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Focus group considers childcare needs of county

VISIONING SESSION -- Jeff Yost of the Nebraska Community Foundation addresses those attending the childcare visioning session last week.
VISIONING SESSION — Jeff Yost of the Nebraska Community Foundation addresses those attending the childcare visioning session last week.
On Tuesday evening, Jan. 30, a group of about 30 county residents gathered at the Cardinal Inn conference center in Albion for a visioning meeting to discuss possible next steps that may be offered in child care and early childhood development.
It is the first of many conversations on childcare and early childhood development that are planned for Boone County organizations and individuals.
The Jan. 30 meeting was hosted by the Boone County Foundation Fund (BCFF) in partnership with the Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF).
Jeff Yost and Anders Olson of NCF led discussion and pointed out many accomplishments for Boone County in recent months.
Positive Developments
Positive childcare developments have included the start of an after school program, the Cardinal Kids Club, which began last fall at Boone Central. This program provides experiences in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for kindergarten through fifth grade students, and will extend into the summer of 2018.
Another positive step is a grant program provided by the Boone County Development Agency (BCDA) to assist childcare providers with start-up costs.
Most recently, licensed childcare providers have gained access to curriculum and materials for children in their care provided through a Youth Enhancement Grant, funded through the Boone County Foundation and the Nebraska Community Foundation.
The development and compilation of these curriculum tubs is being accomplished through the Career Academy Club at Boone Central Schools under the guidance of Lindsey Jarecki and Amanda Reinhart.
The materials will be available this spring to licensed providers through the Albion Public Library.
Lindsey Jarecki, who has coordinated much of the discussion and planning of early childhood programs over the past several years, presented data gathered from both parents and licensed childcare providers in the county.
No specific solutions were determined at this meeting, although a community-based solution was discussed. The meeting was intended as a positive effort to educate area business and organization leaders, and to increase involvement in finding possible solutions to the present childcare shortage in Boone County.
Details in the Feb. 7 Albion News Print and E-Editions.