Ottawa County Childcare Initiative to hold open house

Feb 27, 2024 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

The need to find quality childcare is one of the many challenges parents face. Childcare is at the core of our workforce. Parents rely on childcare providers to pursue their career or schooling, and employers rely on childcare providers to ensure a stable workforce. Childcare infrastructure can influence where people choose to work. If taking a new job or moving to a new community means moving their childcare from a provider they trust, parents are less likely to take that new job or make that move. By thinking creatively and working together to fix the need for childcare, our local economy will benefit in the long run.

In May 2022, a Regional Childcare Study was released by Firelands Forward in partnership with the Child Care Resource Center. The study summarized that parents want quality and affordable childcare where their child is safe and happy. To view the full childcare study, visit www.firelandsforward.com.

After the study was complete, Firelands Forward established a regional work group to determine how to build capacity in the local region. Katherine Adams was hired as Manager of Workforce & Career Exploration in January 2023 for the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation, and one of her roles was to create an active childcare working group.

“I came on board last year and realized quickly that we had a need for childcare in Ottawa County,” Adams said. “After a number of meetings and discussions with businesses and community members, we created the Ottawa County Childcare Initiative to determine site feasibilities.”

The Ottawa County Childcare Initiative is a group of local businesses, social services agencies and childcare providers who meet regularly to develop action plans that will increase accessibility and capacity for childcare.

The committee has identified three churches within the county who could potentially provide space and become childcare providers. Conversations have begun with other churches about the possibility of utilizing their space for childcare providers. The committee is in the process of architectural walk-throughs within those churches to determine infrastructure needs to begin the next phase of growth.

“We’re working closely with our YWCA partners in Toledo,” Adams said. “They have assisted with resources and information to help us navigate the training and licensure processes.”

As part of the Ottawa County Childcare Initiative’s plan to generate more capacity, a childcare survey was created and sent to area partners to help direct the creation of new childcare centers that will best meet the needs of our community. The goal is to retrieve the best data possible to move this initiative forward. For those interested in taking the quick 2-minute survey, please visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/DBKWX5W.

In addition, an upcoming Childcare Resource Open House will be held on March 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30pm at the Ottawa County Resource Center. The event will include shared information and resources for individuals who may be interested in becoming a home childcare provider or want to work in a childcare facility.

For questions regarding the survey or open house, contact Katherine Adams at 567-262-3302. The Ottawa County Childcare Initiative is a collaborative effort between the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation, Firelands Forward, social services agencies, non-profits and area businesses.

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