It’s been no secret that childcare in Valentine has been struggling to keep up with demand for years. A 2019 survey indicated a gap of 134 children that needed daycare in the community. There are currently 7 licensed daycare providers and a few unlicensed providers in Valentine. A group of interested citizens, representing various groups, held another meeting on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of starting a community childcare facility. There is no clear-cut model at this time but given the crisis situation with childcare, the group wants to move as quickly as possible. They are looking to identify possible facility locations such as the old city gym or the former nursing home. Funding sources are being identified and there are some concerns over administration and staffing. Groups cooperating on this effort at this time include Valentine Children and Families Coalition, City of Valentine, Cherry County Hospital, Valentine Economic Development, Mid Plains Community College, Valentine Community School, and Northwest Community Action. There are also private citizens and daycare providers participating along with other entities. The group hopes to develop a sustainable business model, possibly with inter local efforts. Lack of affordable, quality childcare is directly related to lack of workforce in communities. The schools will be starting an after-school program this fall and it will also offer some summer school opportunities. The group will continue to meet and push for solutions to this critical situation.