Circle Time Winter 2018

Child Care Resources Newsletter                                              Winter 2018

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

 

CCR Advocates for Children & Families

Happy February! We are now half way through the Washington State legislative session, and I am excited to report that we have met with more than 15 of our Pierce and King County legislators to share CCR’s legislative agenda (see below) and illustrate how an investment in early learning has a significant return. During one particularly memorable and touching meeting, one of our Senators stopped and turned to a child care provider who was with our group and emotionally thanked him for the “incredibly hard yet significantly important job you do day in and day out working with the children in our community.” Her sense of gratitude reminded me why we do advocacy work: to ensure families have access to care, and that caregivers have the support they need to help children thrive in their early learning settings! I encourage you to consider writing your legislators to share why you believe investing in early learning is important. With each letter, visit, and phone call we increase the understanding of the importance of investing in children. 
 
As always, call or email with your thoughts, questions, and comments. 

Photo at left: Vinnie & Roslyn Duffy, Deeann Puffert, and Senator Sharon Nelson

 


 

Child Care Resources' Advocacy Agenda

1. Increase Working Connections Child Care Reimbursement Rates
What does this mean for child care providers?
For each child using subsidy in their care, providers currently are reimbursed 65% of the average cost of caring for that child, limiting their ability to staff and supply their programs to adequately deliver high-quality care. Increasing the subsidy reimbursement rates means covering more of the cost of care for providers who aren’t currently making ends meet, allowing them to hire more, qualified staff, and potentially scale their businesses to serve more families.
 
What does this mean for families?
If providers can’t afford to make the staffing and classroom upgrades required to rate well in Early Achievers due to low subsidy reimbursement rates, they won’t be able to accept any children on subsidy, leaving fewer options for families who rely on the Working Connections Child Care subsidy to pay for their children’s care. Families accessing subsidy are unable to compete with families who can afford to pay full price for child care.
 
2. Restore Early Achievers Scholarship Funding for Child Care Providers
What does this mean for child care providers?
New state rules will require child care providers to hold some degree of formal training, forcing providers without a degree or certification to return to school or enroll in professional training courses. Without scholarships or professional development training funding available, returning to school will be impossible for providers, causing some to close their businesses.
 
What does this mean for families?
Without fully funding these resources and education for child care providers, families may be left with even fewer child care options as providers leave their jobs to return to school, or switch careers altogether. Also, investment in continuing provider education is critical: having highly trained child care providers means higher quality care for children!
 
3. Expand Extended Day (7 am – 6 pm) Year-Round ECEAP Slots into High Quality Child Care Programs
What does this mean for families?
Increasing the number of extended day year-round ECEAP slots will make it possible for many families that are eligible for this state-paid preschool program to be able to utilize the program. Because many low-income families work irregular hours, expanding these ECEAP slots ensures that families can access the care that they need to fit their schedule.
 
What does this mean for children?
When families only have access to part-time and seasonal care, young children are forced to move between child care locations throughout their day—ultimately disrupting their experiences of stability, and in many cases leading to social and behavioral issues. Consistent, quality care provides the routine that children need to thrive. 
 

Visiting KP&L at the Chinese Information Services Center

In our last two newsletters, we highlighted a pervasive issue in our state and our country: the scarcity of and high need for child care. One way in which CCR helps to alleviate this dilemma is by supporting Kaleidoscope Play & Learn (KP&L) programs across the Puget Sound region. KP&L programs are a wonderful support network for those caring for the 75% of Washington children not in licensed care. Parents, grandparents, friends, and family members bring the children in their care to local accessible meeting places – libraries, community centers recreational centers – and under the guidance of a facilitator, they sing, play, dance, learn, and participate in fun activities that promote healthy development and school-readiness. KP&L groups are drop-in, always free, and some groups are also taught in two different languages – tailored to the children and families they aim to engage.
 
The Chinese-English KP&L groups that are coordinated through the Chinese Information Services Center (CISC) are led in both Chinese and English to encourage children and caregivers to preserve their native language. There are even non-Chinese speaking participants who attend, enjoy, and benefit from these open groups as well.
Mabel Kwon is a KP&L program coordinator at CISC, and visits groups twice a week to support the group facilitators. Her favorite part about working within the KP&L model is to witness “kids proudly bringing their little crafts home and caregivers bringing their confidence home.” In addition to families’ increased confidence in building their children’s skills at home, she adds, “It is especially rewarding to see a positive trend: that parents and caregivers have been putting down their cell phones and are more involved in participating in our Play & Learn Groups.”
 
CISC’s KP&L groups run through the summer, making this type of care more accessible to families in need of summer activities and educational opportunities for their children. Parents and caregivers enjoy taking turns leading story time and games, sharing what they learned, and exchanging recipes. These are wonderful opportunities for group participants to interact with each other, and for community organizations such as CISC, the King County Library System, and Child Care Resources to collaborate in offering supportive services to families with young children.
 

Kathleen Pierce is a community volunteer and manages the Kirkpatrick Family Foundation, which awards grants to the Kaleidoscope Play & Learn program.
 
