Child Care Solutions
Child Care Solutions Applications Due March 22
About the Child Care Solutions Pilot Program
The Initiative Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and First Children’s Finance to help surface innovative solutions to the shortage of quality, affordable child care in Central Minnesota.
First Children’s Finance estimates that more than 17,000 Central Minnesota children and their families lack child care opportunities, which inhibits development and school readiness. Equally important, said Don Hickman, vice president for community and workforce development at the Initiative Foundation, “is that many families are disengaged from the workforce because they can’t find quality, affordable care at a time when most employers in the region are urgently looking for skilled workers.”
Through $150,000 in grant support from the Minnesota Department of Human Services and its emerging partnership with First Children’s Finance, the Initiative Foundation is launching a pilot program for up to four Central Minnesota communities that will focus on child care solutions:
- Guided by First Children’s Finance, each pilot community will explore their unique barriers to quality, affordable care and identify opportunities to create additional child care slots to narrow the gap.
- Upon completion of a strategic plan, each community will be awarded a challenge grant of $10,000 to implement their action plan.
“The goal of the challenge grant is to gain financial commitments from public and private sources so that effective solutions can be gained and sustained,” Hickman said. “Each matched contribution will be made available to help child care providers add quality slots in the host community.”
Potential uses include the exploration of alternative business models for child care delivery; succession planning and/or professional development to retain new or mid-career providers; or physical or programmatic investments that result in additional child care slots and/or improvements in quality.
Communities selected to participate in the pilot program will help direct, in total, a minimum of $20,000 in local investments to advance financially sustainable initiatives.
Want to Learn More?
Community members who would like to learn more can access a previously recorded webinar here. Email Jessy Beto, Initiative Foundation program assistant, for more information.
The Initiative Foundation anticipates selecting four communities this spring. Strategic planning with First Children’s Finance for one community is planned for April or May. The remaining three communities would start their strategic planning efforts this summer.
Community members are encouraged to share this opportunity with elected officials, chambers of commerce and other business leaders, child care providers, educational partners, and any other stakeholders interested in securing the grant funds, technical assistance, training, and financing available through this program.
IQ Magazine Resources
- Central Minnesota unites to solve workforce, housing, child care challenge
- Communities look for solutions to the region's acute child care shortage
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Early Childhood Initiative
The Initiative Foundation believes that nurturing young children is the responsibility of parents and communities.
The Initiative Foundation advances this belief by providing support for community-based coalitions to develop a vision and a strategic plan that focuses on quality early childcare and education.
The Initiative Foundation in partnership with the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative strives to ...
- Educate citizens about the first five years of rapid brain development that forms lifetime personalities, social skills and learning capacity.
- Promote parents and families as the primary and most important caregivers of young children and fosters the concept that nurturing and educating children should be embraced by entire communities.
- Help community coalitions create a shared vision and plan of action around the care and education of young children and their families.
- Provide training, financial and technical assistance and resource/referral services to implement quality community-based opportunities for young children.
- Connect with other early childhood-focused communities statewide.
- Promote and advance local, state and national public policy to support quality care and education for our youngest citizens.
- Create and promote "one voice" around the issue of early care and to speak for those who cannot.
To date, the initiative has developed 90 early childhood coalitions in 300 communities across Greater Minnesota. The Initiative Foundation supports 20 coalitions in Central Minnesota. Visit the grants page to learn how the Initiative Foundation could help you in your efforts to support healthy children, healthy families.
Promoting healthy social, emotional development
Statewide surveys reveal that an alarming number of Greater Minnesota children struggle with mental health issues and a striking lack of access to professional help.
These surveys paired with national studies prompted the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations to launch the Minnesota Thrive Initiative in 2007. The Minnesota Thrive Initiative goal is to build powerful community action teams that work to increase awareness, early intervention and prevention efforts among families, childcare providers and healthcare professionals.
In Central Minnesota, the Greater St. Cloud Area Thrive Coalition is working to ensure that all families have access to the information and resources they need. For more information, visit the Thrive website.
Keep Investing In
Thanks to our supporters and contributors for powering possible and investing in Central Minnesota. Keep the momentum going.