Researching Child Care Solutions

A core group of community members and organizations have started the process within the Rural Child Care Innovation Program through First Children’s Finance.  The goal of our work is to expand the infant and toddler slots within the area covering the Ortonville School District as well as find community goals to support the existing child care programs that are in operation.

Our first step is to hear from YOU!  By taking a few minutes to complete the survey that is applicable to you (links below), we will have the foundational data that is needed to start forming solutions.

The Surveys, Have all been completed & Results will be posted soon!
Child Care Center Survey 
Family Child Care Provider Survey
Employer Survey
Parent Survey

Town Hall meetingNow Completed!
June 14, 2022, 6:30 p.m. at OMG Hall, 25 2nd Street NW (2nd Floor), Ortonville
Although on the 2nd floor, there is a chairlift to assist if needed.
You are invited to hear the results of the surveys and to take part in the discussion and solutions.  Dinner will be catered.  Who should attend?  child care providers, parents, employers, grandparents & general public!!

A Provider Appreciation Event Now Completed!
This event is to highlight and thank our providers in the Ortonville area.  We are hoping Providers will share their insights and feedback on ways the community can support the existing providers and address the childcare needs in the area.  If you are a Provider within the Ortonville School District, please use this link to sign-up    This is an informal event that will include a presentation about the Rural Child Care Innovation Program and how providers in the community can get involved – Dinner will be provided – Please, consider joining us for this no-cost event!

The survey results presented at the Town Hall meeting and the next steps in this process will be posted soon!

If you would like to assist in this process or have questions, please contact Vicki Oakes at the Ortonville Economic Development Authority at 320-839-6155 or

Make sure to watch for more information postings as we move through this process!

About the Rural Child Care Innovation Program:

Child care is an economic driver for rural communities across the United States but many communities are facing shortages of high-quality child care. Funded by the MN Department of Human Services and Michigan Department of Education, First Children’s Finance’s Rural Child Care Innovation Program (RCCIP) is an innovative community engagement process designed to increase the supply of high-quality affordable child care in rural communities. The purpose of RCCIP is to guide communities in identifying the scope and size of their child care challenges and to empower and support communities to develop solutions to address these challenges.  LINK to RCCIP information

Community Members & Organizations working on this project:

— in no particular order!
Marge Knudson, Prairie Five CAC, Inc. & Child Care Aware
Nancie Haukos, First English Lutheran Church
Laura Laub, Big Stone County Family Services
Amy Weir, Big Stone County Family Services
Kari Dorry, Ortonville School District
Matt Karels, Ortonville EDA, Strong Realty
Scott Marquardt, Southwest Initiative Foundation
Sara Wollschlager, Ortonville School District
Brenda Zahrbock, Child Care Provider
Carrie Bendix, Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council
David Roger, Ortonville Area Health Services
Krista Hartman, Ortonville School Board
Kelsie Thomas, Parent
Vicki Oakes, Ortonville Economic Development Authority
Let us know if you’d like your name/organization added – we have plenty of room for more involvement!

Resource Links will be added/updated below:

LINK:  The Economic Role of Paid Child Care in the U.S.  

LINK All About Youth,  the Big Stone County Connection to find child care, grants/programs, and school links ++

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