Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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June 12th, 2009

Providing quality child care for over 25 years

Twenty five years ago a small group of people did something that has since touched the lives of thousands of Sullivan County families, last Saturday their silver anniversary was marked with a gala celebration held at the Lodge in Rock Hill.

Through the planting of a tiny seed, an organization was formed that has been responsible in overseeing quality childcare.

The Sullivan County Child Care Council has grown to include 104 child care programs. They are the link between parents, childcare programs, community agencies, and elected officials.

Karen Cooke, Executive Director of the Council told me they “also act as an advocate for all children and promote community awareness of the need for safe, quality, and affordable child care.”

It all started when a woman walked into the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office looking for childcare for her small son. She had no idea how to go about trying to find a place that was safe and comfortable for her child attend, and not surprisingly neither did Cornell.

Times were much different then, the concept of child care resource and referral were still in its infancy. After much thought, Cornell decided to explore what childcare was available in Sullivan County. They found only a handful of agencies providing head start or nursery school programs.

Cornell turned to Ulster County for advice because they already had a childcare resource and referral center. The New York State Child Care Coordinating Council was able to establish funding to create the Sullivan County Child Care Council. Potential providers were recruited and training was provided by Cornell.

Legislator Ron Hiatt who was the initial attorney for the council told me, “It was nip and tuck in the beginning. The Child Care Council’s budget really ran on a shoestring. But everyone involved was determined and understood the benefits that would be brought to the community and their perseverance paid off.”

Legislator David Sager was guest speaker at the dinner, while Chief Assistant District Attorney Jim Farrell served as master of ceremonies. Both men are also board members.

Sager said, “There has never been a greater need for safe, well-trained and affordable child care providers. While the organization would not be a shadow of itself without Karen Cooke’s expertise, the biggest tribute must also go to the very capable and tireless efforts of the many childcare providers. Having two young boys myself and a household where both my wife and I are employed full-time, I know first-hand just how important quality child care is. The certified provider that I sent both of my boys to has become a permanent part of our lives.”

Farrell expressing similar sentiments as Sager added, “When my wife Nicole and I needed child care for our son Douglas over 11 years ago, we turned to the Sullivan County Child Care Council for guidance and direction and were introduced to a child care provider who not only opened up her home, her family and her life to our child, but also opened up her heart. Douglas and Kelsey simply adore their “Faithy.””

Emphasizing how the Sullivan County childcare community makes a difference in the lives of children, Farrell quoted world renowned anthropologist Margaret Meade who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

A group of people dedicated to making a difference that is exactly what the Sullivan County Child Care Council is doing. Happy 25th Anniversary!

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