Find child care locations online

Parents will soon be able to search for the locations of licensed child care providers in Anoka County on the county’s website.

The Anoka County Board has approved the implementation of the web-based child care finder on the child care licensing webpage.

“It’s pretty much completed,” said Cindy Cesare, county director of social services and mental health.

“The child care finder should be available in a couple of weeks.”

Social services department staff have been working with the Anoka County GIS Department to develop the website, according to Cesare.

The idea came from social services staff as a way to streamline and make more efficient the current process, which involves fielding calls and answering questions in trying to help parents search for a licensed child care provider, Cesare said.

According to information provided to the county board’s Human Services Committee, which recommended approval of the child care finder, by Suzanne Tuttle of the social services department staff, the child care licensing website is frequented by both providers and parents.

The child care finder will show the locations of the homes of licensed family child care providers in Anoka County and will have a direct link to the Minnesota Department of Human Services licensing look-up site, Tuttle wrote in her memo.

The information on the child care finder will include the provider’s name, address, phone number, date licensed and classification.

“Having a child care finder… not only would allow parents to locate providers in Anoka County, but also benefit licensed providers’ efforts to network,” Tuttle wrote.

According to Cesare, there are currently 671 licensed child care providers in Anoka County and the child care finder would be updated on a monthly basis.

But the finder will not include unlicensed child care providers in the county, Cesare.

“I am so excited about this opportunity,” said Anoka County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah, who chairs the board’s Human Services Committee.

Staff in the social services department assisted by GIS have developed a tool that will be more efficient than the current system, Sivarajah said.

According to Sivarajah, parents seeking a licensed child care provider will be able to locate providers in the city, even the neighborhood, where they are seeking child care through the maps that GIS has developed for the child care finder.

There will also be information on any licensing issues that a provider might have had, Sivarajah said.

According to Tuttle, the web-based project comes with no cost to the county because it has been designed, implemented and will be updated in-house by GIS.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]