At last week’s emergency child care meeting a large range of ideas and topics were covered, but was any actual progress made? Are there any ideas being acted on? As of now a second meeting hasn't been announced, but the possibility of an after school daycare at the KCC has been talked about by the city.
Even if this plan is enacted it is only a temporary and basic solution to a very large and complicated problem. A large part of the problem is infant and toddler care, daycares can only have so many and there isn't any large care center in the area that handles infants and toddlers. In fact if there is only one provider the state of Minnesota only allows 3 younger than 24 months, with no more than 2 younger than 1 year.
These restrictions have caused major shortages for toddler and infant care, and that combined with the lack of any daycare openings has left a lot of parents looking for answers.
The Yellow Medicine County Board members on the Prairie 5 board who decided to close the Prairie Land daycare have offered zero replacement options or even an alternative program, which has left roughly 25 kids without a place to go.
So was any progress made at last week's meeting? Kind of. Mayor, Dave Smiglewski, offered his thoughts and seemed to have an idea on some form of action he and the city council could take. Daycare providers and parents interacted and discussed some of the problems they are facing, but other than that there were hardly any solutions proposed or acted on and they ended without a clear plan.
The question still remains if there will be a follow up meeting, and it was clear that a lot of parents wanted one so they could form some sort of plan. The only setback is time. The timeline for when action needs to happen is very small, in fact even if action was to be taken now it could take up to 8 months before anything is licensed and opened.
For now this issue is unresolved and has left a lot of the parents in the community confused and worried about their child care situations.