Juneau Assembly committee recommends city invest in child care

A city committee tasked with  investigating the shortage of affordable child care in Juneau has concluded its work.

The Juneau Assembly Childcare Committee formed in November. Mayor Beth Weldon tasked it answering two key questions: Should child care be a part of municipal activities, and if so, should early education be a part of that?

After speaking with various stakeholders, the committee answered “yes” to both questions and submitted its final report with recommendations to the mayor last week.

In the short term, the report advises the city to identify existing public facilities that could be used for child care and to set up a loan fund to assist related businesses and programs.

Childcare workers interact with infants at Gold Creek Child Development Center in Juneau in May, 2018. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

In the long term, the committee recommends  funding a subsidized child care model like that proposed by Best Starts, a local initiative that almost ended up on the municipal ballot last October, but failed to receive enough Assembly votes.

The committee was made up of several Assembly members and public representatives from the education and child care sectors.

At a special Assembly meeting Wednesday night, Mayor Weldon congratulated the committee on its work.

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