United Way St. Croix Valley Awarded Project Growth Grant to Address Local Child Care Challenges

United Way St. Croix Valley is among the Wisconsin groups that will receive a grant to help solve the challenges facing the state's child care system.  The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families has awarded more than $20 million in Project Growth grants to 28 cross-sector community teams and over 100 businesses.

The Dream Up! grant program focuses on building child care supply through a collaborative community approach. Twenty-eight teams will receive strategic planning support and $75,000 in grant funding to evaluate, plan, sustain and expand existing child care, and support new child care programs. Additional $5,000 stipends will be allocated to participating child care providers who submit business improvement plans during the strategic planning process.

"We are honored to be selected to lead this effort through our long-standing Success By 6 Program," United Way executive director Lisa Murphy said. "Our project will focus on a local child care desert that includes the communities of Ellsworth, River Falls, Roberts, Baldwin, Woodville, Spring Valley, and Elmwood.  We have an incredibly talented team of stakeholders from child care, business, education, healthcare, local government, and the nonprofit sector dedicated to working together to find solutions to address our child care crisis."

It is the intent of the program that the solutions identified through the strategic planning process will later serve as a model for adjacent communities to learn from and adapt, providing positive impacts that extend throughout the region.

"We have seen in various communities across the state that when business, economic development, early learning, and other community partners come together and innovate, we all benefit," DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson said in a news release. "These grants are helping us kickstart and build those partnerships, as well as find innovative and sustainable child care solutions that can be modeled in communities and businesses across the state."

Read more about the Project Growth grants HERE.