After raising three of her own children and specializing in social work for years, Robin Newton decided this year to follow her passion and open a day care center.
“The reason why I start with the young ones is because the parents don't have time,” she said last week at her West Oak Lane center, which opened in October.
Newton is among a growing number of providers branching out on their own in the city. The number of licensed child-care centers in Philadelphia has grown nearly 22 percent in the last year. And over the next several years, the number of jobs in child care in Pennsylvania is expected to grow twice as much as the national rate.
The reasons range from more households with both parents working to an expansion of home-based providers to more awareness about the importance of early childhood education.
“We attribute it to a supply-and-demand issue. There are more people needing child care in order to go work and stay employed,” said Terry Casey, president of Pennsylvania Child Care Association, a nonprofit organization that provides training for child-care providers.
While some states have been forced to cut back on funding for early childhood education due to budget problems, Gov. Ed Rendell's administration has continued to push the education agenda, Casey noted.
“Pennsylvania, though we’ve got our economic issues ahead of us, we have not experienced some of the things the other states have,” she said.