As Daycares Close Nationally, Niceville Looks to Increase Capacity

Niceville City Manager David Deitch has informed the City Council about ongoing discussions with childcare providers to expand affordable childcare options in response to community needs. Recognizing the challenges faced by families due to limited childcare, Deitch aims to improve accessibility and support for working parents in the Niceville area.

Niceville City Manager David Deitch informed the City Council that he and his team are in talks with several different childcare providers to expand the childcare options in the Niceville area. 

“We are in the very early stages of discussions,” Deitch told the council. He added that after affordable housing, one of the most pressing concerns of residents in the area is the lack of affordable daycare for children. “I worked on this issue when I was still in the Air Force, and I’m continuing to work on it now because the two primary challenges that we have, in my opinion, [are] the county’s affordable housing and the lack of affordable childcare. [It] impacts a lot of different things with families, whether it’s a spouse that has to stay home, [or] can’t continue their education or can’t work – which leads to financial problems, which leads, potentially to domestic violence problems. The tentacles from the lack of affordable childcare are many.'”

RELATED: Here’s Why It’s So Hard To Find Your Kid A Daycare in Niceville

Deitch added that Eglin Air Force Base had hired a consulting company to conduct a review of the weaknesses in local support infrastructure that might hamper the base’s ability to accomplish its objectives – and childcare is one of those hurdles. “The bottom line is, there is a lot of money coming to the Florida Panhandle through the Department of Defense through this process for things such as infrastructure, affordable housing, I can go on and on,” Deitch said. 

He added that he, his Deputy City administrator Kristen Shell, Public Works Director Jonathan Laird, and the city’s new grants administrator began planning ways to capture some of these funds or otherwise take advantage of their presence at Eglin Air Force Base to relieve some of the issues the base’s presence may cause. 

The city, according to City Manager Deitch, has begun to talk to two childcare companies about opening up in the Niceville area. He hopes that they can attract a situation similar to what has happened in Crestview, where a company came in and set up shop as a way to help the members of the 7th Special Forces Group get childcare for their children. 

According to a report from Forbes, finding childcare in America will become even more difficult in the future. The outlet’s Jay Palumbo says that the end of Federal grant money from COVID-19 funds to childcare centers will cause about 70,000 of the facilities to close around the country. ABC News says the closures could leave 3.2 million children without care.

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