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Oneida County to participate in pilot program to help with childcare needs


The Northwoods, like many places in the state and country, needs more affordable options for childcare.

“What we’re seeing right now is that there’s not enough slots for the children who would be eligible for those slots. In particular, we don’t have enough slots for infants, partially just because of the costs that’s associated with managing childcare at that level,” said Brittany Beyer, Executive Director of Growth North Regional Economic Development.

Her group submitted the application for Oneida County to participate in the Dream Up program.

The program is through the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.

This fall a group of people from Oneida County will work with the program to form a strategic plan to evaluate, plan, sustain, and expand existing childcare as well as support new childcare programs.

“We have a number of leaders who had already stepped forth in trying to address the childcare area. That will be kind of the steering committee and Grow North will operate basically as the backbone and the conduit for the facilitator that’s going to be coming in to support the work,” said Beyer.

Each community participating in the Dream Up program will get planning support and $75,000 in grant funding.

Additional $5,000 stipends will be allocated to participating childcare providers who submit updated business plans during the strategic planning process.

In our region, Lincoln County is also participating in the program. It’s being led by Lincoln County Social Services.

In addition to the Dream Up program, four businesses in Vilas and Oneida Counties are getting funding to help with childcare needs.

It’s through the Partner Up Program with Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.

Businesses could apply for the funds to help cover up to 75% of the costs of childcare for their employees.

“A lot of people are making a choice between working and probably paying as much as they would be making for that childcare and/or just not being able to find that childcare to begin with,” said Beyer.

More than 100 businesses were selected to participate in the program which is funded by CARES Act dollars.

In Vilas County, Northwoods Child Development and Terri’s Treehouse were selected.

In Oneida County, Three Lakes Pharmacy and Tiny Tykes of Three Lakes got funding.

There will be another round of funding for the Partner Up available later this year.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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