‘Family Cafes’ to help parents find childcare: ‘We want to meet you’

Posted at 7:17 AM, Sep 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 08:26:22-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond non-profit Thrive Birth to Five is seeking out families in need with a grant through the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.

The group has organized six “Family Cafes” for parents who are struggling to find childcare.

“There was a recent study done by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation that said 84% of unserved families would seek childcare if they could afford it. So that's a huge number of families that we want to reach and find and bring to the table and help support,” said Mary Beth Walsh, Thrive Birth to Five’s family and community engagement manager.

Childcare is “the most foundational piece of education and economic development,” Rep. Jennifer McClellan (D - 4th) said at an August 1 roundtable discussion in Hopewell.

McClellan joined Sen. Tim Kaine (D - Virginia) for a tour of a pre-k childcare center Kids With Goals Unlimited.

Center owner Juanterria Brown told lawmakers that she’s expanding her business but her waitlist is still eight pages long.

“I know families coming from Petersburg, Chester, New Kent County, Prince George, and Colonial Heights and they’re all telling me they can’t find childcare let alone in their own district or region - they have to go elsewhere. It’s sad,” Brown explained.

Family Cafés are a gathering, hosted by Thrive Birth to Five, for parents/guardians/caregivers of children ages 0-5, from your region.

During this event, you will build relationships with other parents, learn more about early childhood care for your children, and provide insight into childcare gaps and needs in your community, according to the event’s website.

Thrive Birth to Five will provide $50 per family (limit 2 adults per family) as incentives to help offset barriers, like childcare. You will also leave with childcare slots that may be open, a swag bag of goodies that includes books, bubbles, and other local resources that may be helpful for your family.

“If you are a family who has struggled finding childcare, or is still struggling to find childcare, please come and see us come to these cafes. We want to talk to you. We want to meet you,” Walsh stated.

Each of the Family Cafe events is tailored specifically to families living in certain areas.

  • September 20, 5 p.m.- 7 p.m. Charles City and New Kent; Chickahominy Tribal Center 8200 Lott Cary
  • September 28, 5 p.m.- 7 p.m. Powhatan and Goochland; Pocahontas Elementary School, 4294 Anderson Highway
  • September 29, 5 p.m.- 7 p.m. Greensville, Emporia, Surry and Sussex; Jessica Ann Moore Community Center 408 School St.
  • October 1, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Richmond, Hanover and Henrico; The Oak Avenue Complex 15 S. Oak Ave
  • October 12, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Chesterfield, Colonial Heights and Hopewell; Chesterfield Early Childhood Learning Academy, 15501 Harrowgate Rd.
  • October 14, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Dinwiddie, Petersburg andPrince George; Petersburg Public Library, 201 West Washington St.

You’re encouraged to RSVP beforehand.

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