child care access study

Feedback will be sought from child care providers, parents, businesses

Experiences that children have in the first years of life set the foundation for long-term health, school success and life skill development. With a commitment to improve access to high quality child care for all families, the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) to study the feasibility of an early education Shared Services Network for our community. This type of network allows child care providers to share administrative resources so they can focus their time and energy on what matters most — the children and families they serve. To date, WECA has facilitated Shared Services Network launches in Vernon/Monroe, Dane and Milwaukee Counties.

Parents across Dodge and Jefferson County report that affordable, high quality child care is hard to find. In recent years, a number of providers have closed or are at risk of closure due to financial and staffing challenges. A shortage of affordable, high quality care threatens our workforce and local economy, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exasperated these challenges.

So what can be done to ensure high quality child care is available for all families in Dodge and Jefferson counties?

A Shared Service Network provides members with resources including technology-driven back office tools, a shared substitute teaching pool, discounted joint purchasing, and collaborative professional development opportunities. Shared services can help child care businesses become stronger and more financially efficient while improving quality care for children. By pooling resources and staff, a shared service network frees up time and money that can be dedicated to quality programming and higher wages for child care professionals.

Bringing a child care shared service network to a community would involve multiple stakeholders — child care providers, community organizations and business partners. The Shared Services Network Feasibility Study will include:

We invite partners and individuals in our community to engage in this important study. Here’s how you can help:

We are excited to embark on this feasibility study in partnership with members of the Every Child Thrives community to inform future investments in early care and education. Please contact Melinda Mueller to commit to any of the above activities or with any questions you may have.
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