During a nationwide pandemic, child care has never felt more important than now. Parents need reassurance that their child will be safe in their learning environment while also knowing they’re in excellent hands.
As homeschooling becomes more feasible this school year, so has in-home child care providing.
After receiving over $50,000 in grant money, the Richland County Child Care Connect Committee focused their efforts on increasing child care provider slots in the community after losing spots due to the pandemic.
Funded through the Richland County Foundation, Women’s Fund and Youth and Family Council, Richland County Job and Family Services wants to help parents and guardians through these uncertain times as they navigate through finding a new structure for their child to grow on an educational level.
“It's stressful because they need to go to work,” said Sharlene Neumann, director of overseeing child care subsidies. “They need to be employed and that's a stressful situation to be in when you're not sure where you're going to place your kids.”
For those who love working with kids or want to see their kids excel at home, Richland County Job and Family Services offers the opportunity for adults to become licensed in-home child care providers.
Adults with verification of a high school education that meet criteria can sign up to become a Type B Family Child Care (FCC), Provider. Type B in-home providers are licensed to care for up to six children. Currently, there are 40 Child Care Type B Providers in Richland County.
“If we have adequate, safe, reliable child care that's accessible to all then we can get more individuals into high demand, high wage career pathways… which could lead to employee and fringe benefits,” said Teresa Alt, executive director of Richland County Youth and Family Council. “It could lead to employment with a career pathway that includes opportunities for advancement. It could lead to training that would increase their wages. And that's really what we're looking for.”
Melissa Canada, became a Type B in-home provider for her two children when they were very young, working with Richland County Job and Family services.
“The caseworkers are amazing at helping get the parents approved quickly for daycare,” Canada said. “I've never had any issues. They always are right on their job to be very helpful and do what they need to do so people can get assistance for child care.”
Canada anticipated only doing in-home child care until her two children were old enough to go to public school. She didn’t expect to still be hard at work and invested 18 years later with her own company—Melissa Canada FCC—however it’s proven to be the most rewarding job in her life.
“You can do your own hours and be with your children, and it's just simply great and amazing with the new systems the state has come up with,” Canada said. “Depending on where you go on the star level you actually have access to resources so you can track the children's growth and development, and it's so fun and exciting to see how fast they learn and how much they grow, especially from the newborn to preschool age. The transformation that takes place in that age group is phenomenal.”
The recent grant funds allow the Child Care Connect Committee to be able to provide additional support to in-home providers. These funds help aspiring providers begin the process as well as assist aspiring and current providers to achieve their star rating through both technical assistance and financial support.
To find out if you qualify to become a licensed in-home child care provider, visit the Richland County Job and Family website, call 419-774-5430 or message the Richland County Child Care Connect on Facebook.