Child Care Resources Newsletter - Summer 2016
Circle Time: noun 1. a time in which young children sit together and share news and stories
A Safe Place for Homeless Children
Creating Career Opportunities
Staff Spotlight - Theressa Lenear
Why I Give - Nanny & Ken Stephens
Family Child Care Conference
Families experiencing homelessness face extraordinary challenges every day; looking for permanent housing, finding jobs, and securing food with little or no resources. Homeless families with young children deal with the added worry of how living in unpredictable circumstances affects a child’s learning and growth. Research proves that disruptions in a child’s physical environment and interpersonal relationships can be harmful to healthy development.
The data is staggering. Significant numbers of infants, toddlers and preschoolers do not have reliable places to call home - 40% of homeless children in shelters are under the age of four, with even more children and their families living in their cars or with friends.
High-quality child care buffers the strain of living with homelessness; serving as a reprieve for homeless children, a consistent place to nap, eat predictable meals (breakfast, lunch and snacks) and develop a sense of belonging. Stability, a nurturing caregiver, a safe environment and quality early learning prepare all children to start school ready to learn. These factors play an even more pivotal role in a homeless child’s readiness for school.
Child Care Resources’ Homeless Child Care Program, the only one of its kind in King County, occupies a critical place in the support services available for families experiencing homelessness. For more than 13 years, we have provided short-term child care payments and coordination of resources for families, as well as coaching and support for child care providers to successfully navigate the complexities of working with these vulnerable families.
Child care provides predictability for children
A recent job loss and poor employment prospects brought Kenneth, Angela and their family from Minnesota to Seattle in search of better opportunities. However, finding steady jobs and a place to call home proved difficult in the fast-paced Puget Sound area. With money running out and no support network, they soon found themselves homeless. A local shelter program located temporary housing for them - a motel room in north Seattle with their four young children (ages 9, 3, 2 and 1) and another on the way. Although grateful for the safe, dry place for their family to re-group, a cramped motel room was not ideal for a growing family.
The motel room had been home base for a few weeks when they reached out to CCR’s Homeless Child Care program for help. CCR’s staff identified a family child care near their motel, and enrolled and paid for the three youngest children to attend. Knowing that the children were well cared for allowed Angela to go to her medical appointments and tend to the family’s various needs. Angela happily reports the kids are even getting along better with each other. With a stable environment, a community to call their own and the opportunity to be in an age-appropriate setting, all of the children are thriving. Stable child care and a loving caregiver also give the children a consistent and nurturing place to learn and develop, trying out new social and problem solving skills.
CCR’s Homeless Program meets the challenge of finding and paying for short-term child care for families like Kenneth and Angela’s every day - with more than 500 families receiving services through the program annually. Each story is different, but CCR’s goal is the same - to ensure all children have access to quality early education regardless of their family situation.
Thank you RealNetworks Foundation!
Thanks so much to the RealNetworks Foundation for their ongoing support of our Homeless Child Care Program. We are so grateful for 7+ years of partnership!
Pictured left - CEO, Deeann Burtch Puffert receives the donation from Tim Lloyd of the RealNetwords grant review team.
I hope you have been enjoying our unusually sunny and warm spring weather. I recently returned from a conference in Washington D.C. where the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. It was spectacular! While in D.C. I spent a day visiting our state’s legislators all of whom were excited to talk about the importance of Early Learning. Each expressed pride in representing the State of Washington because of our state’s sizable investment in supporting our state’s youngest learners.
I walked away from the day so proud to be a Washingtonian, but upon landing in Seattle was immediately reminded that despite some significant wins we still have a ways to go. Every day on my drive to work, I see evidence of the homelessness challenge in our community. I know that families raising young children are living in many of those cars and tents along my route and that they are often overlooked in the homelessness conversation.
If you remember, shortly after the civil homeless emer-gency announcement last fall, CCR’s Homeless Child Care Program, the only program of its kind in King County, lost 50% of its funding ($500,000) effective February 1, 2016. I am relieved and grateful to report that with support from our community and government partners, we secured enough funding to keep our program intact for the 2016 calendar year. However, the need for funding remains as we continue to uncover sustainable dollars for 2017 and beyond. We feel confident that we will be able to maintain support for families in the multi-pronged ways we have been for 13 years
The work to help our youngest, most vulnerable children continues. Thank you for celebrating our wins on behalf of young children and for supporting the impactful work that is still before us. As always, call or email me any time.
