Child Care Committee finalizes recommendations

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The report now goes onto the full Assembly for review.

    The recommendations include finding public facilities that might be used including school facilities and other publicly owned facilities for child care programs, establishment of a revolving loan fund for start-up and on-going programs, funding the Best Starts model so that the program would prioritize an increase in capacity, and the CBJ Administration creating an implementation plan for funding in the 2021 fiscal year budget.

    They also urge the Assembly to consider funds for child care programs in the 2020 fiscal year budget.  There will be a request for proposal process to evaluate proposals for child care.

    The loan programs would be zero of low interest  One of the challenges for child care programs has been the upfront costs of facilities through a lengthy licensing process.  Another has been profitability and getting enough children.  Finding and retaining qualified staff was listed as another hurdle.

    "We are opening the door in a variety of ways to support programs," Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss said, "Through the RFP process we will know more."

    "It has been a very valuable conversation.  A really nice team came together and Chairman Jones made a huge difference in guiding the process."

    She said grants could be made available to help out child care programs.  "We have done a good job creating avenues.  There are different ways to do it for different groups, depending on what they want."

    Mayor Beth Weldon established the committee and asked them to provide the Assembly a framework of options for addressing two key questions,, should childcare be part of the core municipal funded activities and to what extent, if any, should education be part of child care.

    "Kudos to the group.  You melded together very quickly as a team.  The conversations were always very productive.  I truly appreciate it and I think you have a pretty good product."

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