NORTHWEST MINNESOTA CHILDCARE STRATEGIC PLAN
The child care availability crisis continues to negatively impact communities, businesses, children, and families across the 12 counties of Northwest Minnesota (NW MN). The NW MN region in 2017 had a shortfall of 2,916 child care slots needed to accommodate the estimated number of children under 6 with both parents working. Further, those 2017 figures illustrated an increase in the number of needed child care slots from the year prior, when 293 fewer slots were deemed necessary (2,623).
A gap-analysis completed by First Children’s Finance for the northwest region in June 2020 showed the region to be short 3,263 child care slots. Of the 93 zip codes examined for this analysis of NW MN, all but 21 had a deficit in child care slot availability. Ten zip codes are in need of 100 child care slots or more, and Bemidji is in need of 581. Beyond the number of needed child care slots that are unavailable, the region of NW MN itself is challenged by disparities in access to affordable quality child care for targeted groups.
Northwest Minnesota Foundation contracted me in October 2021 to facilitate a planning process that guides decision-making to sustain and increase the supply of quality child care in the region to support economic development.
I have been working with Michelle Landsverk, owner of Landsverk and Associates, Inc. for the past four years in several projects. She has proven herself to be an excellent resource and partner in many ways, most recently helping our child care collaborative through a strategic planning process. She has successfully facilitated discussions to help our team develop a unified vision, create intentional outcomes and advance our action steps to help us meet our goals! I would not hesitate to recommend Michelle if you or your group needs help moving forward to obtain your desired results.
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