Circle Time

Child Care Resources Newsletter - 1st Quarter 2016

Circle Time: noun 1. a time in which young children sit together and share news and stories

Quick Links:
Deeann's Desknote
Growing the CCR Family
Staff Spotlight - Lisa Conley
What is Family, Friend & Neighbor Care?
Why I Give - Janet Levinger
CCR Events
Careers Program update

Welcome to 2016

January 4th –my first day back at work after a holiday vacation. First on my “to do” list was completing my 2015 self-evaluation as part of my performance review process. I don’t know about you, but as I have grown older (or is it more mature?) it has become increasingly difficult to remember what was happening a year ago. So, I did what any tech savvy person would do; I looked at my electronic calendar! What I found reminded me of the all challenges and successes we experienced as an organization last year. 

We started the year unsure of many things. Would the state continue funding for the quality improvement and rating work with licensed child care providers? Would we be selected as the organization to acquire Child Care Aware of Pierce County programming as they transitioned from City of Tacoma oversight? Would state funding for our Family Call Center be cut? The list went on.

In July the Washington State Legislature passed the historic Early Start Act that expanded funding for a broad range of services that keep families within reach of high quality child care when they need it and help child care providers continue to improve their programs. A big win! Over the next several months we received word that our Family Call Center funding would continue and that we had indeed been chosen to acquire Child Care Aware of Pierce County.

Then we ended the year with unexpected and devastating news - the Department of Housing and Urban Development discontinued $500,000 in funding for our Homeless Child Care Program (50% of the program budget), redirecting those funds to put housing first. With a heartwarming response to urgent pleas for replacement funding from all corners of the community, I’m relieved to report that funding commitments received as of earlier this month will enable this well-regarded program to continue serving homeless children and families through 2016. Whew!

CCR started 2015 with 50 employees and ended with more than 100, having seamlessly integrated services to families and providers across an entire second county into the lifeblood of CCR. An uncertain start to the year became an opportunity for us to prove our adaptability and further unite around a shared passion for what we do.

I am so proud of this organization that I helped start 26 years ago with 18 staff and a dream of making an impact on the quality of child care. I am looking forward to what 2016 holds for us. I have no doubt that with your continued partnership it will be an amazing year. 

Merging Pierce and King County Services Together - a Monumental Feat! 

For nearly 15 years, I oversaw Child Care Aware of Washington’s services in Pierce County, assisting and educating families and child care providers to improve the overall quality of child care for all children. Then the Early Start Act passed last year. This historic investment in early learning and high quality child care meant that our programs were about to experience a monumental growth spurt in size, scope and impact - yay! It also meant we needed to move Pierce County Child Care Aware services out from under the umbrella of the City of Tacoma to an organization whose mission and purpose was highly focused on early learning services so we could implement our programming more effectively - Child Care Resources.

Once the decision to merge with CCR was made, the transition happened in a short two and a half months. On July 1st, we were part of CCR - staffing, operations, and identity. I’m not sure we’ve stopped to catch our breath yet! Anyone who has been through a merger knows that even though you’ve merged legally and mechanically, it can take a while to bring people together, merge cultures, align processes and determine structures - while operating our daily programs without interruption.

Now, seven months later, we have worked through many of our respective structures and programs, staff size agency-wide has doubled, and we have identified three program sub-regions to blur the county lines and help us focus our work in a community-based way (North, Central, and South). Through all of this change we have continued to provide excellent services to families and child care providers across King and Pierce counties and establish a culture of belonging and support. Our new home within an early learning organization means more teammates to share in the day-to-day implementation struggles and successes, for which I’m grateful. And needless to say, I can’t wait to see what happens at CCR in the next 12 months!

- By Christine Rosenquist, Chief Program Officer

Meet Lisa Conley

Lisa has led CCR’s Kaleidoscope Play & Learn program for the past decade as part of the Family, Friend and Neighbor team, helping informal caregivers improve the quality of their care.

What I’m working on right now:

I am putting together an action plan to bring school-readiness programs to families in Kent in collaboration with the King County Housing Authority, Kent School District and a variety of cultural leaders in the community.

A recent challenge:

In response to interest from communities in North Carolina, Kentucky and the United Kingdom, I’ve been tasked with creating a plan to replicate our Kaleidoscope Play & Learn program across Washington State and beyond.

My favorite childhood activity:

I stole my mom’s hair-dresser scissors from her purse…more than once…and cut my dolls’ hair.  Unfortunately, practice did not make perfect - my daughter suffered through a couple of bad haircuts I gave her when she was very young!

