Local organization has right approach in solving childcare issue

There are people in every society that need extra care. That care is generally provided by those equipped to provide that extra help. Children, homebound elderly, people with physical or mental disabilities, all deserve to live with equity and dignity.

Each step we take as a society toward helping those who need it, is a step in a positive direction. Whether it’s Meals on Wheels or home health caregivers, who help people to stay in their own homes as they age, or an organization like the Marquette County Childcare Coalition, that’s trying to help find solutions to an unsustainable local child care environment.

The coalition found a lack of child care openings was one of the primary reasons that parents could not return to the workforce.

Other issues uncovered by the coalition include the fact that those people who work in childcare cannot earn “family-sustaining” wages.

Certification fees have also been a barrier for child care providers who want to learn skills or obtain licensing.

It’s been called a crisis, but local education experts say it’s not going to go away on its own and it’s only going to get worse if someone doesn’t take positive action.

Lyndsay Carey, director of early childhood education at the Marquette Alger Regional Educational Service Agency said, “You think this is a crisis right now, but in five years we are going to be way worse off than we are right now. And in order to ensure that we can continue to go in a positive direction, we need to build up our home providers.”

The coalition is spearheading a pilot program that will help as select group of licensed home-based child care providers get off the ground.

They say that six to eight applicants will be selected and then assisted through the licensing process.

With any luck, organizers say there could be new home-based child care providers in the area by August. That’s good news.

The word “care” is right in the name. And, as a society, we can’t simply do fly-over studies on child care or throw money at the problem and hope it will go away.

The Marquette County Childcare Coalition is taking a forward-thinking, boots-on-the-ground approach to start to solve the child care deficit in this region.

We applaud their efforts and look forward to seeing a successful program come to fruition that will allow more parents to get comfortably back into the workforce.


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