There are an estimated 528 children living in the Columbus area that need child care services the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has approved space for only 91 of them.

The community has had this same problem to varied degrees for at least the past ten years, according to Brett Wary.

She presently operates the Good Shepherd Children's Center and reported recently the center had a waiting list since it began.

Wary told the Columbus School Board, in February, she had 37 students on her waiting list.

Wary has been working to build a community child care center within the school district and has written grants to provide a facility, which were not funded by the state.

One of the five licensed providers just gave notice recently that they will be closing in May with the end of the school year, according to Wary.

 “Without childcare services in our community, our industry, schools, and community will continue to struggle,” said Wary.  “Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) opened reports of abuse and neglect on nearly 20-percent of all children living in Cherokee County in FY 2007.”

"If we can get a Community Children's Center available for all children then the schools and the rest of the community will benefit,” said Wary recently.

Wary expects to make a presentation at the end of March with the new district superintendent and Pre-K Principal.

“As the economy gets worse, it becomes even more important to work together to support all of our programs and bring these needed services to our community families,” said Wary.