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Early Childhood Coalition celebrates child care providers

The Cook County Early Childhood Coalition works to provide services for children from birth to six years old. One of the concerns identified by this group is the shortage of child care in the community. The coalition is working to find creative solutions and two events are coming up that the group wants people to know about.

The first is a Child Care Provider Appreciation Event on Thursday, February 17. This is an online event to which about 30 child care providers have received special invitations. Thanks to a grant from the Northland Foundation, a small gift will also be delivered to providers. Members of the Cook County Early Childhood Coalition, like Bill Hansen, who spoke to WTIP about the event, explain that this event is a small way to show appreciation for child care providers who have been essential workers throughout the pandemic—long before. Hansen noted that child care providers don’t take on this job to get rich, they do it because they care about the children. He said they are vital to the wellbeing of our community in many ways.

The other event that the early childhood coalition hopes will garner broad community support is a community town hall titled Child Care Solutions for Cook County on March 14 from 6:30 – 7 p.m. The event will be online and links will be available on the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and the Cook County Higher Education websites. The event and the ongoing work of the coalition are funded by the First Children’s Finance Rural Childcare Innovation Program.

For more information on efforts to create child care options in Cook Count, contact Nancie Deming of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at (218) 595-0600 or by email to: ndeming@sawtoothmountainclinic.org. Information on the Cook County Early Childhood Coalition can also be found on Facebook.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence speaks with coalition member Bill Hansen about these events and about the current child care situation in the county in this interview.