Dream Up! grant team lays out steps taken towards assessing, improving childcare in Lincoln County
For the Tomahawk Leader
LINCOLN COUNTY – After Lincoln County received a state grant aimed at assessing and improving childcare in the county, a local team laid out steps it has taken to do so.
The Dream Up! Child Care Supply-Building Grant Program, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF), has awarded communities strategic planning support and $75.000.00 in grant funding. Additional $5,000.00 stipends were allocated to participating childcare providers that submitted updated business plans during the strategic planning process.
“Through a collaborative community approach, teams of community stakeholders will work to evaluate, plan, sustain and expand existing childcare and support new childcare programs,” DCF stated.
A Friday, Nov. 10 release from the Lincoln County Administration Department said the county was selected by DCF for the fall 2022 cohort of grant funding.
In the 12 months since the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution officially accepting the grant dollars, agencies throughout the county have come together to assess Lincoln County’s childcare capacity and the economic impact of childcare shortages. The agencies have also worked to support current and aspiring childcare providers.
The Lincoln County Dream Up! Team showcased their efforts for DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson on Friday, Nov. 10. Amundson toured Trinity Childcare in Merrill and heard from team members about the successes of community collaborative efforts, barriers to building the childcare supply and future hopes.
The release said the Dream Up! grant has allowed Lincoln County to:
- Provide $41,000.00 in retention and sustainability grants to current Lincoln County providers. These funds helped obtain quality and safe equipment providers otherwise couldn’t afford, provided staff bonuses, purchased large motor skills equipment (tricycles), outdoor playground toys and met other essential needs.
- Partner with Trinity Childcare to support training needs of staff to meet regulations to support obtaining licensure. This will allow greater access to those who receive WI Shares, the state child care assistance.
- Support both Tomahawk and Merrill schools, which are working toward providing high school students curriculum where students can receive college credit and training towards Early Childhood Education.
- Collaborate with the Chambers of Commerce in Tomahawk and Merrill to provide educational outreach to multiple nonprofit organizations and businesses to support increasing childcare capacity. This included sharing information from a locally-conducted survey.
- Support the Lincoln County Health Department in providing a Community Baby Shower that provided care packages and access to community resources that address childcare, child safety and healthy development.
- Partner with Langlade County Dream Up! Team to develop marketing and support the counties’ shared childcare resource agency, Childcaring Inc., who now hosts a landing page for our teams. Childcaring can provide information regarding how to become regulated, funding available to support the process of becoming regulated, information for people looking for childcare and more.
“While the grant is wrapping up, the Lincoln County Dream Up! Team will continue to work with our community to support our current and aspiring providers,” the release stated.
Visit www.Childcaring.org/dreamup for more information on the Lincoln County Dream Up! Team’s efforts.