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Ephraim McDowell, EDP working to find child care solutions

By SALLY DAVENPORT and BEN NELSON

Guest columnists

One of the hallmarks of our Danville-Boyle County community we are most proud of is that we care about each other and work together when others are in need. As we both volunteer our time to serve on the Economic Development Partnership board, we want to provide an update as we work together to address the important child care needs of our community.

Ephraim McDowell Health recently made the difficult decision, after many years of being responsible for child care through A Children’s Place, to close that facility. Although A Children’s Place has been licensed for 220 children, they are currently serving 130 children from 105 families. Ephraim McDowell associates make up 47 of these families — including the six which are employed at A Children’s Place.

Ephraim McDowell Health is collaborating with the Economic Development Partnership to coordinate support for all those families in transition.

• Ephraim McDowell Health, in a follow-up to the request of parents, will continue to operate A Children’s Place through Aug. 31, extending the time families have to identify alternative child care arrangements.

• We have a shared list of the employer groups where current A Children’s Place parents work to reach out to those employers who might have families in need.

• The Economic Development Partnership will communicate with the Central Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management, whose members include most HR professionals throughout Boyle, Mercer, Garrard, Lincoln and Casey counties. We are sharing and updating the Ephraim McDowell Health list of the 16 childcare providers and available openings in the local area. We are providing a suggested communication asking that these families’ employers help identify and support those who might need assistance in their organization. We are offering to meet with those HR professionals who have employees needing to find alternative child care to better understand how we can help.

• Our Economic Development Partnership is escalating the community’s efforts to support the recruitment and expansion of additional child care providers. If you have knowledge of any prospective providers interested in expanding or starting a childcare facility, please get them in contact with Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of our Economic Development Partnership. Jody is working with those who have an interest in developing or expanding child care services and can help them jumpstart their planning. To date, he has communicated with one existing local provider about a potential expansion as well as three new prospective providers about a possible location in Danville to serve our community’s child care needs.

The decision as to who best can provide care to your children is a deeply personal decision. While we cannot and should not prescribe what is best for any family, we are ready to do what we can to assist families to have choices.

In the end, by working together we will have better outcomes as we support those in need than working alone. It is why, as we will always have challenges here, we are proud to live and work in Danville-Boyle County.

Sally Davenport is the president and CEO of Ephraim McDowell Health and a member of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors. Ben Nelson is chair of the EDP.