Public meeting discusses child care future in Hazen
By Daniel Arens
As the date approaches for the expected opening of the New Bethel Child Care Center in Hazen, leaders of the project spoke with the public about the facility’s current status and future prospects.
This meeting, which was held on Dec. 13 at the Hazen High School Uncommons, also brought in Kim Coontz, who has specialized in working with child care cooperatives around the nation.
The cooperative model is an attempt to replicate the structure of the area’s electric and industry businesses to meet the child care need in the country.
Erin Huntimer, Basin Electric Power Cooperative Project Coordinations Representative and president of the Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care board, oversaw the meeting and discussed the history behind the project.
Coontz addressed the importance of parental involvement in making a new facility work. She also said that employers would benefit, with the facility aiding employee recruitment, retention, reducing absenteeism, boosting company loyalty, and increasing job satisfaction.
Coontz said that there were many ways employers could get involved, including in-kind services and help with necessary renovations to the building.
The cooperative is filing for non-profit status, which means that funding will go directly to the operation of the facility and the programs.