My favorite thing about my job:

I love the diversity of people I get to work with - families, educators, social workers - all from various walks of life.

The Oldest Form of Child Care in History

“Good morning, Julia! I’m looking forward to spending the day with you.” With a big smile on her face, Julia reaches for her grandma as her mom gives her a goodbye hug and rushes out the door to work.

Julia, like millions of young children across the country, is cared for by extended family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, cousins, family friends -- while her parents are at work or school. We call this type of child care arrangement family, friend and neighbor (FFN) care. Parents choose FFN care for a variety of reasons – flexible scheduling, affordability, convenience – but most choose FFN care because they prefer a trusted family member or friend who shares their own values, culture, and language to help raise their children.

Studies estimate that at least 50% of young children are cared for by family, friends and neighbors rather than more formal licensed or facility-based child care. That estimate is closer to 70% among families of color, immigrant and rural communities and families with children who have special needs. That equates to at least 110,000 children in Washington receiving informal care from friends and family. As CEO Deeann Puffert has often said, “Family, Friend and Neighbor care is an integral – and often overlooked and underappreciated – part of our early learning system. If we want to support ALL children, we must also support those in informal care and not just those in licensed child care.”

To meet this need, CCR collaborates with community partner organizations to reach and support family, friend and neighbor caregivers with information about child development. These programs help caregivers see how they can build on everyday activities – like grocery shopping, making breakfast, or getting dressed – to create early learning moments throughout the day.

CCR developed and works with community partner organizations to deliver the following programs to enhance the quality of informal child care:

  • Kaleidoscope Play & Learn. Recognized as a Promising Practice by the Evidence Based Practice Institute of the University of Washington, parents, FFN caregivers and the children in their care participate in weekly play groups held in more than 120 community sites across Washington State and facilitated in 10 different languages. More than 75% of participants of this program report increased understanding of their role and the role of play in early brain development and kindergarten-readiness. As a recent King County participant who cares for her granddaughter said, “At home we dance and sing more. I explain to her while I’m cooking. I help her follow rules and to listen.”
  • Early Learning Conversations. Trained caregiver leaders from various ethnic communities use this curriculum to talk with neighbors, friends and others in their social networks about evidence-based child development and school-readiness.
  • Brothers & Sisters. Youth who care for younger siblings and other young family members learn about child development, CPR/First Aid, and early education careers via 32 hours of interactive classes.

Recognized for her important role in Julia’s early learning and guided by evidence-based child development information and the support of others in their community through this programming, Julia’s grandmother and others like her are much better prepared to support children’s healthy growth and development. In turn, the children in their care will be better equipped to succeed when they begin school - something every parent wants. 

- By Lisa Conley, Kaleidoscope Play & Learn Lead

We are thrilled to announce that the Boeing Company has selected CCR as a 2016 grantee, investing $80,000 in our Family Child Care Engagement program.   It’s an honor to be among more than 100 local nonprofits who have been awarded nearly $10 million in 2016 Boeing grants!

Meet Janet Levinger

“I give to CCR because it fosters life-changing care for young children.  What happens in the early years of a child’s life impacts everything that happens later. All young children benefit from safe, supportive, culturally relevant environments that encourage exploration, learning and emotional growth through play, art, games, and interactions with other children and loving adults. Child Care Resources works to make all of this possible for every child.”

  • Pierce County Early Learning Reception - Thursday, Mar 24th, 5:30-7:30 pm, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Please RSVP
  • CCR night at Peddler Brewing Co.Wednesday, March 30th, 4-10 pm in Ballard, $1 from every pint to CCR
  • CCR day at Lost Lake Café - Tuesday, May 17th, all day on Capitol Hill, 10% of sales to CCR
  • Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG - Tuesday, May 3rd
  • CCR Annual Benefit Luncheon - Monday, Oct 24th, Seattle Marriott Waterfront

For more information contact events (@)

Congratulations to our most recent cohort of Child Care Careers Program graduates who are now ready to launch successful careers in early learning and even open their own child care businesses! This diverse group of women represented nine different countries, spoke eight different languages and supported each other through the completion of their 12-week training and internship program. As Dora from El Salvador stated at their graduation ceremony, “For me this is a big dream and the start of my journey. Thank you to our teachers, classmates and partnering organizations for helping us start this journey”.


Learn More...

It’s a great time to be in Early Achievers!

