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EARLY YEARS: Ready Regions to help bring more quality child care to families in Virginia

The statewide network will help alleviate some of the issues with shortages in staff in child care
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:57 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -The demand for quality child care has never been greater. Without it, families are left in limbo.

“Parents cannot go to work and be as productive as they normally would be if they’re worried about their children and where are their children and are they being cared for. Are they safe?” says Vivien McMahan of United Way of Roanoke Valley.

The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation just launched the statewide network called Ready Regions, designed to help parents breathe a little easier.

“The Ready Regions network really has some priorities that we’re focusing in on, and that is really build and strengthen the relationships with early childhood providers, so that we can ultimately support public and private programs, as they work to increase access for families, and also so they can strengthen quality,” says McMahan.

Early childhood education is crucial step to prepare kids for kindergarten.

According to experts, 90 percent of brain development occurs before the age of five.

“And so if we’re not making sure that kids have access to resources and support before they enter kindergarten, then we’re missing an opportunity,” says McMahan.

With the ongoing pandemic, keeping centers fully staffed has been a challenge; that’s putting a strain on many child care providers.

Ready Regions is working to help with that challenge.

It also offers parents a chance to provide feedback on what they’re looking for when it comes to child care.

“We are working with our community partners right now, so we can send up some parent councils, because we really want to hear from parents. We want to hear from all parents from all walks of life,” says McMahan.

To find quality child care in our area, click this link to Smart 2 Start.

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