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Working to increase availability of and access to high-quality child care in our region

child care center with provider and children playing

Northeastern Minnesota has a critical shortage

of child care openings.

Media coverage of the shortage of child care has been heavy in recent months. When the supply of openings is not adequate to meet needs, families pay the price but also employers and communities as a whole. The Northland Foundation is not only helping to draw attention to the problem but is also seeking out resources and strategies to help communities address the issue.

An October 2016 report by the nonprofit Center for Rural Policy and Development showed a shortfall of over 4,000 child care slots in the 7-county region. Not only that, but the number of licensed family providers has been decreasing steadily for years.

“The research showed that costs to rectify the shortage are not exorbitant, but the issue is more complex than that. Resources and opportunities differ by community. A child care model that might work in Moose Lake may be different than the solution in Ely.” -Tony Sertich, President, Northland Foundation

In 2018, the Northland Foundation and other partners funded research to help quantify the Economic Impacts of the Child Care Shortage in Northeastern Minnesota in terms of lost productivity for employers, lost income for families, and lost tax revenues, as well as to estimate what it might cost to create enough child care slots to meet the need. The report also offered some ideas for how communities might approach child care financing and different business models.

Northland is approaching the challenges of child care quality and availability for families and communities in several ways:

“Resolving the lack of access to quality child care in our rural region will take not only money but also cooperation and creativity. If businesses, government, school districts, child care providers, parents, and other community members all come to the table, there are solutions to be found,” Tony Sertich concluded.