Swimming, gymnastics and more; parents search for summer childcare options

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) It's 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and 4-year-olds Audrey and Raelyn are in the middle of the daycare routine at the Boys & Girls Club, in Spenard. The girls grab for crayons and Moana coloring books strewn across a table. Some end up on the floor.

The center has what most parents are looking for: attentive teachers and a clean environment with opportunities for children to socialize.

All this costs money for parents, who usually only pay for after-school care.

As is the case in many parts of the country, the cost of childcare in Alaska is high, with even middle-class parents feeling the squeeze.

According to Thread Alaska, which advocates for families, education and qualify childcare, on average, each month 3,700 children receive a subsidy through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to help their families make childcare more affordable.

"We're pretty on market, mid-range for normal license childcare fees," said Jennifer Brown with the Boys & Girls Club - Alaska. "About 70 percent of our families are on some kind of childcare assistance. So we're glad to be there for them, too."

The Boys & Girls Club camp has more than 200 spots still open, but those are expected to fill soon.

Thread suggests parents look for licensed camps, and if they have no idea where to send their students for the summer, then they say to call the childcare resources and referral network at (800) 278-3723.

"There are a lot of camps available," said Rebecca Sentner with Thread. "One of the things we always recommend is they [parents] find licensed camps. There are lots out there, and we help people find ones that are licensed and more safe, healthy and playful for their children."

For more information about the CCAP, go to http://dhss.alaska.gov/dpa/Pages/ccare/parents.aspx.

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