USDA Awards Funding for Child Care Cooperative
Published on September 19, 2014 - Adams County Record
By JENNIFER GARREAU
A $60,000, USDA grant awarded to the Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP)Investment Fund, will help to provide technical assistance in developing a child care cooperative in Hettinger.
“There is a tremendous need here,” said Earleen Friez, Hettinger Community Promotions Office Manager.
“While parent driven child care cooperatives have been done in other states, we are hoping to become a model in North Dakota for employer driven child care cooperative,” said Shirley Brentrup, REAP Executive Director.
“Parents only need child care for a few years, but businesses have a long term constant need. We are hoping this model will fill the gaps in child care in order for area businesses to meet their staffing needs which is currently an issue state wide,” said Berentrup.
REAP is working with the the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives Division to gain a better understanding of how to build and maintain cooperatives.
The grant funding will be used to identify the legal issues and to develop the cooperative model.
REAP will be looking at what the roles of the legislature are or should be in child care, “as the state isn’t funding programs that are never ending,” as well as the role of the community and parents play in terms of impact and funding.
“Maybe this knowledge can also be used to form a housing cooperative in Hettinger as well,” said Bentrup. “Or housing could be under the same child care cooperative.”
Bentrup said that she anticipates that the ten stakeholders in the cooperative will meet early in 2015.
“I think in 14 months we will have something planned, scheduled or running in Hettinger,” she said.
Current child care providers are encourage to be a part of the cooperative.
“This is perfect for providers who don’t want to run a business or providers who would like to expand but can’t afford a facility.