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The Village That Raises The Child: 24-Hour Daycare Centers

Parents’ work hours are anything but standard. While some work in the 9-to-5 sphere, many parents work overnight shifts or hold down multiple jobs that keep them away from home and children for mealtimes and bedtime. Most daycare centers are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but there is a unique resource that helps to bridge the gap for some families: 24-hour childcare centers.

Host Anita Rao talks with two 24-hour daycare center owners about how they provide their services and the relationships they forge with families. Deloris “Nunu” Hogan is the co-founder of Dee’s Tots Childcare in New Rochelle, New York. And Evy Hart is the founder and co-owner of Molly’s Daycare Center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Rao also talks with Ayana Moore, clinical research manager and single parent of two, about her experience using a 24-hour daycare center when her job took her away from her kids for days or weeks at a time.

Interview Highlights

Deloris “Nunu” Hogan on why she started running a 24-hour daycare center out of her home:

I noticed back in the day, parents was working at McDonald's — you know, McDonald's had long shifts at the time, you know, parents was cleaning offices and different stuff. You have to wait till everybody leaves out the office in order to clean the office. So that's when I started realizing that this is not just — I can't just be a regular daycare, I have to become a 24-[hour], seven-days-a-week daycare, because parents need it. And once parents really start to trust you, they don't want to take their children anywhere else.

Evy Hart on continuing to provide care even after working without rest herself:

If I get four hours of sleep, that seems like eight hours. It's a struggle. It really is. … Sometimes it combats you, sometimes you're at a loss. But you continue on, you push forward, you know, because we're here to serve those children, to serve those essential workers, to work with the parents that have multiple jobs, that have flexible and rotating shifts as well.

Ayana Moore on her tactics for staying connected with her son when leaving him at 24-hour daycare for several days:

I actually wrote this really long poem for him, I pulled together all of these pictures of us from over the last couple of years, and I had it printed at one of the local print shops. And so I would pack this book with him as well, when he was gone. I would try to leave him video messages that they could play for him during the day, because, you know, the other challenge is I'm on, you know, somewhere between a six- to 12-hour time difference depending on where I'm traveling to. So I tried to just be very creative and just make sure that he knew that I was still thinking about him and that we stayed connected.

Copyright 2021 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Kaia Findlay is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show. Kaia grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a household filled with teachers and storytellers. In elementary school, she usually fell asleep listening to recordings of 1950s radio comedy programs. After a semester of writing for her high school newspaper, she decided she hated journalism. While pursuing her bachelor’s in environmental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, she got talked back into it. Kaia received a master’s degree from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism, where she focused on reporting and science communication. She has published stories with Our State Magazine, Indy Week, and HuffPost. She most recently worked as the manager for a podcast on environmental sustainability and higher education. Her reporting passions include climate and the environment, health and science, food and women’s issues. When not working at WUNC, Kaia goes pebble-wrestling, takes long bike rides, and reads while hammocking.