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Child Care Shared Services Moves Ahead

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

It’s been a tough few months for Oregon. Thousands lost their homes from the wildfires, tens of thousands evacuated, and millions huddled inside to avoid the acrid smoke. All of this is on top of a COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated the child care industry and communities across the country. Amidst this, however, there have been some remarkable bright spots with SVP and our community partnerships. 

Last month we shared our latest investment Child Care Shared Services. Since that update, a team of a dozen providers, coaches, Oregon Department of Education employees, and other industry stakeholders has come together to form our core decision-making body — the Co-Design Team — that will guide the development of a statewide Child Care Shared Services Alliance (CCSSA). In the first three meetings, the Co-Design Team has made tremendous progress. 

In the first meeting, the team discussed the needs of Oregon’s child care providers. In response, they committed to making all decisions with an equity lens and to center the voices of the people directly impacted by the challenges and barriers in the child care system.

In the second meeting, the team split up into two groups and discussed what kind of services they’d want the Alliance to provide, a list that included: accounting, automated billing, coaching, legal assistance, bulk purchasing, and many other disciplines. They discussed their goal that pooling these services will decrease costs, increase revenues and, most importantly, give providers more time and energy to focus on the children. 

At the third meeting, a team of three SVP Volunteers presented their research on potential backbone organizations that might host the Alliance  when it launches next year. To prepare, they conducted in-depth interviews with five prospective organizations and framed the key decisions to be made by the Co-Design Team.

The team also defined their vision: “A relationship-driven alliance of providers working together to support sustainable business practices, increase program profits, and protect/support provider well-being. Our ultimate goal is to save providers’ time so they can focus on meaningful relationships with teachers, children and families and earn a financially secure living doing the work they love.”

A dedicated group of SVP volunteers has been incredibly busy supporting the Co-Design Team’s work. In addition to researching potential backbone agencies, eight Partners are working across four different teams to learn about small business financing, identify Oregon’s coaching resources, and build a financial model to look at different budgeting scenarios. The teams are working together to conduct interviews with organizations and experts across the country so we have the detailed information and insights we need to bring our shared services alliance to fruition.

Partners Diane McCartney and Alisa Blum shared, “We got involved to be on the ground floor of a project to help child care providers with the business services they need so they can grow and thrive in Oregon. Costs and overhead for providers are too high, and a shared services alliance can help them dramatically reduce those costs. It’s exciting to be part of a first of its kind effort to launch a shared services alliance that’s statewide in its reach.”

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