Declining Child Care Providers Is Requiring Agencies Like Linking Families And Communities To Seek Out Other Organizations, Businesses And Communities To Assist

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Linking Families and Communities is looking to reverse this trend and gain and maintain child care providers that are interested in providing the best experiences for children in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate environment. A Request For Proposal (RFP) ) is an effort to seek creative, effective solutions to increase the number of registered child care providers in the Calhoun, Pocahontas and Webster County Area.

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“We need to reach out and explore other ideas and options that will assist us in locating child care providers as well as offering the support they need to meet and follow state and federal regulations,” states Elizabeth Stanek.

In today’s family environment, it is very common to have both parents working. This requires more child care resources to assist the single and two party families in their search for quality providers. Unfortunately the number of child care providers in the region as well as nationally has declined. The actual number of registered child care programs in the counties of Calhoun, Pocahontas and Webster that are served by Linking Families and Communities has decreased by 88 in just the last three years. This is resulting in 389 less child care slots in these counties.

Changes in the federal law will also tighten the requirements of unlicensed child care providers which will only increase the decline further. These laws will require training and inspections in order to continue receiving child care assistance payments from the state. It will also mean considerably more paperwork by the provider along with background checks and other specific guidelines.

Over the years, Linking Families and Communities has funded a number of programs that are designed to help provider become registered and move them through the Iowa Quality Rating System. This has helped grow the interest in providing child care services but it is not enough to keep up with the high demand for quality care.

This month there is a cooperative effort by providers and support organizations to get the word out about the changes and need for quality child care providers. Agencies are working with the media in their areas and across the state in the marketing effort. KCCI TV recently did an investigative report on the need. In Fort Dodge, the Messenger also published an article about the loss of child care providers in the area and current plans by Linking Families and Communities to address this.

Linking Families and Communities is looking to reverse this trend and gain and maintain child care providers that are interested in providing the best experiences for children in a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate environment. This month a Request for Proposal (RFP) is being issued in an effort to seek creative, effective solutions to increase the number of registered child care providers in the Calhoun, Pocahontas and Webster County Area.

“We need to reach out and explore other ideas and options that will assist us in locating child care providers as well as offering the support they need to meet and follow state and federal regulations,” states Elizabeth Stanek, Executive Director of Linking Families and Communities. “Our issuing the RFP will help us to better provide these resources in the counties we serve.”

The RFP is available online at http://www.linking-families.com/. The due date for the RFP is Monday, August 3rd.

Linking Families and Communities is located at 822 Central Avenue, Suite 340, Fort Dodge, IA 50501. Additional information is available by calling 515-955-5437 and by following them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Elizabeth Stanek

Cheryl O'Hern
@LinkingFamilies
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