Wis. Dept. of Children and Families secretary checks in with Dream Up! grant recipients

Daycare Dilemma
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 6:00 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Nine months after community groups around Wisconsin received grant funds to come up with unique solutions to address child care challenges, the Marathon County group is giving the state an update on progress.

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Sec. Emilie Amundson sat down with the community team Friday to hear what they have heard, learned, and began to target as areas with the most need. Members, which included people from the Woodson YMCA, Childcaring, Wausau’s mayor, the area chamber of commerce, and the county health department, said it took some time for everyone to get on the same page with different lingo between areas of expertise, and to fully understand the complex problem in Marathon County.

Once that happened, they determined the focus, to start, should be on retaining the child care providers they already have in the community.

“What I heard loud and clear in Marathon County this morning is, we can’t skip over the fact that we are losing capacity for centers that have been tested and true members of our community, you know, for decades,” Sec. Amundson said. “And so the idea and the recognition of starting by retaining the high-quality centers, the high-quality childcare educators that we have in our communities is, is first and foremost to how we stabilize the childcare industry.”

Community groups awarded the Dream Up! grant received money to brainstorm solutions and begin putting them into action. In Marathon County’s case, they’ll begin focusing a lot of their grant dollars to outreach, resources, training, and direct funding to some child care programs to help with teacher retention and business needs. The goal for achieving these objects is set for November.

To learn more about the complexities of child care challenges in north central Wisconsin, find stories from our Daycare Dilemma here.