“We have supported Child Care Resources for nearly 20 years. In the early 2000s, our foundation worked with CCR and other funders to raise the visibility, and improve the quality, of family, friend, and neighbor child care in our state. Since then, CCR has continued to provide stellar leadership in this area, bringing the vision, the advocacy, and the resources our vulnerable children and families need.”

 

The Innovation Fund

CCR’s Board of Directors recently launched the Innovation Fund, making funding available for staff members who have thoughts and ideas around improving processes and programs at CCR. The Innovation Fund began as a pool of unspent dollars from fulfilled contracts, and was supplemented with some individual contributions to encourage the development of new and unique ideas that can further our mission and strengthen our impact in the community. Of the five proposals submitted between September and November of 2017, two projects were selected by the committee and approved for funding by the Board of Directors in December. We are proud to share them with you here.
 
Family Child Care Training Video, Submitted by Malyun Yusuf, EA Rating Readiness Consultant & Kathy Keefe, EA CCQB Reliability Lead
Award amount: $35,000
This project will provide family child care programs (operated out of homes) with training videos tailored to prepare them for the Early Achievers rating process. Currently, all state-funded training resources are geared only towards child care providers who operate within a child care facility, forcing owners and staff in family child care settings to interpret how to adjust their interactions with children according to their environments, which often have children of multiple ages learning alongside each other. With a video tailored to the unique setting of family child care, these providers will have an easier time improving their care based on empirically supported standards that define high quality.
 
Graduate Analysis, Submitted by Sara McDowell, Early Learning Training and Program Specialist
Award amount: $18,000
This project will enable Child Care Resources to perform a retroactive analysis of the education and employment status of each graduate of CCR’s Child Care Careers Program in order to tell a more complete story of this program’s impact on its participants. Our Careers Program trains and certifies about 50 refugee and immigrant women each year as they begin their careers in the child care industry. Current lack of capacity prohibits follow up with graduates, resulting in insufficient data to measure the intended goals of the program – employment in the child care field and professional development. Investment in this additional communication will help us identify the Careers Program’s strengths and weaknesses, illustrate the impact of this program to potential funders, and help identify tangible possibilities for potential students and community partners.
 
With a remaining balance of $47,000, CCR continues to accept applications from staff members with out of the box ideas to improve the way their programs impact high quality early learning environments in our communities.
 

Malyun Yusuf is an Early Achievers coach who works with providers across King County and supports them in providing high quality child care. Malyun recently applied for, and was awarded, an Innovation Fund grant to create a family child care training video.
 
1. What she’s currently working on: As an Early Achievers coach, I support child care providers’ progress in the Quality Improvement and Rating System.
 
2. Favorite thing about her job: I love working with Early Achievers and building relationships with providers. I find that it’s truly an exciting time for me and my providers. Especially for my bilingual providers, to see them embrace and succeed in the Quality Improvement and Rating System while bringing their culture and tradition into their program, which exposes children to the richness of diversity and culture. I am noticing a long-term improvement in both providers and children in their program.
 
3. A recent challenge in her work: Finding low cost classroom materials (such as toys and shelves) for providers going through the Early Achievers rating process.
 
4.Favorite children’s book or game: Little Red Riding Hood in Somali was my favorite story as a child.
 
5. Something cool that people don’t know about her: I do this thing with my kids on Friday evening, we call it the “Friday fun dance” where my kids get to work out their energy and I get a little work out in.
 

Elizabeth Jane Stanton recently launched her newest book, Bub, and donated multiple new autographed books to CCR’s Kaleidoscope Play & Learn groups. We congratulate Elizabeth on her book’s success, and are immensly grateful for her generosity!

 


Kaleidoscope Play & Learn Book Fundraiser

With the help of national children’s book publisher First Book, Child Care Resources is fundraising for multicultural books to be used in our Kaleidoscope Play & Learn groups! 
 
Why multicultural books?
CCR’s KP&L groups primarily serve communities of color and families who speak a language other than English at home. All children benefit from exposure to books at a young age, but children also benefit from reading literature that reflect their own communities. When children find themselves reflected in the books they read, they learn that they are valued in a society of which they are a part. When families read bilingual books together, they develop English language skills while preserving their home language.
 
Help us reach our goal of $2,500 to give our KP&L caregivers and children the joy of reading!
 
As the world becomes smaller and increasingly diverse in its cultures and experiences, it is crucial that all children have access to books that serve as both windows and mirrors. Kids who see their own experiences reflected in books gain self-confidence, while reading about experiences that differ from their own helps kids develop healthy curiosity and empathy. – First Book
 

Visit www.support.firstbook.org/kpl to learn more and give.


Welcome Child Care Resources’ newest Board Members Aubrey Beals, Laura Kneedler, Shilpa Devela, Meg Crager, and Richard de Sam Lazaro, and UW Board Fellows George Robinson and Sisi Zhou! We are thrilled to have each of their voices contribute to our governing body, and grateful for all they bring to CCR! Read their bios here.