No spare daycare

Lisa Ingebrand,

Sheila Mack, who recently opened Homegrown Kids Childcare in Waterville, plays with little Josie Clinton. According to local daycare providers, licensed, infant care is almost impossible to find in the local area. (Lisa Ingebrand photo)

Since August, three daycares have closed in the local area, according to Minnesota Department of Human Service’s online Family Child Care database. One was located in Elysian. The other two were in Waterville.

During that same time frame, two new home daycares have opened.

Sheila Mack opened her home daycare, Homegrown Kids Childcare, in Waterville in early January, after weeks spent scrambling to find more convenient care for her infant foster daughter.

“She did have care, but I was spending so much time every day driving her to daycare, then to work, then back to daycare to get her, and then back home... It just wasn’t working for us,” stated Mack, who called multiple home daycare providers in the area, hoping to secure a spot.

“I knew it was tight, but I didn’t think it was impossible,” she stated with a laugh and shake of her head. “Room for a child under one year old in our area is really nearly impossible to find.”

This realization, along with her love for children, spurred Mack to leave her job with Rice County’s Child Protection Services and open her own daycare.

“I’ve always known I wanted to work with kids, and this is just a new way of using my education and experience,” she stated.

In addition to having her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Leadership, Mack worked for three years as...

To see more on this story pick up the January 27, 2022 print edition of the LifeEnterprise paper. 



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