Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 28, 2013

The quest for quality child care

Area parents face obstacles in finding child care for their children.

(Continued)

Jill Russell, a level four licensed home provider In Kokomo, said she tries to keep her rates affordable for families even if it means she will never get rich.

She said her weekly rates for child care have only increased by $14 in the last 19 years.

And Russell reminds parents from time to time that she doesn’t baby sit. Parents could find a teenager willing to baby sit for $10 an hour.

The care Russell provides goes far beyond that. She’s providing a curriculum that’s on par with what kids would learn at a preschool, she said.

“I’m very serious about my job,” she said. “I don’t sit on babies. I stopped doing that after high school.”

The staff at Child Care Solutions said quality child care is the most important community issue that never gets talked about.

They are trying to bring it to the forefront here, especially in the rural counties.

They are reaching out to community leaders in Tipton and Miami counties. Their hope is help some of the unregulated providers there become licensed by the state. They would also love to help people start child care businesses there, they said.

“We would like to build that supply up for families,” Kanable said.

She said Child Care Solutions would like to see the community come up with more creative solutions to the cost issue.

In other areas, businesses sponsor child care discounts for employees. Or sometimes a business will rent one of their buildings to a child care provider for $1 a month, so the provider can cut costs and offer cheaper rates.

Maybe one day, child care centers will receive more support from the state, too.

Indiana Sen. Travis Holdman said he could see the state’s Paths to Quality rating system becoming the foundation for early childhood education here, especially if the state department of education doesn’t want to take it over.

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