Affordable, high quality child care can be extremely difficult to access in the New River Valley. For example, Rainbow Riders Childcare Center, one of the largest child care centers in the NRV with more than 400 students enrolled at three locations, has a waiting list for children under the age of 3 that is 380 families long. And their case is not unique. Young parents often have to find ways to get creative, sending their child to a different child care center, having a relative look after the child, or one parent remains underemployed or with no job at all. As a result, local employees struggle to recruit and retain workers with young children as employees either leave the workforce or move out of the area to find care.

To address this problem, The Alliance for Better Childcare Strategies, Inc. (ABCs) was formed in 2016 to strengthen the community’s early child care and education infrastructure to attract and retain talented people with young children in the NRV. The board includes representatives from Carilion Clinic, Community Foundation of the New River Valley Lewis Gale Hospital, Modea, National Bank, New River Community College, Rackspace, Smart Beginnings NRV, Virginia Tech, VT Corporate Research Center, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Montgomery County, Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and Public Schools.

The mission of ABCs is to build collaborative partnerships that will improve the availability, affordability, and quality of early childcare and education in the New River Valley. ABCs recently hired its first Executive Director, Bethany Mott, whose extensive experience with marketing, fundraising, together with her work to establish the Radford Early Learning Center, will set ABCs up for success. The Community Foundation of the New River Valley houses this staff position and serves as fiscal sponsor for the organization as it pursues tax-exempt status. For more information contact: Bethany Mott, abcs@cfnrv.org.

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