(Fergus Falls, MN) — February 17, 2023 — Families with young children seeking child care in Otter Tail County can use the new Child Care Locator web app. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Human Services departments of Otter Tail County released the web app to help families find information about child care providers in their area.
Families can use the interactive Child Care Locator web app to view a map of family child care providers and search for providers within a distance from home or work. The list of results includes contact and licensing information for the providers. Families can use this contact information to do their own outreach when looking for a child care spot. Family child care providers who are included on the app have given permission to Otter Tail County to share their information. The web app does not include licensed child care centers, school-based preschools, or community-based preschools in Otter Tail County.
Lisa Spangler, Otter Tail County Family Child Care Licensor, explained why the Child Care Locator web app was created. “As the licensor for Otter Tail County, I know and work closely with all the family child care providers in the County. I get calls from families all the time looking for help to find an open child care spot. With the new web app, I’ll be able to share that tool with families and hopefully make it easier to find child care for their children.”
Otter Tail County understands that access to quality and affordable child care is needed for people to live and work in our region. The Child Care Locator web app is one project that is part of the County’s broader child care strategy. The strategy identifies three action areas for the County to play a key role:
- Promote the availability of licensing and financial resources for new and existing child care providers in the county
- Help recruit, retain, and develop child care providers and workers to support the growth of child care capacity
- Create partnerships between providers, employers, agency partners, and communities to improve access and availability to quality child care
Additional efforts that are part of the County’s child care strategy include the Child Care Capacity Grant for new and existing providers and upcoming mentorship and technical assistance support for providers.
The Child Care Locator web app can be found at www.ottertailcountymn.us/childcare. The web app is not currently available in a downloadable app form, so users will need to visit the webpage to access the application. More information about the support available to Otter Tail County families and child care providers can also be found at ottertailcountymn.us/childcare.