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

Black, light-skin women, wearing a cheetah print blouse and khaki pants, sits on a beige table beside a collection of small, children's toys and books.
Liz Schlemmer
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Evy Hart, founder and co-owner of Molly's Daycare Center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, talks the ups-and-downs of caring for children at a 24-hour daycare center and the benefits upon both parents and their kids.

Child care is a 24/7 activity. For parents working outside bankers’ hours, building relationships and trust with 24-hour daycare providers is essential.

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.

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and 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.
Kaia Findlay is a producer for Embodied, WUNC's weekly, live talk show on health, sex and relationships. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.