By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Day Without Child Care held May 13
Child Care

NEW GLARUS — On Monday, May 13, around 100 community members and elected officials gathered to learn and talk about child care as a critical part of our infrastructure in order to have thriving communities now and in the future. 

Olivia Otte, Green County Development Corporation Executive Director; Theresa Keehn, United Way of Green County Executive Director; and Sam Rikkers Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Deputy Secretary and COO, kicked off the event speaking out about the partnerships they have with the Green County Child Care Network members.

Those partnerships create and allocate grants that meet the needs of the child care businesses in Green County. These grants ensure that employers in the community have more available employees and ensure their children are better prepared for life. 

The speakers talked about the grants following successes: opening more  regulated programs, increased quality as over 70 child care professionals earned 1,500 professional development hours. Those development hours emphasized the social emotional development and inclusion of all children. Seven more programs accept Wisconsin Shares subsidy for lower income families. 

The latest round of WEDC grants with a match from the Only in Wisconsin Giving is ameliorating radon, capital improvements, bonuses for completions of credentials and degrees, and maintaining or improving quality. Only in Wisconsin also awarded GCCCN $15,000 for professional development.  

Shawn Phetteplace from Main Street Alliance spoke about small businesses taking leadership roles in advocating for investments and that they are supporting and encouraging small business owners to run for local office. 

Following the economic piece were State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly and Heather DuBois Bourenane, Wisconsin Public Education Network, who both talked about how child care is vital for a healthy public K-12 system. 

One of the main reasons teachers consistently answer for why they leave teaching is lack of child care for their own children. Furthermore, child care programs care for and educate the youngest children, ensuring they have caring nurturing educational environments that lays the necessary social, emotional, and pre-academic skills necessary to lower remedial and special education costs to our school system. 

Jeff Pertl, Deputy Secretary of Department of Children and Families spoke about the Evers Administration’s emphasis on “what’s best for kids is what’s best for our state,” and the importance of ensuring the educators who care for and educate the children in their programs need to be paid a living wage to attract and retain high quality staff, but not out-price the parents ability to pay. 

Other speakers were: 

●  Secretary of State Sarah Godlewski who mentioned child care as imperative for her to have done her work as Treasurer and now Secretary and the critical role it plays in all our society’s ability to function. 

●  Sue Nelson who shared her story of how this is not a new issue and continues to impact our communities, and how as a Green County Supervisor she supported GCDC’s work.  

●  Rep. Jacobson who talked about her own children and the state’s legislative body’s inaction and Republican party’s consistent unanimous votes against continuing to fund Child Care Counts, and how she is working to ensure that the next budget includes investment. 

●  Sarah Kazell, child care professional, talked about her inability to get health care, low wages, and necessity of working multiple jobs to make ends meet, but also that she refuses to believe that it is her fault and be embarrassed. Instead, it is society’s fault for allowing the government’s inaction, and that we must all come together to advocate for thriving wages, a just and equitable system for every child and family to access the care they want and need at an affordable price.

— Why Child Care Matters is a series written by local childcare providers. Corrine Hendrickson runs Corrine’s Little Explorers child care center in New Glarus. 

Child Care