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Success by 6 Leadership Committee approves drop-in child care

Jeff Unger, News Bureau
(217) 333-1085


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A proposal to provide drop-in child care for parents whose regular child-care arrangements break down was approved during a recent meeting of the Success by 6 Leadership Committee, which oversees an initiative of the United Way of Champaign County, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and major community employers to improve services for children in the community. Success by 6 is a national United Way initiative designed to make every child ready to succeed by the time he or she starts school.

Among the Leadership Committee members attending the Dec. 3 meeting were Champaign Mayor Gerald Schweighart, Urbana Mayor Tod Satterthwaite, and Carle Foundation President and CEO Dr. Jim Leonard. University of Illinois Chancellor Nancy Cantor chaired the committee.
Cantor and Bill Kitson, the director of the United Way of Champaign County, created the Success by 6 leadership committee in February 2002 and charged its members with developing strategies that would meet the goals of the Success by 6 initiative.

Cantor expressed appreciation for the accomplishments of the child-care work groups.
"I’m absolutely delighted that we can take this important first step in helping families in Champaign County," Cantor said. "No single employer or agency can address the need for comprehensive children’s services, this shows what we can accomplish together."

The drop-in care service is the first program to be approved by the committee. It will be offered by a consortium of community child-care providers to be coordinated by the Child Care Resource Service at Illinois, and is expected to go into effect as early as next semester. The committee also approved a draft proposal to create a home-care program for mildly sick children. It is anticipated that this service, which will be on a purchase-of-care basis, will go into effect shortly after the drop-in care service begins.

The committee also expressed support for the concept that home-based care could include elder care.

Cantor and Kitson also announced continued funding for a United Way staff member, Mary Anne Wilson, who directs the Success by 6 initiative and will provide leadership and coordination for the implementation of the new services and the development of a long range strategic plan for additional children’s services.

For the initiatives to work, several things need to happen, according to Kitson. As a start, the community must provide quality child care; drop-in care (for parents whose regular child-care arrangements fail); and sick-child care, for mildly sick children who can’t return to regular day care.

"A range of high-quality services is important for the child and for the parents," Kitson said. "Parents who aren’t stressed do a better job of parenting, and this is good for our families and for our communities."