We, at the Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project, are sad to see the Punkin Patch Daycare close. The need for child care in our community is great, and when a facility closes, parents are forced to scramble.
Children of low-income families are especially vulnerable, due to issues of irregular work hours, transportation and other family stressors. No organization is more committed to the success and expansion of high-quality child care than we are.
The Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project understands that a child care provider is much more than a baby sitter. Providers are professionals who offer children the opportunity to learn, grow and develop in a high-quality setting.
Many stories make the news nationwide about unsafe, unclean and incompetent care for our youngest citizens. Tales of neglect, abuse or misuse of funds make parents fearful and cast a poor light over the industry as a whole. Cries go out for oversight and training, for protection and for accountability of caregivers.
We know that 85 percent of personality and social-emotional development is complete before a child sets foot in a kindergarten, and the quality of the care a child receives during this time can have a lifelong effect.
New York state has enacted comprehensive regulations to support children in child care and to ensure the best possible early environment. Information about providers and their compliance history is a matter of public record.
We look forward to working with anyone who shares our commitment in providing care that builds on childrens healthy development, allows families to be self-sufficient and increases employability in our community.
We have collaborated with area providers to enhance their programs, generally without cost to them. Though child care is a challenging business, it can be one of the most rewarding and sustaining professions.
The writer is the director of Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project, Community Action Planning Council.