Group to look into Minot’s child care shortage problemsMayor Curt Zimbelman has set up a task force to look into a shortage of child care in the city — an issue state lawmakers might take a broader look at next year.
MINOT (AP) — Mayor Curt Zimbelman has set up a task force to look into a shortage of child care in the city — an issue state lawmakers might take a broader look at next year.
The move comes after the ING company announced it was closing its child care facility at the end of June, because the company needs more office space to handle growth in the business. The closure affects about 60 children. Most of the parents who use the center aren’t employed at ING.
Child-care providers in Minot say they are getting calls from parents who don’t know what to do. One provider said she had 93 children on her waiting list before ING’s announcement.
“This is truly a tragedy for this community, and we need help,” parent Lisa Jones said.
Alan VanDelinder, a parent and businessman, said a lack of child care will hamper Minot’s ability to attract businesses, including oil companies.
“It’s a crisis now, but it’s going to get worse,” he said.
The 10-member task force includes city aldermen, child-care providers and others. John MacMartin, president of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce, is heading the group. It is holding an organizational meeting Wednesday.
Zimbelman said it will look at addressing the immediate problem, including working with ING to delay the closure.
“We can ask them to keep their doors open but we can’t say they have to,” he said.
Philip Margolis, a spokesman for ING in Connecticut, said the company is worried about child-care availability as it looks at its own future growth and ability to attract employees. However, he said ING’s building won’t be available because the company needs more office space for the long term.
“We certainly applaud the mayor and the community for taking leadership to form that task force and are very supportive of the idea ...” he said.
Rep. Kari Conrad, D-Minot, said the Legislature likely will address child-care issues statewide next session, but in the meantime, cities need to get involved.
“We a need a local response,” she said. “There’s great hope on the horizon, but we need it right now.”
Tags: childcareMore from around the web