UNLESS SOMEONE LIKE YOU CARES A WHOLE AWFUL LOT, NOTHING IS GOING TO GET BETTER. IT'S NOT. --Dr. Seuss
Child care is a community's investment in the future
The YWCA Cortland is calling on you to help because good beginnings never end. Affordable, available child care isn't just a family issue. It's a community issue. Employers and employees depend on childcare services. Affordable child care serves those who serve us in every sector: doctors, nurses, teachers, janitors, wait staff, mechanics, lawyers, secretaries, retail employees, and business owners....
Bright from the start
We must be the voice for our children. We all benefit when high quality child care tailors its educational curriculum to the children's developmental readiness. By age three, 85% of the brain is developed. We must provide the best foundation for our children. These investments have immediate benefits and long-term benefits to the individual child and society at large. Children who have access to good early education are more likely to graduate high school and less likely to be incarcerated. We need a bright and successful workforce of tomorrow.
A broken system
Years ago, childcare centers were operated by businesses for the benefit of their employees. Increased regulations and operating expenses made these centers unprofitable for employers. Today, the pressing need for child care is recognized and is met primarily by nonprofit organizations. However, they too face the high costs of providing quality care while keeping services affordable for working parents. Many families are already paying tuition that exceeds 26% ($12,000-$14,000) of their family's annual income. It's particularly challenging for single-parent households. Nonprofit childcare providers struggle for outside funding sources, struggle to pay living wages to their employees, and struggle to stay open.
A perfect storm
In the past month, the Cortland community has lost two licensed centers eliminating 85 slots and 25 jobs while centers across the state continue to close. YWCA Cortland has been committed to child care since 1915. It is the largest provider in the county, serving over 800 children annually. Child care is an important component of fulfilling the YWCA mission to eliminate racism and empower women, children and families. The YWCA operates two licensed childcare centers, Here We Grow and Learning Adventure. Together they provide 130 children, ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with care. These two centers have long operated at a loss and recent minimum wage increases have accelerated these losses. The YWCA has operated the Here We Grow center since 1991 with Cortland Regional Medical Center serving as the collaborative community partner by providing the building and subsidizing the operating costs.
In 2018, the hospital determined it could no longer subsidize the operating costs of the Here We Grow center, but would continue to allow the YWCA to occupy the building until the end of the year. Unanimously, the YWCA Board of Directors decided that closing Here We Grow was not an option. It re-affirmed its commitment, remaining the community leader in providing child care.
YWCA leads the way
The most efficient way the YWCA can weather the storm is to sell one of the facilities and combine the two centers. By doing so, the YWCA will lower the operating loss, eliminate the excessive costs of operating a 30-year old building and allow a more sustainable business model for the licensed childcare facility. We have found a site. New construction will revitalize a blighted property in the community and allow for the design of a state of the art childcare facility. The cost for the building and operation of this new center is $1.1M. All funding sources are being aggressively explored and will include local and state grants, foundation grants, corporate sponsors and YOU!
Please join us in the commitment to child care by donating to our new childcare center. Our children depend on us!
"It takes a village to raise one child."