New partnership in Green Bay aims to recruit new childcare providers

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – The goal of a new partnership in Green Bay is to recruit new childcare providers.

Local leaders say Brown County lost more than 600 slots for childcare during the pandemic, but they hope a new plan to use federal dollars will help.

The lack of childcare spots throughout the area is being called a crisis.

“It is, it is. I mean, we do referrals for parents who are looking for childcare, and we give them a list and they call back because there’s no openings and then they call back again because they can’t find care,” said Paula Brees, executive director of the Family and Childcare Resource Center of Northeast Wisconsin. “And then if you’re looking at things like second shift care, or before and after school care, it’s even worse.”

Brees said childcare was a struggle before the pandemic and it’s only gotten worse.

“We lost over 600 slots in Brown County and we didn’t have those slots to lose,” said Brees.

With the help of Brown County United Way, Brees is turning her attention to people who are currently taking care of a few kids at home to see if they’d like to become regulated, which in turn, could mean more spots for childcare.

In Wisconsin, anyone who takes care of four or more children that are unrelated to them needs to be regulated. However, there are some fees that Brees said they can help with thanks to a $100,000 check from the City of Green Bay.

“These dollars are provided through the American Rescue Plan Act. As a sector that’s really been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, this makes a lot of sense to be making this investment in this place,” said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich. “The point of it really is to get unregulated providers into that regulated space and licensed space.”

The pandemic-relief federal dollars could help unregulated childcare providers push through some barriers that may be preventing them from becoming regulated in the first place.

“What we’re looking at today can be anything as simple as providing the dollars for family childcare to repair a fence, repair a doorway, to pay license fees, and once again, things that seem very minor but are big are a big deal,” said Robyn Davis, President and CEO of Brown County United Way.

“If somebody’s starting a business, they don’t have the income yet to be able to help with that so we’re hoping that these dollars will be able to help with some of those fees,” said Brees.

Local leaders believe it could also lead to economic development.

“I think we’re kind of addressing two issues at one time with workforce challenges and these childcare complications by offering the opportunity for people who have returned home to actually open up their home and to other children and families and to provide this really vital service,” said Genrich.

The funds are available now, so if you are considering becoming a licensed childcare provider in the area, Brees said you should call them at (920) 432-8899.

“We will be able to help them no matter what so whether they’re in the City of Green Bay or they’re in Brown County, we still will have some dollars that can help them. These dollars are designated for the city, but we have some other dollars that are going to be for Brown County in general,” said Brees.

“I think it’s absolutely just a start. It’s also kind of a pilot, right. So depending upon how successful this program is, I think the hope is that we could demonstrate the need for additional investment from the state level or from the federal government into some of these initiatives,” said Genrich.

Source link

Related Articles