Lack of child care impacts families, businesses and communities.
The decision to find care for young children and work outside the home has always been a personal one – made inside the family and outside of the public eye. But as Baby Boomers retire and employers cannot find the skilled workers to replace them, the crisis is attracting the attention of employers, elected officials and community leaders. We are committed to supporting quality, affordable child care, a critical part of our economy and communities in southwest Minnesota.
- 20,750 children in southwest Minnesota
- 15,120 of these children have both parents in the workforce
- 10,406 child care slots currently available
- 4,714 left without care or scrambling to find other sources of care
From the Center for Rural Policy and Development’s 2016-2017 child care study
- Until wages and/or profits can be increased, the shortage will continue.
- Low pay for workforce makes recruitment and retention a major hurdle.
- Providers feel they can’t raise rates because parents can’t afford to pay more. On average, a Minnesota family will spend $8,033 to $17,442 annually for child care.
- The high startup costs make for very high barriers to entry for the average provider.
- The vast array of regulations needed to start a child care business are difficult to find, read through and understand, and there is little help, say providers and those who work with them.
Rural Economic Development Philanthropy Innovation Network
The barriers to high quality and affordable care require a comprehensive, regional approach to find sustainable solutions. Southwest Initiative Foundation was selected as one of nine community foundations across the country to participate in the Rural Economic Development Philanthropy Innovation Network (REDPIN).
This program is a partnership between the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group and Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. As part of the program, each community foundation identified a key economic development challenge to tackle. We selected child care. This program walks us through a model of learning and solution implementation.
Convening a task force of 15 child care providers, educators, agencies and employers to help map the child care system in southwest Minnesota, we identified gaps in public policy and advocacy, professional development and finance and business planning that are challenges to the child care industry.
We’re seeking partners who are willing to help fund Southwest Initiative Foundation’s work to advance quality, affordable child care as we continue navigating the conflict between long-term sustainable change for viable child care industry versus the short-term fixes needed in communities today.
- Consider new business models such as public/private/nonprofit partnerships and on-site, employer-provided care.
- Explore the roles of churches, schools and intergenerational facilities for shared overhead and engagement opportunities.
- Provide cash assistance for child care through agencies, programs and employers.
- Support child care centers and home-based providers with business planning, financing and other tools.
- Reach out to lawmakers and elected officials to ensure they know child care is a crisis in the region and that these enterprises are critical for communities, businesses and talent retention and attraction.
- Support efforts that streamline requirements for new and existing providers.
- Acknowledge the critical importance of child care providers in a strong local economy.
- Organize and support provider appreciation events and activities.
- Partner with high schools and local community and technical colleges to establish career pathways in child development.
- Host inclusive community conversations to create awareness, urgency and action plans.
- A quiet crisis: Minnesota’s child care shortage, Center for Rural Policy and Development (September 2016)
- Child care’s quiet crisis: an update, Center for Rural Policy and Development (October 2017)
- Bright Beginnings loan program, Southwest Initiative Foundation
- Child Care and Education: Help for you at every stage, Minnesota Department of Human Services