Early Achievers has been updated, simplified, and improved overall and it is here to stay!  It has been fully-funded and written into state law with passage of the Early Start Act this summer. In King and Pierce Counties alone, we have over 1,000 participating licensed facilities, serving 26,000 children!  Of those participating facilities, 320 (and counting) have already been rated.  Early Achievers is beneficial for children, because it highlights what children need in their child care setting to not only be successful now, but to thrive later on in school and in life.

Early Achievers offers an exciting menu of supports and incentives to participants:

  • Scholarships
  • Grant money available. Act now, this funding is limited!
  • Free resources and STARS training
  • Increased Working Connections Child Care subsidy reimbursement rates
  • Early Achievers ratings displayed on Child Care Check for parents to search
  • Onsite technical assistance and rating readiness consultation
  • Personalized coaching
  • Financial awards

Here's how Early Achievers has had a positive impact on one child care program:

“Participating in Early Achievers has given me the opportunity to stretch and grow. This experience has given me the tools, knowledge, and confidence to make changes in my family child care.” ~ Deborah K. Hayford, Family Child Care Provider

Sign up for an Early Achievers Orientation today to see if the program is right for you!

Learn More...

The Science of Child Development

The Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington is leading the way in research on early brain development. They are building an online library of resources for early learning professionals, parents, caregivers, policymakers, and interested community members. CCR is excited to partner with I-LABS to share this critical early learning information with the families and child care providers that we engage with every day. 

Each online module explores a specific topic in early brain science, such as imitation and language acquisition, and nests it within the larger landscape of child development.  All modules are free and are designed to be appropriate for use in everyday interactions with children, as well as for informing system-level programs and policies.

The library of online training modules can be viewed at

You can also learn about exciting research being done at I-LABS by joining them for a tour to see the only MEG Brain Imaging machine that records brain activity in infants during real-time interactions.

Photo credit Institute for Learning and Brain Science / University of Washington

Learn More...

New Child Care Careers Graduates

Careers program graduates ready to be hired!

Since 1998 the Child Care Careers Program has provided intensive skills-building and support for participants to build sustainable careers in early education and care. Participants engage in 12 weeks of rigorous, focused instruction that far exceeds minimum state early learning licensing requirements. Fall 2015 program participants have graduated and are looking for employment in child care centers or family child care homes as high quality early childhood educators. We would like to congratulate 2 Fall program participants who have already been hired by their internship sites! Generous funding from United Way of King County as well as private funders allows us to provide this course FREE of charge to qualifying participants. Learn more…

Careers program graduates have completed:

  • 30 Hrs. STARS Child Care Basics Certification
  • 3 month Child Care Training Internship at a licensed child care facility
  • Department of Early Learning Cleared Portable Background Check
  • Adult, Infant, & Child First Aid/CPR/Bloodborne Pathogens Certification

Child Care Careers graduates increase the availability of high quality, culturally-relevant early education and care in King County. Careers class participants are immigrants and refugees who speak another language in addition to English, so they can enhance the diversity of languages that your young children are exposed to in your care setting, supporting early brain growth. 

The Winter 2016 Child Care Careers class has begun at Seattle Goodwill Training & Education Center. In February we will be starting a specialized Child Care Careers cohort in partnership with the Refugee Resettlement Office, specifically targeting refugees who are interested in opening their own family home child care businesses. We are currently recruiting refugee participants who have been in the USA for less than 5 years and are interested in opening their own family home child care business for this new project.

Child Care Centers or Family Home Child Care Providers interested in hiring a Child Care Careers Graduate or hosting a Child Care Careers student intern should email Trudy Mossop or call 206-329-1011 ext. 287

Read the story about Careers program graduate Rasha Ibrahim in the Highline Times

To invest in our community and continue this great work, please consider Joining the Effort and Donate Now

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Welcome to Child Care Resources

Since 1990, Child Care Resources has helped to build a strong early learning system for all children in King County. We work with families, caregivers and early learning professionals, and collaborate with community partners to ensure that every child has a great start.

We are a trusted resource for families seeking child care in Washington State. Our team of experts is available by phone or email to help families explore their early learning options and to make informed choices about this important decision.

We partner with early learning professionals in King and Pierce Counties as they develop high-quality care. Through coaching and professional development, we help early learning teachers increase the quality of care available for all children.

We are a collaborator, advocate and data resource in our community, ensuring everyone understands the value of early learning and growing support for key policies that support quality early learning.

To meet or contact one of our wonderful staff, you can view our directory. To view a downloadable version of our brochure, click here

My Family Needs Child Care I am an Early Learning Professional