Website makes childcare search easier

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Parents know finding a good early education program for their children isn’t easy. A new website is making it easier for parents to search for preschools based on their needs.

There are 8,000 different childcare providers across the state and about 500,000 students enrolled. The new website, findchildcare.pa.gov, makes sorting through all those much easier.

A few years ago, Janice Myers was desperate for affordable childcare with four grandkids under the age of 5 in the house.

“My son was a single parent and we had to find something really quick,” Myers said.

They struck out a few times.

“The first one I mentioned earlier, the kids were just running wild,” she said.

But if it were today, Myers would have been able to go to the state’s new website, type in “Mechanicsburg” and the ages of her grandchildren, and sort through a list of options. She could have even filtered based on program types and tuition.

“First, they can find those great resources, second of all identify the quality of those programs, which really moves us from the costs of education to the investment of education,” Pennsylvania Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said.

Leaders are pushing parents to invest in higher quality programs, indicated on the site with a 0- to 4-star rating.

“Those 3- and 4-star programs, they really get the outcomes you want. They help kids prepare for school and adulthood and the marketplace,” Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas said.

Mechanicsburg Learning Center is the four-star school Myers says she was lucky to find for her granddaughter Summer.

“Every now and then they’ll say something and it’ll click: they learned that at MLC!” Myers said.

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