Dozens of parents, daycare providers and other stakeholders took part in a town hall meeting Tuesday night to discuss the critical shortage of day care programs in Minnesota’s Carlton County and to brainstorm in an effort to find possible solutions.
Child care is an important economic driver for our rural communities. The current shortage of 607 daycare slots in the county presents a major barrier to economic development in Senate District 11.
Listening to participants express their frustrations brought back memories of my own family’s struggle to find daycare more than three decades ago. After many frantic calls we were fortunate to find a license home daycare facility in Barnum willing to take on the care of an infant.
Since then, many of our home daycare operators have either retired or have closed down citing low pay, the lack of benefits and or burdensome and confusing regulations.
Child care needs to be accessible, of high quality, and profitable for the child care provider. As a community, we must work together to make this a reality.
The town hall was facilitated by First Children's Finance's Rural Child Care Innovation Program, an innovative community engagement process designed to address the challenges of child care in rural America.
I look forward to reading the follow up report from organizers as residents of our community move forward together to address the daycare crisis.