A Change for Families Experiencing Homelessness
For the last 14 years, CCR has been a crucial resource for families living with homelessness; the place thousands of families have turned to for child care subsidy, referrals and connection to other support services. And supporters like you have helped keep this program alive in the face of numerous funding challenges in recent years—thank you! Later this year, this program will experience a change that CCR is determined to keep from negatively affecting these vulnerable children and families. In July, the WA State Department of Early Learning will shift the distribution of all state-issued child care subsidy for homeless families from CCR to state-run Working Connections Child Care. For parents ready to work or engage in employment-related activities, access to longer-term (12 months) child care subsidy will be a positive change. However, we believe that the most vulnerable homeless families—those not eligible for subsidy under stricter state requirements—will be adversely impacted by this shift. (see side bar)
Advocacy Takes a Village
Over the last several months, with the help of our board, staff, and other influencers, CCR has been advocating the importance of maintaining our wrap-around services and safety net subsidy to a number of public entities, and we are gaining traction. While our advocacy efforts continue with the City of Seattle and King County to secure permanent anchor funding, the Department of Early Learning has recently agreed to contract with CCR for one year to provide navigation support for families applying for public subsidy. Public anchor funding coupled with flexible private support will enable CCR to continue:
providing case management for families as they identify their child care needs and next steps
hold a pool of “safety net” child care subsidy funds for families who are ineligible for other public support.
coach and support child care providers who are caring for these children.
CCR remains diligently committed to serving homeless children and families in our community through this transition and thank our entire community for sharing our vision of giving EVERY child a great start.
Spring has always been a time when a fresh start seems possible. Lately there seems to be a great deal of focus on what is going wrong rather than celebrating what is going well. I am guilty of a negative focus myself at times. It certainly impacts the way I show up in conversations with friends and colleagues and how I approach my work and the world. Shifting the conversation to a more balanced place is something I long for. So, I am making a commitment to focus on both the wins and the challenges in the early learning world in the coming months and want to invite you to join me. To get us started I thought I would share a few of the wins.
Early Achievers has resulted in more children being in consistent, high quality care.
Homeless families will have access to more consistent subsidies due to changes in federal policies as of July 1st. (Read our Top Story)
Informal (Family, Friend and Neighbor) caregivers are increasingly included in early learning conversations at the statewide level.
The House and the Senate budgets include early learning funding that acknowledges the importance of meeting the needs of our youngest learners. While not fully addressing our concerns the fact that early learning issues are consistently considered is a significant win.
I just celebrated my 27th anniversary at CCR and my 35th year devoted to the field of early learning. I have seen a lot over these many years and can say from first-hand experience we have come such a long way. Much thanks is owed to those who have moved us this far and to those who are picking up the torch and carrying the work forward. Let’s not forget to celebrate it all as we continue to push for greater commitment to quality early learning experiences for all.
Until next time,
Terrie Yaffe is a Homeless Project Specialist on the Family Services team who assists families in all kinds of homeless situations throughout King County to find and pay for child care. She has been with CCR since 2003.
What I'm currently working on:
I’ve been helping a young mom find child care for her one year old while she completes her GED program. The grandmother, who lives with them in an emergency shelter program, has been providing child care at the shelter but is about to start a new job.
Favorite thing about my job:
Collaboration—with CCR staff and with shelters, school district personnel, child care providers and community advocates dedicated to reducing homelessness.
A recent challenge in my work:
Locating vacancies in programs that accept child care subsidies for children staying in Redmond and Bellevue has been very difficult.
Favorite children’s book or game:
Max by Rachel Isadora (an oldie but goodie); about a young boy who accidentally discovers that he enjoys dance class as much as he likes playing baseball.
Something cool that people don’t know about me:
In the summer I often leave work with my bathing suit, sandals, towel and head to a special spot on Lake Washington to get in the water and swim.
Hard Working Mom Fears Failure
I work hard every day to provide my children with food on the table and clothes on their back. But, affording child care was either going to force me to quit my job and stay at home or continue to work and not be able to pay some of my bills and eventually go into debt. I literally needed an additional paycheck just to provide care for my children. I felt like I had failed. I was in tears before finding help at Child Care Resources. The Child Care Financial Assistance scholarship truly SAVED my family--without it my daughters would have bounced around from place to place to whomever was free to watch them while I was at work. Our lives would be in chaos. Knowing that my children are happy in a stable child care environment means the world to me. –Bellevue mother of 2
"I give to CCR because the work they do in training and providing other support services to child care givers and parents is vital in ensuring that our children get the quality care they need in order to get that much-deserved head start in life."