Until next time,
Getting dirty. Climbing trees. Many of Yolina’s happiest child-hood memories come from days spent running through the woods near her home. Two family matriarchs, her grandma and auntie, played a big part in Yolina’s interest in working with children; from them she learned patience and nurturing and developed a strong work ethic. Most importantly, they taught her never to give up—whether reaching for the highest branch or realizing a dream.
Life has not always been easy. At times Yolina has lived paycheck-to-paycheck with her two children, lived in a homeless shelter, and cared for her ill aunt. Through each of these challenges, Yolina held onto her goal of building a career working with children.
Opportunity knocked when she met Trudy Mossop, who manages the Child Care Resources Careers program, at a Seattle Housing Authority event that connects Seattle Housing residents with community organizations to develop new skills to find better jobs. CCR’s Child Care Careers program trains and certifies child care providers for work in the early learning field—increasing the pool of trained child care providers and expanding culturally relevant child care options for families.
During the 12-week program students receive comprehensive training and complete an internship at a licensed child care center. Curious and attentive in class, Yolina excelled in the Careers program and now works at Causey’s Learning Center as a teaching assistant. Her Child Care Careers instructor reflected, “She brought a great positive presence that I’m sure is translating into her work with young children.” Determined to keep moving forward, Yolina plans to continue her education and work toward a degree in early childhood education; she may even open her own child care business one day. “I’m happy working with children. It doesn’t feel like work. I want to do well at it because it is important work.”
Theressa is a Manager of Professional Development and has been with CCR for almost 24 years.
What you’re working on:
Our team coordinates professional development opportunities for child care providers with special focus on Early Achievers standards and content that is relevant to the diverse children, families and communities we serve.
Favorite thing about your job:
At the core of my work is our vision that every child deserves a great start in school and life. My mantra is all children should be visible, valued and validated - every day. I love knowing that ultimately it is the children who benefit from my work with child care providers.
A recent challenge in your work:
An ongoing challenge in my work is eliminating the inequities within the early learning field. CCR takes this challenge to heart and puts creating equitable early learning environments for all children at the center of the conversation.
My favorite children’s book:
My favorite children’s book is Ellington was not a Street. The story reminds me of growing up listening to the kings and queens of jazz, like Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington, on the old 78 records while my parents held meetings at our home to organize against the segregation and acts of racism happening in Fairbanks, Alaska.
"Nanny’s Preschool has been our life’s work for the past 27 years. We believe that quality early education is the rebar in the foundation of a child’s life.
We have partnered with CCR for 15 years because we share their mission and know that they will be thoughtful and effective stewards of our contributions."
After discovering CCR’s Homeless Child Care Program crowdfunding campaign last winter, the youth group at the Chinese Baptist Church on Beacon Hill selected the program as the beneficiary of their annual fundraising dinner on April 30th. Thank you to Erin Welch and the entire Homeless team for their amazing work that catches the attention of generous supporters like this inspiring group of teens.
To host your own community event, please see our fundraising kit.
Careers Class Graduations - Tues, June 14th in Kent or Thurs, July 14th in Seattle To attend, please contact Susann
Tacoma Family Day - Saturday, August 13th, Stop by the Children’s Museum of Tacoma to meet our staff, play in the museum, and receive discounts at the Museum of Glass and Hello, Cupcake
CCR Annual Benefit Luncheon - Monday, Oct 24th, Seattle Marriott Waterfront
For more information contact events (@) childcare.org
More than 80 family child care providers learned about the importance of resilience in themselves and the children in their care at CCR’s Family Child Care Conference on April 30th.
Here’s how one provider described how their work has improved the experience of a child in their care over time:
“Giving increased attention to a non-English speaking child has helped her calm down, trust and become a good learner in class. But, I have a long way to go to encourage participation with larger groups of kids.”