Expanding Child Care

The Initiative

The Foundation has been working on expanding childcare in our service area since 2021. Our research, published in our 2021 Expanding Childcare report, found that a great need in Yadkin County was child care after losing 2/3 of its licensed child care over the past ten years. Alongside a coalition of Yadkin County leaders, we are pursuing a unique and innovative facility model called the FlexPlex, which will be the first in NC and possibly the country, when built. The planning team filed a petition with the NC Child Care Commission to change the state rules so that the model could be licensed. The petition was approved and is now under review. Simply described, the FlexPlex is a multi-unit facility with six turnkey, fully equipped and furnished spaces available for rent to six new childcare business owners. The facility will have shared common areas such as a playground, indoor children’s gym, and office spaces for children receiving special services. Such shared spaces reduced the cost of operations.

The model was designed by Business of Child Care, a Minnesota firm. Yadkin County Economic Development Partnership will construct and own the facility, renting it to SmartStart of Yadkin County, who will operate the building and shepherd the cohort of new businesses. Ideally-located land has been generously pledged by Marion and Jewell Welborn on Progress Lane near several major industries in Yadkinville. Yadkin County Economic Development Partnership has engaged the Business of Child Care for the Discovery Phase through a grant from the Foundation. The Discovery Phase will result in final architectural drawings and construction cost estimates. This exciting project is being watched by many other communities struggling to find viable solutions to the childcare shortage.

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North Carolina General Assembly Joint Early Childhood Caucus Leaders Visit Yadkin County

Impressed with the leadership and work of Yadkin County’s FlexPlex Planning Team, the NCGA Joint Early Childhood Caucus leaders came to Yadkin County to meet with Yadkin County leaders and learn more about the plans for expanding childcare. Liz Bell from EducationNC attended and reported on the meeting in their state wide publication. Click below to read the full article.

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Photo L to R: Carolyn Choplin, Smart Start; Smitty Williams, Unifi; Dr. Todd Martin, Yadkin County Schools; Tim Bell, Shallow Ford Foundation; Sandi Scannelli, Shallow Ford Foundation; John Willingham, Indera Mills; NC Rep. Ashton Clemmons; Bobby Todd, Director, Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce and Yadkin Economic Development; NC Rep. Julia Howard; NC Sen. Jim Burgin; Kevin Austin, Chair County Commissioners and Austin Electronic Enclosures; NC Rep. David Willis; Monta Davis-Oliver, Town of Yadkinville; NC Sen. Eddie Settle; Becky McCarson, Smart Start; Ariel Ford, DCDEE; Lisa Hughes, Yadkin County Manager.