Like many communities, child care options for families with infants and toddlers in Northfield are limited. In response to the critical child care shortage for families with low incomes, Three Rivers Community Action transformed unused space in our Head Start center and opened an Infant and Toddler Child Care that we operate as an Early Head Start Partnership site.
Since opening in August 2018, 16 children have been enrolled, enabling parents to work and pursue their goals. One new mom of twins was able to return to work. Another mom started a new job and is working towards full-time employment. A third is now attending cosmetology school and moving into her own apartment.
The Three Rivers Infant Toddler program is more than just child care. Families are receiving wrap-around support in the form of parent education, referral services and health screenings. Staff have helped families meet basic needs like finding the appropriate beds, cribs and car seats. Through warm referrals to other programs at Three Rivers, families have received assistance with housing, energy assistance and transportation needs. Since opening, we have helped four children obtain services for developmental delays, one student get glasses, two children get helmets to help with skull development, and have provided additional inclusion experience for two children with autism. Today, 38% of the children enrolled are now receiving special needs services with the school district.
To address cost barriers of child care, the Three Rivers Infant Toddler program allows families to use just their Child Care Assistance as payment for the tuition. The rest of the operating expense is covered through an Early Head Start Partnership grant, Community Services Block Grant, and Minnesota Pathways 1 Scholarships. The only fees charged to families are co-pays set by the county or late fees charged for late pick-ups. Families receive food for their children and the center also provides diapers and wipes. The only thing Three Rivers asks is for families to bring their children, keep their Child Care Assistance cases open and current, and participate in their child’s education. With this focus, children and families are able to focus on the learning and growing that supports their family and their futures. And, at the same time, communities and employers retain more young working families to continue to grow the community.
Find us at:
Website : https://www.threeriverscap.org/