Child Care Resources Newsletter - 1st Quarter 2016
Circle Time: noun 1. a time in which young children sit together and share news and stories
Growing the CCR Family
Staff Spotlight - Lisa Conley
What is Family, Friend & Neighbor Care?
Why I Give - Janet Levinger
Careers Program update
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.
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
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.
“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!
“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 (@) childcare.org
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”.