By Sherry Larson
Coad4kids is with the Early Childhood education division, a resource and a referral agency for Southeast Ohio. The Regional Coordinator for Business Supports of Coda (Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development), Megan Pieper, recently presented at an Operation Better Together (OBT) meeting. On May 12, the OBT Childcare Sub-committee met to discuss plans to disseminate this project in the community.
Coad is heading a three-year project to open childcare businesses with a project goal of 100 openings in the Appalachian region of Ohio. The funding for this venture comes from the U.S. Department of Labor. They will be providing a certificate program called Child Development Associate, which entails 120 hours of coursework. The course has different formats, including an accelerated one (three weeks). The coursework will translate in to college credit should a childcare provider wish to move forward with the degree.
The project includes business training. Pieper stated, “One thing we realize is that family childcare gets underrated as an illegitimate small business. It might be out of their home, but there’s a lot more to it than babysitting. They follow licensing rules, and they have education requirements.” They become a small business owner and help meet the need for quality childcare in the community.
There are two types of childcare centers under the program – Type A and Type B. Pieper explained, “Type A family childcare can have up to 12 kids that you serve, but you have to have an employee because that ratio stays at six to one.” A Type B center can have a maximum of 6 kids.
Coad pays for required health training like first aid, CPR, child abuse recognition, and infectious disease training. They also pay for ongoing professional development as there is a 20-hour development requirement every two years.
To obtain licensing, providers must have BCI and FBI background checks. Coda assists with all forms and paperwork associated with the licensing application and prepares providers for the home licensing inspection. Once licensing is approved, Coda helps in the application process for accepting public funding children. This funding is a significant incentive to becoming a licensed provider – income stability. Pieper relays, “We want to give people the opportunity to turn their passion for childcare into a career. Allow them to work from home every day.”
Additional funding from different sources is available to help childcare providers with supplies. If they need a laptop for training, it’s provided. Funding may also be used for toys, outside playground items, cots, cribs, and other elements a childcare center may need to get started.
Pieper explains, “My role ends after they are licensed, but we have other staff in the Early Childhood division covering Adams County that continues to support them.”
The state has a rating system entitled Step Up to Quality that requires an application process yearly. Coda helps providers maintain their quality ratings. Pieper states, “We have a lot of training geared towards the best practices and working with infants and children.”
Pieper said, “Childcare only works if it is available when people need it. So, another thing we are doing with this project is reaching out to employers.” Coda surveyed top county employers to determine if the decrease in available childcare has impacted the businesses and if they have lost employees due to the inability to obtain childcare. They also aim to discover what these companies are doing to offer solutions and accommodations to help employees struggling with childcare availability. Many employers communicated they have considered starting childcare programs. There are provider-based resources that many folks do not know are available, so they are not utilized.
Potential home-based childcare providers should also consider the job security of offering evenings and weekends to satisfy a much-needed gap in services. Ideally, employers and providers working together could fill the cracks in childcare.
Pieper shared, “Our final goal is to create shared services.” These services would fashion a process for childcare businesses to get discounted or wholesale prices on supplies, generate a float pool of substitute teachers/providers, and offer enterprises support by sharing services they mutually need. Coad would serve as the hub.
Operation Better Together Childcare Sub-committee’s mission is to cultivate childcare opportunities, and Adams County desperately needs providers with an entrepreneurial spirit. There will be an informational clinic scheduled for August 2022.
For more information on becoming a home childcare provider, don’t hesitate to contact Debora Plymail at (937) 695-0316 or Heather Roush at (937) 217-1462. You can also visit https://coadinc.org/coad4kids/. This opportunity is perfect for parents who want to provide childcare, stay home with their children, and receive a steady income. Let Coad4kids help you start a business to help families who need reliable childcare.