Community Heroes Expand Childcare With Creative Ideas

Community Heroes Expand Childcare With Creative Ideas Main Photo

18 Mar 2024

News, Childcare

The lack of adequate childcare is an issue that community leaders across the U.S. are stepping up to solve. In their respective areas of the nation, economic developers and community leaders are closing resource gaps in unique, creative ways.

Thayer County Expanded Childcare While Investing Back into the Community

The Spring Creek Kids Center in Thayer County, Nebraska was created to simultaneously provide childcare solutions while stimulating the local economy. The new facility, set to open in May 2024, has enough space to accommodate 50 children. They have pledged to hire local employees and pay them a fair wage, an important step for maximizing the economic impact.

County officials chose a vacant building in need of repair for the center’s new home. They plan to save money and construction resources by refurbishing the space and transforming it into something new.

Businesses Are Working Together in Devils Lake

While Devil’s Lake, ND, has a small population of 7,000 residents, it has nearly 30 childcare facilities to choose from.  To support businesses with childcare needs, the city partnered with Eventide Heartland, a local business that has an on-site childcare center. Eventide Heartland allows other small businesses in the area to use their childcare facility during working hours. In communities that lack space for childcare facilities, having multiple businesses come together to offer their employees childcare in one location, based on who has excess physical space, is a strategic idea.

The city recognizes that childcare not only supports working parents but often attracts new business development in the area. Organizations looking for relocation opportunities are more likely to settle where there are already childcare resources available – otherwise, they could lose a significant part of their workforce. Fortunately, local businesses agree and are stepping up to help.

Finding Creative Solutions to Build New Space

When the Faulkton Area Out-of-School Program (FAOSP) obtained its license in 2014, they were unable to find a facility to accommodate the 40 children in their care. As the only licensed childcare provider in Faulkton County, finding the right space was critical.

After moving locations several times, the FAOSP realized that their only option was to build a new facility or face the possibility of shutting down. When a vacant lot was donated for their project, FAOSP took the risk of starting construction. They launched a community-wide campaign to raise funds for the building, receiving federal grants and even a $60,000 interest-free loan from a local family. The new building, which opened in December 2023, now cares for 115 children.

Using Technology for Sustainable Childcare Initiatives

The Botetourt County board was searching for a long-term solution for childcare expansion and found Wonderschool. Wonderschool is a software that supports childcare providers to become licensed and trained, as well as providing an online platform for home-based childcare services. Botetourt leaders realized that by investing in Wonderschool’s technology, they could provide local facilities with an incredibly streamlined process to open and run more daycare centers. Botetourt County childcare facilities are now able to focus on providing quality care without the burden of administrative tasks.

These local leaders have demonstrated creativity and resilience despite the increasing challenge of childcare expansion. To learn more about these and other case studies, you can explore our "childcare shortages" whitepaper here.