Increasing Childcare Access
“A strong early childhood system is an essential part of a thriving community,” notes Diana Williams, the operations director at Mesa County Public Health (MCPH). “It ensures children start school ready to learn, and it allows their parents to work.”
MCPH is working with PCF and other organizations to address the area’s childcare shortage through the Mesa County Child Care 8,000 initiative.
Child Care 8,000 is a community effort. It aims to double the number of childcare slots in the county to 8,000 by the year 2022. The 8,000 goal number represents an estimated 60 percent of the number of children in Mesa County from birth to age 12 assumed to need childcare because their parents work, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. This will be achieved through a combination of maintaining the capacity of current childcare facilities, adding slots and licensing new facilities.
“We value relationships with our partners like PCF,” Diana says. “Its role in providing quality supports and trainings to childcare providers is essential to these efforts.”
Diana has been with MCPH since 2012 and the Child Care 8,000 initiative since its 2018 inception. She also facilitates the Mesa County Community Services Block Grant process and sits on the Mesa County Valley School District 51 Wellness Advisory Committee.
She sees childcare as one component of a healthy community: “Health is the dynamic interaction between people, their location, the conditions in which they live, and the community policies and systems in place.”