MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The issue of affordable childcare is a crisis throughout the country. However, in Marquette County childcare advocates and small businesses are joining up to find an alternative.

The Community Foundation of Marquette County, in conjunction with The Lake Superior Community Partnership, and several other organizations and childcare advocates, announced plans on Thursday for a project to encourage individuals to start up childcare facilities in their homes. The initiative, which is still in the developmental stages, will hopefully provide small business opportunities for childcare providers, and reduce the number of parents who are waiting, in some cases for years, for space in a childcare facility to open up. Lake Superior Community Partnership CEO Christopher Germain understands the need.

“So, the needs are high,” said Germain. “There was a study done the other year that suggested there are literally thousands of children in Marquette County that we don’t have slots for in terms of childcare. Some of those folks are lucky, right? They have grandparents or one spouse stays at home already and it doesn’t impact their income as a family. There’s a lot of families that once they have their first child, childcare is simply too expensive in some cases, or more likely is happening right now is even if they could afford it, they simply can’t find a slot.”

Organizers of this project are hopeful that with the increased availability of childcare services, the cost of childcare will become more affordable. The Community Foundation of Marquette County plans to begin taking applications for this program as early as this March.