Meeting a mandate without cost

Leaps and Bounds acquires cribs through Great Start Child Care Quality Program

Article posted by Ken Grabowski, Sept. 8, 2011
Manistee News Advocate

MANISTEE –Education institutions throughout the state are finding it increasingly difficult to secure shrinking state funding for items that are essential to running their programs and that is why it is important for school officials to seek out help wherever it may present itself.

The Leaps & Bounds Early Education Center that is run out of the Onekama Consolidated Schools recently saved the program a substantial amount of money by taking part in a Crib Exchange that brought them seven new cribs. It was all due to director Amy Brown and others associated with the program finding out about this unique one-time program.

“We were invited to attend a “crib exchange” that was coordinated by the Great Start Child Care Quality Program where all seven of our old cribs were replaced with seven new cribs at no cost to the center,” said Brown. “The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was appropriated by the Michigan legislature and allocated to the Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC). The ECIC then decided to use those funds to help purchase the cribs.”

Brown said they have quite a few infants in the program this year, and the cribs will be put to good use during the upcoming year. She said with tight budgets it just wasn’t possible for them purchase the cribs on their own.

“Six of those cribs are being used every day as this year we have quite a few new babies,” said Brown. “It is improving the quality of the program to the children, and for us to purchase that many cribs would have cost us about $3,000, which we don’t have funds to do.”

However, it was necessary that Leaps & Bounds qualify for the program before they could receive the cribs.

Leaps and Bounds Lynn Graf watches over the youngsters as they try out the some of the new cribs they received from the crib exchange that was run by the Great Start Child Care Quality Program. (Ken Grabowski/News Advocate)

“Those who qualified for the event had to currently care for infants who receive Department of Human Services subsidy, don’t not have any current licensing violations, are licensed and have been in business for at least one year,” said Brown.

Brown explained that the upgrade was mandated in December 2010 by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission that set new standards for cribs by child care providers. All of those cribs need to be replaced by Dec. 28, 2012 that don’t meet those standards.

That is why Brown jumped at this opportunity to gain the cribs at no cost to the program or district. Great Start Child Care Quality Program held the exchange at the Goodwill store in Traverse City, but it was up to the individual programs to transport the cribs to and from that location.

“Schafer Landscaping of Bear Lake offered Leaps & Bounds use of a pick-up truck to transport the old and new cribs,” said Brown. “My husband, Josh, who works for Schafer, assisted in dismantling the old cribs and transporting them to the event and in bringing the new ones back here.”

Leaps & Bounds has been operating out of the Onekama Consolidated School System for several years and offer year round care to children from birth on up to 12 years of age.

Article posted by Ken Grabowski, Sept. 8, 2011
Manistee News Advocate


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