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Childcare Challenges for Cook County

Contributor(s): 
Rhonda Silence

Although Cook County is a wonderful place to raise a family, like many places it is not without its challenges. There has been a great deal of discussion by government entities at all levels regarding the North Shore’s limited housing options. But another problem—perhaps even more pressing for young families—is the lack of childcare in the region.

WTIP is looking at this issue and what is being done to try to alleviate this stressful situation for young families. In this series of interviews, WTIP’s Rhonda Silence explores this topic. 
 


What's On:
Children learn a lot in a consistent childcare setting

Regional childcare study presentation spurs ideas

In this series, Childcare Challenges in Cook County, WTIP has been talking to local community leaders, such as Bill Hansen, retired owner of Sawbill Canoe Outfitters and board member of the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation.

We spoke with Hansen at the start of this series and again after the release of a study about childcare in the region put together by the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, the Minnesota Iron Range Resources Board, Blandin Foundation and the Northland Foundation.

This is part 2 of our discussion with Hansen, who attended a presentation on the release of the study on October 25. In part 1 we talked about the need for the study, the methodology used to collect the information…and a little about possible solutions to this childcare crunch.

Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence and Bill Hansen with more on that report and how it could impact Cook County.
 

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A search for childcare in the Duluth area brings up pages of options for parents

Lack of childcare a factor in family leaving community

Like many parents in the community, Maren Webb had difficulty finding childcare in Cook County. WTIP spoke to her at the start of this series on the childcare situation in Cook County. We’re following up with Maren again after finding out that her family is leaving Grand Marais—in part, because of the lack of childcare for their daughter, Mabel. 
 
Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence with that conversation. 
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Infants require much more care and attention from childcare providers. - Photo courtesy of Flickr

YMCA seeks to collaborate on childcare solutions

In WTIP’s ongoing series, Childcare Challenges in Cook County, Rhonda Silence has been learning more about the complicated issue of childcare in Cook County.

Rhonda has been speaking with local government officials, community leaders, parents—and childcare providers, such as the Cook County YMCA.

In this second part of a two-part interview with YMCA Director Emily Marshall, Rhonda learns more about a recent study done regarding the childcare crunch in the region. They also talk about possible solutions.

Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence and Emily Marshall, talking about childcare.  
 

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The Cook County Community YMCA has caught up with its waiting list of families needing childcare--for now.

Cook County Community YMCA is part of the childcare puzzle

In WTIP’s ongoing series, Childcare Challenges in Cook County, we’ve been talking to the people involved in local childcare, such as Cook County Community YMCA Director Emily Marshall.

We learn a lot in this interview about how childcare became an offering for the local YMCA and about the operation of the childcare area.

This is part 1 of our discussion with Marshall, focusing on existing conditions for childcare at the Y.

Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence and Emily Marshall, talking about childcare.  
 

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Little ones enjoying playtime - Photo courtesy of Parker Knight, Flickr

A regional look at a local problem--lack of childcare

WTIP has recognized that a lack of childcare in the community is causing concern locally and regionally. We talked to Bill Hansen, a community leader and board member of the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, when we started this series focusing on childcare.

Now we’re checking in with Hansen again, after his attendance at a presentation regarding the childcare issue in the entire northland.

Hansen fills us in on the release of a study about childcare in the region put together by the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, the Minnesota Iron Range Resources Board, Blandin Foundation and the Northland Foundation.

This is part 1 of our discussion with Hansen, who attended that presentation on the study on October 25. Here’s Rhonda Silence with what he had to say about the need for the study, the methodology used to collect the information…and a little about possible solutions to this childcare crunch.
 

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The Cook County YMCA is expanding its childcare offerings

Childcare: the county/YMCA connection

Childcare in the community is certainly not a new topic of discussion for Cook County. Cook County Public Health and Human Services has worked with local childcare providers for decades. And when the Cook County Community YMCA added childcare to its offerings, the county become indirectly involved with that program.

WTIP reached out to County Administrator Jeff Cadwell to learn more about the county’s role in the YMCA daycare program.
 

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Childcare in Cook County: a provider's perspective

As many local parents and employers know, finding adequate daycare can be a struggle. There has been discussion on the lack of childcare in Cook County. In this series, WTIP is looking at this issue and what is being done to alleviate this stressful situation for young families.

WTIP reached out to a local home daycare provider, Maria Carlson, to learn more about how home childcare fits into the puzzle. 
 

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Maren Webb of Grand Marais is a parent experiencing the childcare crunch

Childcare from a parent's viewpoint

Although Cook County is a wonderful place to raise a family, for some it can be a difficult place to live. There has been a great deal of discussion by government entities at all levels regarding the North Shore’s limited housing options. But another problem—perhaps even more pressing for young families—is the lack of childcare in the region.

WTIP is looking at this issue and what is being done to alleviate this stressful situation for young families.

In this latest intervew, we talk to Maren Webb, who recently lost her daycare provider to a job at the local school. A neighbor is filling in for now, but Webb is among the many seeking a long-term solution. Here's WTIP's Rhonda Silence with more.
 

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Childcare in Cook County is overseen by Cook County Public Health and Human Services

Childcare--the county's role

Hearing that it can be a challenge to find childcare in Cook County is not a suprise to the people at Cook County Public Health and Human Services. That county department has been working with local daycare providers and parents for years. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence talks to Heidi Akins and Grace Bushard of Public Health to learn more about the county's role in the local childcare situation. 

***
Heidi Akins can be reached by phone at 218-387-3620. She also shared links to the following resources that could be helpful for someone considering becoming a home childcare provider: 

Minnesota Department of Health & Human Services - Family Systems. This site includes rules and forms for becoming a licensed for childcare or foster care. 

Attorney Tom Copeland, specializing in representing childcare providers
 

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Work is under way in Mountain Iron on the Iron Tykes Daycare - Photo by Shawntel Gruba

Iron Range addressing childcare issues with new facility

As many local parents and employers know, finding adequate daycare can be a struggle. There has been a great deal of discussion on the lack of childcare here in Cook County—and around the region.

WTIP is looking at this issue and what is being done to alleviate this stressful situation for young families.

WTIP reached out to Chis Ismel, community development representative with the Minnesota Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, to learn more about a childcare project in Mountain Iron. We also spoke with Shawntel Gruba, who is the operator of the Iron Tykes childcare facility.

Here’s Rhonda Silence with more.
 

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