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September 21, 2013

Childcare Council turns 25

Coordinating group offers parental support, childcare services

PLATTSBURGH — A group of mothers, professionals and businesswomen gave birth 25 years ago to what is now the Childcare Coordinating Council of the North Country.

“It incorporated as a not-for-profit on Oct. 11, 1988,” said Jamie Basiliere, the council’s executive director.

“I always called them the founding mothers. They were very interested and concerned about the quality, accessibility and affordability of child care in the tri-county region. They formed a committee, incorporated and ultimately got some funding through Sen. Ron Stafford in the way of a legislative grant known back in the day as pork-barrel funding, pork-barrel funding for babies and children.”

That grant launched the council.

“The group of founding mothers included people like Deena McCullough of Northern Insuring; Peg Mannix; Peggy Clifford, who works for the Health Department; Jane Gore, who retired from SUNY Plattsburgh’s Human Development program; Jean Williams, (who) retired from the Clinton County Youth Bureau; (and) Chris Allen, (who) just retired from the Department of Social Services,” Baisiliere said. “There were a few others ... It was really their efforts and Deena’s close relationship with Sen. Stafford, who got the Childcare Council the initial funding.”

Basiliere came on board in 1992.

“There was enough money in the bank for not very long,” she said. “I was an employee of one. They secured some free office space at Clinton Community College. The work we did then and we still do today, we help parents find child care. We recruit and train child-care providers. We work with businesses to help them address the child-care needs of their employees. We work throughout the community to improve awareness of and quality of early care services.”

The council has grown in a relatively upward trajectory in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.

“In 1995, we developed Family Connections Resource Center. That’s where we have a place where families go to access all kinds of programs and services to support parents and to help prevent child abuse. We offer playgroups and parenting-support groups, parenting-education classes and something we call resource counseling. It is helping parents find resources in the community,” Basiliere said.

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