GFDA publishes study on childcare; Family Connections launches Childcare Connect Montana

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The Great Falls Development Authority has published its childcare study.

The GFDA hired Camoin Associates to assess the child care needs in the Great Falls area and “determine if a new day care center (or facilities) could be supported given current and forecasted demand and requirements. the existing availability of daycare centers in the city, ”according to the report.

The study examined demographic and socioeconomic trends, existing child care options and demand for child care based on a survey as well as interviews with people working in the child care field. ‘children.

“Overall, the research concluded that there is a serious shortage of child care capacity in the city of Great Falls and that unmet demand may support the addition of several new child care centers. Existing daycares in Great Falls are unable to meet existing demand and, as a result, have long waiting lists, ”according to the report. Local daycares are at full capacity and wait times can be up to a year, according to the report.

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Lack of child care services leaves many unable to return to work, and some use friends, family and other non-traditional options.

The study revealed a need for around 580 childcare places in the city as well as a strong interest and a strong demand for new childcare facilities.

There was a dearth of child care facilities and options before COVID-19, but the pandemic has exacerbated the problem, according to the report.

The report cites the impact of child care services on the Montana workforce from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, which found that 43% of licensed daycares in Montana closed their doors in immediate response to COVID.

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Demand for childcare services is also expected to increase in the region, as the number of children tends to increase and there is evidence of a recent increase in the birth rate, according to the report.

Starting new daycares is a challenge, mainly in terms of staff and funding, according to the report.

In response to existing childcare challenges, Family ties, located in Great Falls, and Raise Montana have teamed up to launch an alternate staffing service, Connect Montana child care.

Childcare Connect Montana is looking to recruit people with a passion for child care and education.

“Replacement service is a great option, no matter if you are a student, retiree, teacher, caregiver in daycare or school, former childcare professional or anyone who wants to work with children. and have flexible hours, ”according to Family Connexions.

Alternates do not need any previous childcare experience and receive a $ 300 enrollment bonus in compensation for any required training hours. Those interested in becoming a replacement are encouraged to text “Sub” to 59925, email [email protected], or visit Raisemt.org to learn more and apply.

“Whether daycare workers are sick, need personal time off, go on maternity leave, or want training while on the job, there is often no one to replace. or provide appropriate coverage in classrooms. Too often, daycare teachers arrive at work sick, make the decision to forgo time off and neglect or push themselves beyond their limits, ”said Charrisse Jennings, consultant for the 5 STARS region and professional development specialist at Family Connections in a statement. .

The 2020 Early Years Workforce Index showed that the 4,380 people of Montana’s early years workforce are responsible for caring for and educating Montana’s 74,016 children. ages zero to five.

Childcare Connect Montana seeks to increase the early years and education workforce by fully training individuals and linking them directly to local child care providers. Paying for new staff to be fully trained, according to Family Connections, is often an expensive and time-consuming barrier for child care programs.


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