Business Champions for Kids (Biz4Kids) is launching a program intended to encourage businesses to adopt family-friendly practices in an effort to support early childhood development.

Biz4Kids is a program of the Douglas Education Service District, which is partnering with i.e. Engineering, The Ford Family Foundation, Umpqua Dairy and others in this initiative.

“These employers have already derived meaningful, value-added information about their workplaces through their participation in this program,” Julie Hurley, Biz4Kids program coordinator, said in a prepared statement. “And through their hard work and dedication, these companies have paved the way for more businesses and organizations to take the leap with our program.”

Biz4Kids seeks to raise awareness in the business community that an investment in early childhood has a high return, including lower incarceration rates, increased productivity and a healthier workforce. By supporting employees with children, particularly ages birth to 5, employers can make a lasting difference in their communities.

Examples of family-friendly policies and activities include flexible work schedules, childcare support and access to early learning resources.

Those interested may invest in early childhood development programs in Douglas County through donations of time, money and/or other resources. This could include marketing upcoming early childhood activities, organizing employees to volunteer at a preschool or financially sponsoring a parenting group series or workshop.

For more information about Biz4Kids, including how to sign up, visit biz4kids.org.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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