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Schoolcraft County selected to participate in Rural Child Care Innovation Program

We are pleased to announce the selection of Schoolcraft County to take part in the Rural Child Care Innovation Program provided by First Children’s Finance. The Rural Child Care Innovation Program (RCCIP) is a community engagement process designed to address the challenges of child care in rural communities in Michigan. First Children Finance chose six new communities to participate in the Fall 2022 Application Process including two Upper Peninsula counties, Schoolcraft County and Houghton County along with four additional communities including Arenac County, Cass County, Benzie County, and Manistee County.

The RCCIP is based on the fundamental idea that by mobilizing and empowering rural communities, the landscape of early care and education can change in rural America. By being selected as a participant, Schoolcraft County will complete a community engagement process that will include brainstorming of solutions to the child care shortage, utilizing existing assets, and creating new partnerships within the community. A local Core Team consisting of over 20 community members representing child care providers, passionate parents, employers, local government, and many other organizations has been formed to lead this work. The entire community will be invited to provide feedback and input on the child care plan and help to develop solutions at a Town Hall Meeting hosted in each individual community.

“Throughout the pandemic, and even prior, the need for childcare has been a vital concern for working parents throughout Schoolcraft County. This is great news for Schoolcraft County, I look forward to working on these challenges with our core team and the staff from the Rural Child Care Innovation Program.” stated Paul Walker, Board Chair of Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners.

“As the Mayor and employee of the local hospital, I am excited to be part of the RRCIP. In my roles, I hear all too often that there are not enough child care options for working families. It’s time we take a hard look at child care costs and availability in our community. This Michigan team will work to help us! I welcome the members of our community to join us in this opportunity by attending the Town Hall meetings and sharing their concerns and ideas.” stated Kim Shiner, City of Manistique Mayor.

The first Core Team Onboarding Meeting is set for Tuesday, February 22nd at 6:00pm via zoom and will dive into what the Core Team can expect in the coming months. There is no limit to the number of Core Team Members and we encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved to contact Alison Cook at to receive an invite and become a Core Team Member.

To learn more about First Children Finance and the program visit This project is supported by the Michigan Preschool Development Grant, award number 90TP0055-02-00, from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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