Douglas County Childcare Coalition (an initiative co-led by Business Champions for Kids and Care Connections & Education at Douglas ESD) is responding to the end-of-the-month closure of Little Wellsprings Preschool and Childcare located in Roseburg. The coalition recognizes that families with young children will need to find child care services and early learning staff will need to find new employment.
Douglas County Childcare Coalition’s immediate strategies include:
- Helping families find child care providers
- Finding child care placements for Wellsprings’ early learning employees
- Expanding existing child care centers
- Supporting existing programs to expand to new locations
- Encouraging current family-based child care providers to expand their programs to care for additional children
- Working with state-affiliated groups to expedite the expansion of new locations and existing programs
- Finding volunteers and resources to help with expansion projects
- Seeking monetary donations and supplies
- Partnering with agencies across the county to collaborate on solutions
The resources needed to accommodate the solutions include: Location site expansions or relocations; access to training, certification, licensure, subsidies; and materials and supplies to accommodate more children.
“It has become more apparent to the business leaders how important child care providers are to the economic success of our community, not only since it allows employees to come to work knowing their children are in a safe, quality environment but the key role early childhood education has in developing a future workforce,” says Julie Hurley, Biz4Kids program coordinator at Douglas ESD. “I would like to recognize the Care Connections & Education team for the importance of the role the program has played in responding to the closure announcement by being a connection between families, employees and existing child care providers.”
Douglas County Childcare Coalition was formed in response to the overall child care crisis in Douglas County. More than a total of 30 local businesses, nonprofits, public and education sectors are included in the partnership. The collective collaboration increases awareness, builds an early child care workforce, finds suitable facilities and expands business involvement. Support is made available to providers in navigating licensure, training, marketing, food programs and subsidized programs. The coalition recognizes the need to respond quickly to urgent child care needs and expand the availability, quality and affordability of early child education centers in Douglas County. The initial target is to open 150 infant/toddler preschool and 45 school-age child care slots within the two years. In order to meet the target the coalition is focused on recruiting and training up to 40 early childhood professionals. Additionally, the group provides infrastructure support to expand programs. The coalition continues to support current providers by providing resources to help off-set the increased expenses related to the pandemic.
Care Connections & Education serves Douglas, Klamath and Lake counties as a resource to increase and build connections to quality child care. The program empowers child care providers to excel in their profession through educational opportunities on best practices, exploration of career pathways and connection with families needing care.
Business Champions for Kids (Biz4Kids) officially relaunched its program in December 2017 with the intention to encourage businesses to adopt family-friendly practices in an effort to support early childhood development. Biz4Kids seeks to raise awareness among the business community that an investment in early childhood has a high return, including lower incarceration rates, increased productivity and a healthier workforce. By supporting employees with children, particularly ages birth to 5, employers can make a lasting difference in their communities.
For more information about Douglas County Childcare Coalition, visit www.biz4kids.org/douglas-county-childcare-coalition