Hugo family child care provider Wenzel gets county honor

Hegberg presents award to Kathy Wenzel on June 12


County Commissioner Dennis Hegberg honored Kathy Wenzel for family child care service. (Photo submitted)

Kathy Wenzel of Hugo and Cheryl Bennerotte of Woodbury were honored as Family Child Care Providers in Washington County by the County Board June 12.

The presentation’s purpose is to acknowledge their achievement and success in their career as early childhood educators and caregivers, and to increase awareness of quality child care.

Historically, Washington County has recognized two family child care providers in conjunction with the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association’s (MLFCCA) conference and banquet held for family providers throughout Minnesota. Individuals in the community nominate providers and these applications are reviewed by an ad hoc committee from the Washington County Child Care Council with representation from the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association.

The nomination for Kathy Wenzel came from a parent who struggled with finding quality child care for her children and was pleased when she found Wenzel.

Wenzel has been licensed since 1994, and is licensed to provide care for up to 12 children with 10 being under school age. When asked what her personal philosophy is in working with children and parents, Wenzel said she believes in letting parents know how the business is run and what her beliefs are, being down to earth and honest, and being able to communicate and listen.

The nominator wrote: “Kathy is truly amazing. I have only known her for four months, but honestly feel I have known her for years. I have never had such a good relationship with my provider as I do with Kathy. Communication is important to me and Kathy makes that so easy. My boys are so happy, and even have to give her a hug and kiss and always say thank you when we leave.”

Wenzel performs community service with the children, coordinating a food shelf collection at day care each year, and putting together shoebox gifts for children at Christmas filled with gifts for children who are less fortunate. The nominees said her “boys loved picking out toys and learning about giving.”

The ad hoc committee recommends the nominees and their names are submitted to Washington County Community Services/Child Care Licensing Program and the MLFCCA.

Requirements for potential family child care providers of the year are they have been in the field for at least three years; promote quality child care as a profession and in the community; meet annual state training requirements; have a positive impact on the lives of the young children; and demonstrate professional skills in child care.