LEWIS COUNTTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Lewis County has implemented a new program to help address an ongoing childcare shortage in the region.

Lewis County Economic Development, the Lewis County Planning Department, the Community Action Planning Council, Jefferson Community College and the Small Business Development Center are implementing the North Country Regulated Home Day Care Training Bootcamp. This program will help to educate and launch new regulated in-home day care facilities in Lewis County and will utilize local organizations, facilities and funds to mitigate the childcare shortage.

According to Lewis County Economic Development, a report that was issued in 2019 by the Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country, identified 86% of census tracts in the region as “childcare deserts;” meaning that there is “not enough childcare to meet local needs.”

Specifically, in Lewis County County, there are 7.8 children for each available regulated childcare slot and 94% of the county is considered a childcare desert. I

“We recognize that parents need to have high-quality childcare options if they are going to be able to work,” said Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project Director Cathy Brodeur. “CAPC is grateful for this partnership to build childcare capacity, and to launch a new cohort of childcare businesses to contribute to Lewis County’s prosperity. This initiative is an investment in success for children, families, and employers.” 

The North Country Regulated Home Day Care Training Bootcamp is free to all participants and will include guidance from CAPC, JCC and the SBDC to become a licensed in-home daycare.

Additionally, students will be offered a childcare stipend to attend classes, and newly registered and licensed providers will be eligible to participate in an additional free three-credit course to earn a JCC Certificate of Completion.

Starting in June, The program will also consist of two parts. Both are listed below:

  • Part I
    • Recruitment and Orientation: June 2021
    • Regulated Home Day Care Application Submission to Office of Child and Family Services: July 2021
    • Participants become SBDC Clients and begin basic entrepreneurial training: July/August 2021
    • CAPC Health and Safety Training: August 2021
  • Part II
    • Advanced Entrepreneur Training: September through November 2021
    • ECD- 101 Introduction to Early Childhood Care and Education, three credits: January 2022
    • Completion of JCC Regulated Home Day Care Training Certificate

“The development of childcare opportunities is one of the foundations needed for economic development and growth in Lewis County,” said Lewis County Economic Development Executive Director Brittany Davis.  “We are very excited to provide the funding needed to kick off this pilot program to not only address the childcare need, but also to foster entrepreneurship, workforce development and to retain and attract residents to Lewis County.  Through partnerships, we were able to quickly and diligently come up with creative solutions that will solve a large issue in our communities.”  

The Regulated Home Day Care Training Bootcamp program will begin recruiting its first cohort to begin in June 2021 at the Lewis County JCC Education Center. Registration for the program can be completed on the Jefferson Community College website.