Tribal child care program honored
"I'd rather hug 'em than cuff 'em." The White Earth Early Childhood Initiative campaign poster continues on to say, "Every $1 invested in childhood, saves $17 on incarceration, welfare and special education." The White Earth Child Care program ha...
"I'd rather hug 'em than cuff 'em."
The White Earth Early Childhood Initiative campaign poster continues on to say, "Every $1 invested in childhood, saves $17 on incarceration, welfare and special education."
The White Earth Child Care program has been chosen as a "Star of the State" and will be featured in this year's "Kids Count Data Book."
Every year, the Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota puts out a publication that provides state data based on a variety of indicators that shows how Minnesota children and families are doing.
In the data book, the nonprofit organization chooses a couple of child care programs as "Stars of the State" to highlight their achievements.
This year, the White Earth Child Care program, with an emphasis on the Early Childhood Initiative, was chosen based on its progress over the past four years.
"It's really an honor. We really are humbled on being chosen for that," said Barb Fabre, White Earth Child Care program director.
White Earth is the only tribe in Minnesota with a childcare program, she said, adding that state, federal, tribal and private funding has contributed to its success.
The early childhood part of it was primarily brought on by the West Central Initiative, with the goal of bringing schools, families, parents, health care organizations and law enforcement together to provide resources for the community's children.
Nancy Jost, early childhood coordinator for the West Central Initiative, said the White Earth program has been dedicated to children in the community.
"They (leaders of the initiative) look at the challenges they have and immediately go to work on meeting those challenges," she said. "They are so very good at collaborating to make the most of the resources that they have so they all work together just wonderfully."
Before the program began, Fabre said community meetings brought parents' most pressing issues forward -- they were concerned about dental care, safety, literacy, emotional development and parent involvement in their children's education.
"If we were to invest in young children, those are the areas that we focus on to develop that strong foundation," Fabre said.
From Callaway to Strawberry Lake, children on the reservation have been able to benefit from the events and activities brought on by the program and its partners.
A brochure listing all dental clinics in the area was distributed.
To reinforce parent participation, the more they're involved in their children's health and well-being, the more they're rewarded.
For example, whenever a parent attends a parent-teacher conference or gets necessary immunizations done, they receive points that can be redeemed at the "Caring for Kids" store in White Earth.
The store, which is run by community seniors and supplied by area organizations, offers all necessities from laundry soap to bedding.
"That's been really successful," Fabre said.
Community safety has also been a vital part in the initiative -- partnering with local law enforcement has helped develop an anonymous tip line.
And when it comes to providing the resources for children's literacy, partnership among the coalition helped purchase a "Readmobile" library, which makes monthly visits to child care homes.
Without the White Earth Child Care/Early Childhood Initiative, parents' concerns with their children's safety, education and health care would've increased, Fabre said.
"There were no early childhood activities going on on the reservation before that," she said. "The needs were met with this early childhood initiative."