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Nobles County to host event for potential child care providers

The county is in the midst of a historic shortage of child care. A study conducted by First Children’s Finance on behalf of the City of Worthington in 2021 found a shortage of 500-700 child care slots, with 48% of the need in infant and toddler categories.

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WORTHINGTON — Nobles County will host an open house for individuals interested in becoming child care providers from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29, at the JBS Field House, 700 Second Ave., Worthington.

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Applications made at the Nobles County Recorder's Office.

The event is open to anyone interested in becoming a child care provider in Nobles County and will offer a casual atmosphere for learning how people can get started as child care providers. Light refreshments will be available, along with interpretation services.

The county is in the midst of a historic shortage of child care. A study conducted by First Children’s Finance on behalf of the City of Worthington in 2021 found a shortage of 500-700 child care slots, with 48% of the need in infant and toddler categories.

The shortage’s effects are especially severe for young families. In Nobles County, reports of families working split shifts, having to leave children alone with older siblings and dropping out of the labor force due to a lack of child care have been reported by local social services agencies, parents and employers.

Earlier this year, Nobles County contracted with Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA), a Chatfield-based economic development organization, to work with stakeholders, providers, cities and other community partners on the issue. Currently, the county is developing a partnership with First Children’s Finance and the Southwest Initiative Foundation through the Rural Child Care Innovation Program.

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This 18-month initiative will include community outreach, town hall meetings and the development of a strategic action plan for the community.

The county also created a task force dedicated to child care, bringing together cities, local employers, child care providers, school districts and nonprofit organizations.

A child care newsletter is now distributed monthly, aimed at engaging licensed family child care providers by listing upcoming trainings, community events, business tips, and spotlighting providers so they can get to know each other. The county also hosted a grant application night for providers to apply for the Child Care Aware Regional Grants. Next spring, there will be an appreciation banquet for providers.

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