Tallahassee child care centers struggle to hire workers

Kim Sineath, who has been struggling to find new employees to staff her child care center, thought she finally found someone to hire.

But when Sineath gave her a call to offer her an interview, the woman who applied said she took a job at Ruby Tuesday instead because they offered her a $200 signing bonus.

Child care isn’t “an easy job, but it’s incredibly rewarding,” said Sineath, senior director of The Learning Pavilion. “And I hate that some people are missing out on that experience because we can’t properly, as a field and as a sector, pay them for how much work it really requires.”

Senior Director of The Learning Pavillon Kim Sineath poses for a portrait as children play in the background with their teacher Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

As people begin to turn off their Zoom cameras and trickle back to brick-and-mortar offices, more parents need day care options. But a lack of staff is preventing some day cares in Tallahassee from accepting more children. 

It’s not just locally. Across the country, day care operators are struggling to find staff. Hiring has always been an issue for the industry, as applicants have to complete a level 2 background check because they work with children.