Future: A time to plan for, a chance to succeed
What is the future of child care in Calaveras County? Are we prepared for a growing, changing population? Are we planning for our children’s success? Are we forming the partnerships that could provide ongoing funding?
The future of child care may be the most important issue facing our community today. Readily available, affordable, quality child care effects every private citizen, business person, educator and government representative in Calaveras County.
Access to child care allows parents to remain in the work force, pursue educational opportunities and availa themselves of job training. Access to quality child care allows children to benefit from learning environments with trained adults, socialization with other children and adults, and to develop the skills necessary to become effective citizens.
The future of child care in Calaveras County is at risk. Continuing economic pressures caused by rising costs and shrinking revenues are undermining this critical support system. We can’t continue to rely solely on federal and state funding to support existing programs or hope that they will provide the additional programs we need. As in so many other aspects of our lives, we are responsible for our own future and that of our children.
More infant/toddler child care programs are needed in Calaveras County. Early childhood programs (preschool) must be able to meet the needs of our young learners. After school programs are limited in both location and spaces available.
Every child needs to enter society with the tools to become a productive citizen. As a community we need to raise awareness of the problems surrounding child care, embrace the need for solutions and provide the funding to support the necessary programs. Whether you are a private citizen, business owner, politician, or educator you can become involved.
The Calaveras Child Care Council can use your insight and ideas for ways to involve the whole community in removing the barriers to child care.
From training for parents and child care providers, to licensing, referral services and economic support, private/public partnerships offer great potential for alternative funding. As government funding shrinks, private programs must fill in the gap.
The future of child care offers employers a unique opportunity. Employee productivity, attendance, and vacation scheduling frequently revolve around child care. In many areas employers are solving their own problems by assisting with improved access to varied child care options. Whether it take the form of child care offered at the work place or flexible hours, attention to employee child care needs can only benefit the employer.
Developers can benefit from the increased value of their projects, whether homes or business parks, by planning child care facilities into the development. Community organization such as senior citizen groups, religious and service organizations can assist by providing facilities are low costs, assits with fund raising, donating badly needed equipment, organizing mentoring programs and offering their voices as advocates in the community.
It is time to take the opportunity change the way our community provides for our children. Time to expand private and public efforts to support families . Time to ensure the availability of higher quality child care and early education development programs so children enter school ready to learn while parents work to support them. Time to join together as one because “it takes a village to raise a child.”
Barriers to Child Care
Barriers to child care come in some unexpected forms. Parents seeking care may find waiting lists, location, hours of operation and costs as barriers. The child care provider is up against everything from zoning, licensing requirements, neighbourhood/homeowner association approval to attitudes about children in child care. In addition the operational challenges range from high employee turnover to the costs associated with maintenance of facilities.
What can you do to help?
The opportunities for involvement with child care are endless. Whether you choose to work with the Calaveras Child Care Council or with providers in your community, personal involvement is both rewarding and effective.
Your voice as an advocate for children and child care can help people understand that children are our future not their problem. An awareness of the issues surrounding child care in your neighbourhood, business community and the county at large can help you to steer public opinion to one of support for children. As an advocate you can assist both public and private child care facilities, either financially with fund raising projects, or by volunteering your time.
If you are an employer, consider child care issues when planning your work schedules and facilities. Be public with a positive attitude toward child care in your community.
These are only a few of the ways you can choose to become involved. Be an asset to the future of your community – join the Calaveras Child Care Council and help the community build the resources that families need to care for their children.