Community sheds light on child care needs in rural areas

BENZIE COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) - Parents and community members in Benzie County met Wednesday night to share ideas on how to help parents in rural areas with child care needs.

Meredith McNabb is a Frankfort mother of three. She faces many challenges finding affordable child care for her kids, especially with one on the way.

“You want your children to be safe, you want them to be in a place where they can learn and be socialized well,” Meredith said. “It’s a waiting game, and there’s a high demand for child care centers for zero to three.”

Wednesday, Benzie County residents came together to talk about issues that parents like Meredith are going through to find affordable child care in their communities.

“We have a very serious problem with childcare in this county, and we need to address that,” said Bob McNabb on the Child Care Task Force with the Advocates for Benzie County (ABC).

According to McNabb, the meetings are meant to bring people together to come up with ideas for how to solve serious problems in the county.

Advocates say while the centers operating in the county try their best, there isn’t enough child care provided in the area.

According to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), there are 17 child care centers or homes in Benzie County.

Leelanau County has 28, and in Grand Traverse County has 155.

Advocates say it takes people getting involved in the discussion to change things.

“Getting up in the morning and going to work to solve a problem is tough, but again the world is run by those who show up, so show up,” McNabb said.

Advocates for Benzie County will have another meeting April 15th to discuss child care, housing and employment.