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Daycare Bootcamp promotes in-home childcare businesses

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 1:54 PM EDT
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - A Lewis County agency was tasked with a tall order: find a solution to the area’s childcare shortage. The group has dreamed up a plan, but it knows a plan is only as good as the team you assemble.

In February, Lewis County Economic Development Executive Director Brittany Davis and her team were given a mountain of a job.

“Our county manager actually tasked us with coming up with childcare solutions in the county,” she said.

Easy to say, but harder to do.

“Out of approximately 3,700 children in Lewis County, there’s only about 470 regulated childcare spots within the county. So, there’s a huge need,” said Davis.

Their solution is called Daycare Bootcamp, a program designed to help people start their own in-home childcare business.

“It’s solving a childcare need by creating more smaller facilities throughout the county,” said Davis.

The plan isn’t limited to Lewis County.

Jefferson County Economic Development has agreed to split the program’s cost to bring it to its area, too.

To make the plan work, Davis has recruited a team.

The Community Action Planning Council in Watertown will help people with orientation and get people registered with the state.

“We could add 15 programs in each county for 5 years and still need more care, especially for infants and toddlers. We’re really short of care,” said Cathy Brodeur, Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project director.

The Daycare Bootcamp has two purposes: provide people places to watch their children, and create a new wave of entrepreneurs. For the second part, the Watertown Small Business Development Center is stepping up.

“We’ll literally walk through with each of them how to set up a tax ID, how to get liability insurance, what sort of legal questions you may have, how to do accounting,” said Elizabeth Lonergan, regional director, Watertown SBDC.

Jefferson Community College is pitching in, too. It will host orientations starting in June and people can sign up for them on JCC’s website.

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