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MARSHFIELD – At a time when agricultural employers are struggling to find workers, access to quality child care can aid in worker recruitment, improve retention and boost employee morale.

A new resource, “Roadmap for delivering child care in agricultural communities,” can help ensure that children of workers are kept safely away from dangers on the farm.

“Providing adequate child care services for farm workers is beneficial to both employers and workers, as well as the children,” said Barbara Lee, Ph.D., director, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. “Making sure the children of workers are kept safely away from dangers on the farm can improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, and improve public relations.”

The resource, developed with input from agricultural business owners, human resources directors, insurance providers, Head Start child care specialists and farm worker parents, is part of the, “Protecting Children While Parents work in Agriculture” project, an initiative of the National Children’s Center and Migrant Clinicians Network. Funding is provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

“The Roadmap is designed to assist individuals and organizations in identifying challenges and assets within their local regions regarding child care services for children of agricultural workers,” said Lee, one of the Roadmap’s contributors. “This local knowledge, combined with the references and resources in the Roadmap, will pave the way for developing an action plan that can help foster access to child care.”

The Roadmap will walk stakeholders through each step on the road to accessible child care. It breaks down the processes of conducting a needs assessment, building a team of stakeholders, identifying funding sources, and implementing and marketing new child care services to those in the community.  Utilizing community resources and links to existing organizations and featured model programs, the workbook will guide businesses to implement the services needed to cultivate their growing community.

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