Home News Local News A Child's Second Home
A Child's Second Home
By CHRIS COLLINS
Of the Baker City Herald
Julie Magill considers herself a professional and after hours of training and working to meet state requirements, she has a certificate to bolster her reputation as a child care provider.
Magill, 45, has cared for other people's children while raising her own two for the past 13 years, seven of those in Baker City. She and her husband, Terry, moved to the community from Vancouver, Wash. Terry, 51, helps with the family business, Julie's Child Care and Preschool.
Their days begin with the arrival of the first child at 5:30 a.m. and wind down as the last one leaves by 6 p.m., Julie says. The couple provide care in their home, which they expanded recently to better accommodate the business. The expansion and her many hours of training helped Julie qualify as a certified child care provider.
"It's a dream I've always had to be certified," she said. "I've always loved my job. (Certification) is a place I needed to go to."
Angi Boruch's two children, Hannah, 5, and Brianna, 18 months, spend part of their day with the Magills.
Angi and her husband, Greg, moved to Baker City from Nebraska with Behlen Mfg. in 1996. Greg is a maintenance team leader at Behlen and works from 3:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Angi works in quality review from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Boruches had two previous child care providers they parted from the first by their choice and the other closed her business and referred them to the Magills.
"Day care is expensive," Angi acknowledges. "But it's a bill I don't mind writing out.
"To me it is their second home," she said. "They're there while me and my husband are working. They can't wait to get to (Julie's) house. She cares for them so much. It's great to see that."
Boruch also appreciates the preschool instruction both of their children receive from Magill and credits the program with helping build academic skills, even in her 18-month-old.
The preschool is for children ages 3 to 5. It meets from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday and also involves the younger children when possible.
"I hope the community can respect the decent care providers out there," Boruch says. "It is a hard job. We're blessed to have the good ones that are out there."
Magill is one of four certified child care providers in Baker County. The certification process requires them to complete 15 hours of training per year, compared with eight to 10 hours every two years for registered providers, Magill said. Certified providers also must pass annual inspections on topics ranging from safety to sanitary procedures and menu planning.
Magill also is the facilitator for the Provider Resource Organization, which has 14 members. The PRO group receives training throughout the year on a variety of topics such as child abuse, stress management and playground management.
"It is a great resource for providers," she said. "I'd love to see more members."
Baker County also is one of just a handful of counties in the state to receive a three-year grant of $50,000 per year to enhance the quality of child care offered, according to Jean Johnson of La Grande, the Child Care Resource & Referral team leader for Service District Area 15.
The pilot project will target increasing child care options for families, especially during odd hours and for infants and toddlers.
"One of the reasons we got the project is that (the state) realizes that Baker is in an economically depressed area and there is a need for some of these kinds of things," Johnson said. "But also there is great collaborative partnering climate in Baker County."
Brenda Lewis-Ho, the CCR&R provider care specialist, coordinates the Quality Child Care Enhancement Project, which is funded through the Baker County Commission on Children and Families.
Nurse Sandy Hoover coordinates the Healthy Child Care Project, funded through another grant of $60,000. Hoover works through CCR&R to provide health-related information and equipment to providers, Johnson said.
Lewis-Ho said her goal through the Quality Child Care Enhancement Project is to help providers become more competent through education, professional development and technical support.
The grant money can be used to pay tuition to help providers earn an associate degree in areas such as early childhood education at Blue Mountain Community College, she said. It also can help fund improvements to the day care environment for providers who meet certain criteria and participate in the Professional Development Registry.
That program provides professional development classes through Portland State University. Twelve categories of instruction are emphasized ranging from human growth and development, to families and their social systems and children with special needs.
"It's impressive the amount of hours the providers take," Lewis-Ho said. "They are really well-trained, and if not they have the opportunity to be."