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Grand Marais child care facility could close due to staffing shortage

There are a number of efforts underway at this time to try to find a solution to the lack of child care in the community. Local schools, the Cook County YMCA, and local government organizations are seeking a way to fill this gap for young families.

For many parents, the Cooperation Station in Grand Marais has been the answer. The daycare has an enrollment of 17 children from 12 families.

However, Cooperation Station needs providers or it may have to close its doors.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Allison Plummer, a Cooperation Station parent and board member, who also works at Cook County Public Health as a financial assistance supervisor, about the situation at the daycare.

Plummer said the Cooperation Station director resigned and her last day was January 14. The daycare’s lead teacher has also submitted her resignation, effective February 4. Plummer said the employees are leaving on good terms for other opportunities and the Cooperation Station board wishes them all the best.

However, the departures leave only one staffer and the Cooperation Station is looking at various ways to keep the daycare open.

Ideally, the facility would like to hear from someone who wants to work as a daycare provider long-term. But in the meantime, they are hoping for someone to come forward at least temporarily. Another scenario is that Cooperation Station parents could be asked to work at the daycare for a few hours each day.

If the daycare closes, families will have to find other arrangements. Some parents are able to work remotely, but many cannot. Spouses can split child care duties, but it likely means missing work. Or, worse, leaving a job. “That is the last thing we want to see happen,” said Plummer, “We need to find a way to support our families so they can keep working.”

Plummer encourages anyone interested in child care to reach out to the Cooperation Station for information by email: cooperationstationboard@gmail.com or call (773) 213-7545


The challenge facing families seeking child care for their children is nothing new. WTIP explored community concerns about the lack of safe, consistent child care in the county in a series called Childcare Challenges in Cook County back in 2018-19