Solution Overview

Solution Name

Care Cooperatives

One-line solution summary.

Using the concept of the platform cooperative to address critical needs in the childcare gap.

What is your solution?

Creating the digital infrastructure to connect parents, families, and individuals with childcare needs to care providers through a digital cooperative platform. 

Such a platform would serve to measure and bridge gaps between care providers and community needs while also creating a space for collective decision making and resource sharing among care workers who are employed in the various modes of the care economy (formal care workers, informal care workers, educators, etc.)

A common platform would also serve as a mechanism for care workers to self-organize, providing mechanisms for training, vetting, and other necessary functions for collective governance. 

A digital platform would also enable parents and families to easily schedule childcare with trusted providers and childcare workers to advertise their availability, ensuring coverage on both ends (like Uber for childcare!).

Fringe profits could then be invested in subsidizing costs for those who might not otherwise be able to afford childcare services.

What specific problem are you trying to solve?

In rural communities such as mine families also struggle to meet their childcare needs while childcare workers are oftentimes underpaid, underresourced, and undervalued. A digital cooperative platform would be a vital tool in bridging the needs in supply and demand that exist in the childcare sector, especially in under-resourced communities.

This platform would also aim to recognize the vital role that care workers play in communities, including care workers who serve in less formal capacities. Bringing those types of informal care workers into a shared platform would help to ensure that they are adequately paid, resourced, and protected from exploitative arrangements, such a platform might even include a mechanism to set up contractual arrangements and reduce the liability assumed on both ends of a caretaking arrangment through well articulated terms and conditions. Alltogether this reduces the liability and risk oftentimes assumed by care workers employed in both the formal and informal care economy. 

This platform would also provide a tool for developing funds to invest in macro-scale project that address community care needs.

Rural regions like Appalachia have been referred to as "childcare desserts", a trend that has only grown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Building such platforms would serve as a vital support for social infastructure. 

Who does your solution serve? In what ways will the solution impact their lives?

The target population for this project is low-resource communities who lack well developed childcare infrastructure (ie. childcare centers), and especially individuals who might struggle with accessing childcare through traditional pathways. 

What steps have you taken to understand the needs of the population you want to serve?

I've received grant funding through and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to conduct a participatory research to action project engaging my immediate community collecting data, stories, and visions on what a cooperative childcare platform might look like. This project largely seeks to imagine to programmatic needs of such a platform rather than the technological needs, but I increasingly have come to recognize that a technological platform is vitally necessary in this work.

I also have many years of lived experience as a organizer in my own community and as an individual in a family with multiple and competing care needs (childcare, eldercare, disability care, etc.)

Which aspects of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Improving financial and economic opportunities for all (Economic Prosperity)

Our solution's stage of development:

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model

Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution—in other words, what have you accomplished to date?

I've designed a participatory research and story sharing project to collect data from my own immediate community and engaged in idea sharing and generation around childcare issues through's Care Constellation Cohort.

Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Wise, VA, USA

Team Lead:

Garrett Blaize

Solution Team

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