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CoRise Cooperative

A provider-owned and led business to elevate the family child care industry.

Family child care providers (FCCPs) are small business owners who care for children in their own homes, either alone or with an assistant. In the U.S., approximately 750,000 children, birth to age five, are being cared for by 118,000 registered FCCPs. FCCPs are a vital source of care for families working non-traditional hours, families with diverse languages and cultures including immigrants and refugees, families with infants and toddlers, and families in rural areas.

Family child care is one of the most vulnerable – and currently shrinking – segments of the child care industry. FCCPs face an untenable workload and often receive poverty wages. The average annual income for family child care provider in Illinois is only $14,122, which is less than half of what is earned by workers with similar levels of education. Taking into account the 66.8 hours worked by an average FCCP, that pay equates to less than $5 per hour. It is no coincidence that in this low-paying industry, ninety-five percent of providers are women and a disproportionate percentage are women of color – child care has been systemically underinvested in.

In light of these conditions, The ICA Group and the Service Employees International Union partnered to develop a provider-driven social enterprise, CoRise Cooperative. The cooperative will offer its members, who are existing and aspiring family child care providers, technology-enabled products and business services as a vehicle to transform the industry.

CoRise is the culmination of three years of extensive market research on both the national child care industry and the specific needs of FCCPs in Illinois. In 2015, The ICA Group completed a feasibility analysis confirming the potential of cooperative ownership models to strengthen the financial viability of child care businesses and improve the quality of care and the quality of child care jobs. In 2016, SEIU and ICA explored potential pilots in a number of states, working closely with the SEIU locals such as SEIU 925 in Washington State and SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana (HCII) to learn about their members’ needs. In early 2017, the groups assembled a national advisory council of industry experts and FCCPs. The partners also chose Illinois, where HCII represents approximately 8,000 FCCPs, as the initial launch location, and identified a core team of seven family child care providers to drive the project forward. CoRise is set to launch in Fall of 2018.

As a cooperative, CoRise is grounded in the experience and needs of family child care providers, like Pam Franks, who agreed to share her story.

Camille Kerr, Anne McSweeney, Pam Franks

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