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  • Writer's pictureBranch County Community Foundation

Our Impact: Child Care Network

Our Impact is a series of articles highlighting stories from our recent annual report in which we share some of the ways we've invested in our communities over our last fiscal year. We hope you find inspiration in these stories of needs met, people helped, organizations supported, and lives changed.

 


Child Care Network

Quality and affordable childcare has been an issue in Branch County for several years. After the height of the pandemic in 2020, there was a significant drop in in-home childcare providers. With a recent grant to the Child Care Network, the Community Foundation is helping meet this critical need in our community.


In August 2022, the Branch County Community Foundation saw an opportunity to fund efforts to increase licensed providers in Branch County. The Community Foundation made a grant to Child Care Network to assist with the costs associated with opening licensed childcare. Within six months, the program was supporting the application process of a new in-home childcare program in Bronson, which would be licensed to provide childcare for twelve children.


Throughout the licensing process, the grant funds were instrumental in enabling the applicant to submit the application and pay for associated costs, including; the license application fee, required health and CPR and safety training, and furnace inspection.




The applicant encountered a potential hiccup in the form of a required $200 zoning application fee. The fee was nonrefundable with no guarantee of zoning approval. Without the funds to risk on this potential loss, the applicant’s licensing process could not continue. The Community Foundation Grant funding allowed the Child Care Network to cover the zoning application fee, and the provider attended the zoning meeting to advocate for approval.


During the meeting, there was pushback from some residents in the community concerned with the potential of additional traffic and the visual impact of having additional play equipment in the applicant’s yard.


Ultimately, the zoning board approved the application and stated there was a great need for childcare in the community, and it outweighed the presented concerns. With this approval, the provider was able to complete the licensing orientation and have her final inspection, which led to the issuance of a new active childcare program in Branch County.



With additional grants available for pre-licensure, the Community Foundation grant allows funding for these programs to get started right away. Most pre-licensure grants require some extra legwork, and then after approval, they get the funding, which can then be used to cover the costs. So, while those are also great, being able to leverage the Community Foundation grant for funding costs right up front for these applicants is so beneficial!
— Kristy Wood, Child Care Network

 

Read more about the impact we're making in Branch County and Colon in our 2022 Annual Report and see what your donation dollars can achieve when you partner with the Branch County Community Foundation.



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