Hoiseth on Child Care: Greatest need is for infant slots

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    It’s probably safe to say that the assumption in the Crookston community when Janelle and Mark Berhow recently opened their child care operation “Gotta Love Kids” near Town Square, in the former longtime home of New Paths Area Learning Center, is that they’d fill up immediately and probably have a waiting list, too.

    But as CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth updated his board this week on progress being made by stakeholders toward opening a larger child care “center” in an available building on Widman Lane, known as “Crookston’s Little Pirates,” he said Crookston’s child care shortage remains a challenging, moving target.

    As part of the Berhows’ overall financing package, CHEDA provided some gap financing to the couple as well. Hoiseth said he recently spoke with Janelle Berhow on how things are going at Gotta Love Kids.

    “It’s going well, but not as well as she thought it would,” he said, adding that Gotta Love Kids still has some preschool-age slots available. Hoiseth said Berhow told him the greatest need is for infants, but she’s maxed out on the number of infants she’s allowed to care for.

    “The big, urgent need in Crookston is for infants,” Hoiseth said. “There’s a big shortage of infant spaces.”

    He went on to note that the COVID-19 pandemic could have possibly changed the local child care landscape at least to a degree, and it’s possible the landscape won’t immediately return to normal once the pandemic wanes once and for all.

    “The pandemic has certainly changed the way people are working from home,” Hoiseth said. “We want to make sure we move forward in a strategic manner.”