ROCHESTER = The City of Rochester's first Child Care Forum was a bit of a bust. Despite widely publicizing it on the city website, just one parent showed up online at today's 10 a.m. meeting at the City Hall Annex.
The lone parent to testify was a woman named Chelsea, a seven-year Rochester resident who is a proud mom to 18-month-old twins.
Chelsea said so far she has been staying home to care for the kids while her husband works, but said she's interested in getting a part-time job at some point so wanted to be involved in the meeting which took place in the second floor conference room at the annex and online via Microsoft Teams.
She said important factors in picking a day care is having it located within at least 15-20 minutes of home, its format and its philosophy. She said she would prefer it be in a center and not a private home.
"I also want there to be a routine," she said, adding it should also be active in socialization skills.
Also at the meeting were Carol Glenn, an administrative assistant in the city's Economic Development office who heads up the city manager's child care panel; Cora Huppe, executive director of Rochester Child Care Center; and Linda Miller of Miller Consulting of Massachusetts who was contracted by the city of Rochester to head up the city's directive to explore government-funded child care options.
Huppe said child care options in Rochester are drying up fast, especially for toddlers. She said they currently have 70 toddlers on a wait list.
She said many child care providers are charging $100 just to get on a waiting list, and often it is not refunded even if they aren't placed.
She said a typical weekly cost for child care can be as high as $300.
"A family can easily spend $12,000-$15,000 a year," Huppe noted.
Right now she said Rochester Child Care Center is fully staffed, adding she had to invest a lot of capital to ensure she has the personnel she needs.
She said lead teachers, many of whom have a bachelor's degree, are paid anywhere from $17-$22 an hour and admins can get anywhere from $22-$30 an hour.
The second of two forums to be held today is set for later tonight at 6 in the second floor conference room at the Annex next to City Hall.