SUNY Canton Partners with Area Agencies to Increase Childcare Options


A new partnership between SUNY Canton and several area agencies works to address a regional childcare shortage through a Family Child Care Training Program.

“We are very committed to supporting childcare in the north country,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran “The idea of training people to be able to establish their own home-based family childcare businesses or to increase their skills is critically important. The lack of these services prohibits all kinds of economic development.”

Childcare partners from St. Lawrence County pose for a group photo.

The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Authority, St. Lawrence Child Care Council, Inc., St. Lawrence County Workforce Development Board, New York Power Authority, SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the college’s Early Childhood program have teamed up on a plan to create 10 to 15 new licensed providers, which will establish 60 to 120 new slots for children. With $200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act grant funding provided by the county legislature, the newly formed team will be offering free training and resources for those who want to develop in-home childcare businesses.

“Our role in this process will be to provide technical assistance and support from the first touch, until they get their license,” said St. Lawrence Child Care Council Executive Director Bruce Stewart. “We will take a new perspective family daycare provider through this process step by step as fast or as slow as they wish to go.”

The free services offered to assist new entrepreneurs include mandatory first aid and health and safety training, and child day care orientation, provided by the Child Care Council. The organization will also provide a $1,500 incentive to be used for supplies while setting up new businesses.

The SUNY Canton SBDC will provide virtual entrepreneurship training, business planning, bookkeeping and other business-focused guidance.

“Our whole purpose is to help new businesses start, help existing businesses grow and be sustainable,” said SBDC Director Dale A. Rice. “We want to help provide an environment where people can enter or reenter the workforce. We're hoping that this program is going to encourage future business development and support the working families of St. Lawrence County.”

SUNY Canton will be offering a free college credit-bearing course for participants, according to Professor Maureen P. Maiocco, Ed.D., the lead faculty member in both the college’s two- and four-year Early Childhood programs. She serves as an instructor to students and mentor to program graduates as they seek to start their own childcare businesses.

“Participants will enroll in our popular online seven-week course, Introduction to Early Childhood offered every semester” Maiocco said. “The course and materials are included at no cost to participants, thanks to ARPA grant funding.”

New York Power Authority Director of Economic Development Patricia K. Wilson said the training package would be difficult for an individual to undertake on their own without assistance.

“This is preparing them for success every step of the way,” Wilson said. “Somebody who starts the program is more likely to finish the program, and ultimately open a business here in St. Lawrence County, providing such a very needed service.”

To register for the program, for more information, contact Katy Pinkerton from the Department of Family Services at (315) 393-6474 extension 17, or email

About SUNY Canton

Discover SUNY Canton, where innovation meets opportunity. The college’s career-focused educational programs emphasize hands-on and applied learning opportunities in digital design, engineering technology, health, information technology, management, public service, and veterinary technology. Faculty members bring real-world experience and exceptional academic expertise to the classroom. As a leader in online education, SUNY Canton offers unmatched flexibility with hundreds of courses and 23 comprehensive degree programs offered completely online. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos compete at the NCAA Division III level and will be transitioning to the SUNYAC in Fall 2024. In addition to its 15 traditional teams, SUNY Canton offers coed varsity esports and cheerleading.