Child care is a necessity for many parents and caregivers around the world. Access to affordable, high-quality child care can be a determining factor in a parent’s ability to join the labor force, pursue education, or live with less stress. Access to child care in Montana continues to be a barrier for families year after year. However, there is an opportunity for the community to take part in the solution.
Community collaboration is essential to developing effective child care solutions. By bringing together individuals, organizations, and institutions from various sectors, communities can leverage their collective resources and expertise to address the complex challenges of the child care industry. In this blog, we will explore the reasons why community collaboration is essential to developing child care solutions and provide examples and resources for you to consider in your community development work.
Community collaboration provides diverse perspectives and expertise.
Community collaboration can bring together diverse perspectives, which can lead to powerful outcomes. For example, in Missoula County, professionals from diverse organizations serving children and families came together with parents and caregivers to explore ways to increase parent involvement in community decision-making. This collaborative conversation led to the launch of the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), which trains and equips parents to be leaders of change in their community. PLTI continues to be overseen by a collaboration of organizations and parents, coordinated by Zero to Five Missoula. Learn more.
Community collaboration fosters innovation and creativity
Collaboration can spark innovation and creativity. By encouraging individuals to share their ideas and experiences, communities can generate new and innovative approaches to child care solutions. Did you know that the Child Care Innovation and Infrastructure Grant through the MT Department of Public Health & Human Services funded 31 organizations across 18 cities and towns in Montana including Bozeman, Browning, Hamilton, Ekalaka, Kalispell, and Dillon? To see if there is an effort in your area click here .
Community collaboration increases access to resources.
Collaboration can increase access to resources that are necessary for developing effective child care solutions. For example, Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies can offer training and support for child care providers and parents. Raise Montana provides access to resources and programs, for example, their Montana Shared Services includes substitute services for providers. Montana Child Care Business Connect, a program of Zero to Five Montana, can offer individualized support for child care business owners and communities to start, stabilize, and expand high-quality early care and education programs. By leveraging the resources of multiple collaborators, communities can build a more robust and sustainable child care system.
Community collaboration builds community trust and engagement.
By involving community members in the development of child care solutions, communities can build a sense of ownership and investment in the success of these solutions. Consider utilizing the community capacity support program from Montana Child Care Business Connect by reaching out to Shelby Whelan at email@example.com or learning more by visiting www.childcarebusinessconnect.com
By providing diverse perspectives and expertise, fostering innovation and creativity, increasing access to local Montana resources, building community trust and engagement, communities can help to address the complex challenges of the child care industry and move Montana forward into becoming an example state of what a successful, rural-friendly child care ecosystem can look like.
– Shelby Whelan, Community Navigator