A Holy Family Hospital campaign to help people open day-care centers in their homes could become a national model.
The hospital, working with neighborhood groups, state Sen. Lisa Brown and day-care providers, is trying to set up a child-care training center, Holy Family administrator Linda Crabtree said.
The training center would teach people how to set up a day-care facility in their home. The training would likely include everything from accounting tips to CPR.
The center would be unique, Crabtree said.
Crabtree and a local day-care association are negotiating with several national corporations for start-up money.
“Something great is going to happen,” Crabtree said.
Day care availability is lacking in Nevada-Lidgerwood and other North Side neighborhoods, according to Kathy Thamm, director of Family Care Resources, a day-care placement service.
Most day-care centers are now in homes, often run by parents with young children. But those providers make poor wages and many are hesitant to open in low-income areas because state and federal subsidies don’t cover full costs.
The center wouldn’t solve the problem of low wages, but it could give day-care providers free toys and equipment, along with training.
Thamm is enthusiastic about the proposed center because it could be an enticing resource for potential providers.
Crabtree and Thamm are exploring other ways to encourage in-home day cares, including a low- or no-interest loan program.
Providers often have a hard time getting needed start-up loans, said Thamm. Banks shy away from lending to providers because day cares often make little money.
“Banks just aren’t interested in them,” said Thamm.
Seattle has a lending program, but charges interest rates.
Brown supports the effort to open more day-care centers in low-income neighborhoods, and said she will bring attention to the issue in the Legislature. She expects day care to be a key issue when welfare reform is discussed this session.
The federal welfare reform bill cut aid to people with kids, so day care is an increased necessity.
“A lot of people are expected to be in the work force and by definition they have children,” said Brown, who represents much of north Spokane.
She said she will try to convince fellow legislators to set aside money for day care.
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