Carlton County Is Pleased to Announce the Availability of a Child Care Community Solution Action Plan Carlton County in MN – Carlton County has been participating in the Rural Child Care Innovation Program conducted by First Children’s Finance since fall 2019. The Rural Child Care Innovation Program is a community engagement process designed to address the challenges of child care in rural America and to develop right-sized solutions to address the needs of child care and early education in the communities selected to participate. Close to a dozen applications statewide were submitted and Carlton County was among the initial communities selected.
Over the past six months, First Children’s Finance and Carlton County completed an analysis to determine the child care need in the community and identify challenges faced by the existing child care programs. On January 14, 2020 there was a community wide Town Hall that allowed participants to learn about the results of the analysis and to identify potential child care solutions that would support the existing workforce along with adding additional child care slots.
The analysis showed a shortage of over 600 child care slots in Carlton County. While the population grows, the number of family child care providers in the county has decreased. Waiting lists for child care are long. Lack of child care can create challenges for those raising families in the area as well as making it more difficult for employers to attract and retain employees. This impacts the rural economy. Potential solutions from the community conversations focused on things like growing business and community supports for child care providers such as employer sponsored slots; increased resource sharing and local training; identifying shared spaces for providers to support financial viability; working for change on legislative and county government levels. There has been broad community interest and engagement on the issue with a number of local groups and businesses moving forward with plans to add child care in their organizations.
Child care challenges affect all community members as the current pandemic has underscored. Whether one has children in need of child care or relies on essential workers with children to have care available so they may provide essential services, child care is vital to the community.
Carlton County and First Children’s Finance are pleased to announce that the Child Care Community Action Plan is available for anyone that would like to learn more and is located at www.ruralchildcare.org
Founded in 1991, First Children’s Finance is a national nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota with regional offices in Iowa and Michigan. First Children’s Finance works to stabilize, improve and expand high-quality child care businesses serving low and moderate-income families. First Children’s Finance provides financing, child care business training and consulting, and builds partnerships that connect child care businesses with the resources and expertise of the public and private sectors.
For more information about First Children’s Finance visit www.firstchildrensfinance.org or contact Patricia Welsch at PatriciaW@FirstChildrensFinance.org
For more information about the specific work happening in Carlton County or to get involved please contact Tess Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.