Quality and affordable child care is difficult to access statewide.
Leelanau County is not immune to the child care crisis. That is why Leelanau Early Childhood Development Commission (LECDC) applied for and received $ 318,000 to bring more child care options to the county. The grant comes from the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) to develop a model to help five residents of Leelanau County who want to start home child care businesses.
“We hope to resolve a number of issues,” says Patricia Soutas-Little, Executive Director of LECDC. “It’s a challenge to get through the licensing process and the whole authorization process. Besides, it’s expensive. “
This is a collaborative effort led by the Leelanau Early Childhood Development Commission, with partners Leelanau Children’s Center and the Leelanau Peninsula Economic Foundation. The plans are to create a county-based model that helps culturally and economically diverse eligible adults start and successfully operate profitable home child care businesses, which provide infant and toddler care for working families.
The money will not only be used to license vendors, but will also help build a network of mentors and other vendors.
“We’re looking at ways to continue to support these vendors over time because once they’ve engaged and run successfully, that’s when they’re going to find, oh, we didn’t know. not or they’re going to have another obstacle that they really didn’t encounter at the start, ”says Soutas-Little.
The grant will support a diverse group of five people interested in starting their own home child care service. Diversity could mean the locations of suppliers.
“I think we know the areas of our county that have been sort of chronically underserved, so north of Northport, the Empire Maple City corridor. And you sort of extend all the way to the coast, the west coast of the county, ”says Mary Manner, coordinator of Great Start Collaborative and also a member of the board of directors of LECDC. “Watching these families who somehow live in these regions is a priority. “
ECDC is already recruiting home care providers in the county, with resources available as of January 2022. Resources include accounting, licensing and even cooperative funding for people who want to address the severe lack of child care resources. ‘children in County Leelanau.