Families First of Minnesota logo

Families First of Minnesota logo

A new nonprofit child care center opened its doors in northwest Rochester on Monday.

Family Circle Learning Center, operated by the nonprofit Families First of Minnesota, opened in the Mount Olive Lutheran Church at 2830 18th Ave. NW.

Family Circle can accommodate eight infants, 21 toddlers and 33 pre-schoolers. The center is managed by Sarah Klocek.

Due to a serious shortage childcare in the area, the Olmsted County BRIDGE Collaborative and the Otto Bremer Trust each provided $100,000 grants to launch the project with $200,000 under the umbrella of Families First of Minnesota.

"Mount Olive came to us several months ago and said they would make classrooms available to an organization that could help address the child care shortage in Rochester," wrote Families First Executive Director Jon Losness on Monday.

He added that starting a child care center fit within the strategic goals of the agency.

"The center will be rich in partnerships, capitalizing on Families First’s oversight of Head Start and Crisis Nursery in Olmsted County. It will serve the community in striving for consistency of care and quality across child care programming," wrote Losness.

This new center is designed to help address the need for more child care in Olmsted County.  A study, commissioned by United Way of Olmsted County and Families First in 2017, showed a need for 1,855 child care slots in the county.

While new centers have since opened in Rochester, Eyota and Stewartville, and one in Byron expanded, a 2018 study done by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation in 2018 showed the county was still short 1,060 child care slots.

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger. You can call him at 285-7798.

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