YMCA for their before and after school care. Kristal Hill is the Child Care Program Director at the YMCA. She says they currently have a waiting list to enroll in their programs due to a lack of staff.
“We are still actively hiring,” Hill said, “I feel that we are in a better position this year than we were last year so I’m thankful for that. But we are like many other places around town still actively looking for staff for those before and after care times.”
Hill says the need for after school programs is there and that they are essential for families.
“For us to be able to provide that structure and place for them, and for parents to be able to have care to continue to work and take care of their family is absolutely imperative,” Hill said.
Nissa Majors is a single Mom of three. She says she was able to find after school care for her Middle School children, but not for her daughter in Elementary School. Majors ruled out leaving her at home alone because of potential dangers. She lists the walk home as one of them.
“The option for her to be home alone would include her walking across major busy streets with traffic, and that scares me,” Majors said.
Majors says this is due to bus route changes. Since her daughter is a part of the Magnet program at Fort Wayne Community Schools, her bus stop is the nearest school. Majors says this is about a mile and a half away.
Majors utilizes help from family as a way of care for her child after school. She shares a few words of advice for those in her shoes. It includes looking at alternative options like the Allen County Public Library and their programs, your church organization, or family that you trust.
Also, even though there are waiting lists to get in area programs, it’s still beneficial to get your name on there.