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Rob Parker, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Stephanie Overbey, Kosciusko County Community Foundation CEO, Sherry Searles, LaunchPad Director, and Darren Bickel, United Way of Whitley & Kosciusko County President, recognized an urgent need for child care in Kosciusko County. Their efforts led to the creation of LaunchPad, a Child Care and Early Learning Coalition established in October of 2018, to help solve the child care crisis in our county.  According to recent data, there is a shortage of 1,700 child care seats, and of the seats that we do have, less than one third are considered high quality according to Indiana’s rating system.  We know that low and moderate income families cannot afford the cost of care, which can be $9,000 or more per year for one child.  Another problem that compounds the situation is the lack of qualified early childhood educators.  Early childhood education is one of the lowest paying professions.  While regulations call for more education for teachers, wages are low and benefits are negligible.

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