Grand Forks social commission discusses child care
In a YMCA gym Thursday evening, a group of parents, child care providers and other community members identified infant child care as one of the top needs in Grand Forks.
The discussion was at the Grand Forks Blue Ribbon Commission on Social Infrastructure’s first public input meeting, which focused on child care, including what child care options are available in town, how affordable those options are and what is necessary for those options to be of good quality.
“Although child care is a business, it needs to be a business focused on caring, not just storage for our children,” said City Council member Bret Weber, a chairman of the social-infrastructure commission.
Weber added that through the commission’s research, he has learned that Grand Forks “isn’t in terrible shape” for child care, but improvements could be made. The city’s growth could mean problems if child care options are not readied for that, he said.
Child care is one of several topics the social-infrastructure commission has discussed since beginning its work in May. The commission’s goals include identifying social needs in Grand Forks and possible solutions.
“Child care was always No. 1 on the committee’s priority list,” said Grand Forks County Commissioner Diane Knauf, a chairwoman of the social infrastructure commission.
Several parents and child-care providers at the meeting stressed the local need for infant care.
Jen Beck, owner of All About Kids child-care center in Grand Forks, said she normally has 30 to 40 infants on her waiting lists, and she knows she won’t be able to provide care to all of them.
Others shared their difficulties seeking infant child care.
Beck said her experience is similar to that of most child-care providers in Grand Forks, and it’s the norm for parents to get on every child-care center’s waiting list.
Another woman agreed, saying she knows parents who have quit their jobs to start their own home child-care service because they couldn’t find affordable child care.
Others said parents need more education on child-care options.
Holly Nett of Child Care Aware said it’s that organization’s job to provide that information to parents.
Child Care Aware’s child care provider database can be found at www.ndchildcare.org.
Several other child care problems were discussed at the public forum. For more information on the social infrastructure commission, visit www.grandforksgov.com.