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New 'Hope for Kids' Childcare Center opens in Duluth

Updated: July 14, 2020 06:46 PM

A new childcare center in Duluth called 'Hope for Kids' recently opened Monday morning for families in need of help.

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Childcare is a huge help for many families but especially during COVID-19 it has been a bigger need for many parents juggling work while having kids at home. Hope for Kids is ready to help families in the community.

"Infant care is always a big need. That was probably my first age group that filled up was the infants," said Hope for Kids executive director Marcia DeMeo-Morse.

The childcare center located at Hope United Methodist Church offers care and educational services for infants through preschoolers. It recently went through remodeling thanks to help from Duluth's 1200 fund.

"That was huge help we remodeled and redecorated and got all new furniture and landscape for the playground," said DeMeo-Morse.

Lots of cleaning and health protocols are in place at the childcare center. They sanitize high touch surfaces and toys daily. They also do temperature checks for staff and kids.

The childcare center is located at 301 W. St. Marie Street, near the UMD campus. Total capacity is for 66 children.

DeMeo-Morse said there is a need for more childcare centers and predicts it will get busy for them soon.

"I think as people start going back to work they're going to be looking for more childcare availability," said DeMeo-Morse.

This means childcare centers like Hope for Kids will be in need of support and financial assistance during these busier times for them. Gov. Tim Walz recently announced a new grant program for childcare providers.

"What these grants do is offset added costs of protection in these childcare centers. It is protections for children and protections for workers and teachers," said Walz.

Walz also noted the challenges for childcare providers these past couple of months with significant costs from smaller group sizes, cleaning, and other staffing and workflow changes to keep children healthy and safe.

"They need additional support so that they can continue to do that work to continue to support our essential workers, those that are on the front lines and the rest of us that are needing to go to our jobs every day," said Nikki Farago, the assistant commissioner for children and family services at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The grants will benefit approximately 7,000 Minnesota child care providers with $56.6 million in funds. The new COVID-19 Public Health Support Funds for Child Care program is designed to provide support to all child care providers who qualify.

"Childcare providers are really the backbone of our economy and do so much to support families and those of us that are working across the state," said Farago.

Child care providers can apply for the funding starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 15. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Thursday, July 23. To apply for these funds, providers fill out an online application using a link that they will receive via email from the Minnesota Department of Human Services on July 15.

Hope for Kids is enrolling now. You can contact Marcia DeMeo-Morse, either by phone 218-724-1510, by email at marcia@h4kduluth.com or visit www.hope4kids.com

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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