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NESPELEM – A child care program is being added in Keller.

The Colville Business Council has set a plan in motion to open the program. Keller has lacked such services.

“We are pleased that Keller community members will soon have these child care services available,” said Rodney Cawston, council chairman. “It is essential that parents and families have access to quality child care, particularly in rural communities which are largely unserved.”

Cawston said Jeanie Kent, the tribe’s Head Start program manager, will free up the use of 600 square feet of space in the Head Start’s Keller facility to provide a place for a child care program. Renovation costs are estimated at $63,500.

Furnishing the space will cost an additional $17,000, while staffing and operations will be approximately $178,500.

The council approved the plan and its funding April 18.

“It’s good for our families and children to have easily accessible, quality child care in all reservation communities, no matter how small or remote,” Cawston said. “Until now, in Keller, it just wasn’t there.”

Keller District Councilman Jack Ferguson said the need for child care services has been a topic of consideration at Keller District meetings for some time.

“This project has been four or five years in the making,” Ferguson said. “A lot of our community members, even those whose children are older, continue to recognize the need for this program and to support it.”

Cawston said quality, comprehensive care will help improve school readiness for the children it serves, and help them to succeed in the future.

“This is an investment in our tribal children which will pay for itself many times over,” Ferguson said. “For a lot of good reasons, it’s the right thing to do.”

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