Early Head Start for Family Child Care Project

A Collaboration between HOPES, Inc. Early Head Start Program,Plainfield, NJ, and Community Coordinated Child Care, Hillside, NJ             

The Early Head Start for Family Child Care project started in January 2011 and comes to an end in October, 2011.  Although relatively brief in duration, it has positively impacted the lives of low-income children and families in the Plainfield community, and will continue to do so as we implement our sustainability plan.  As a result of the project our team was able to introduce the Head Start community at the local and state levels to the valuable services family child care providers offer.  Members of the child care community were enlightened on the comprehensive services provided by Head Start.  Through the project, the relationship between the HOPES, Inc, Early Head Start Program and Community Coordinated Child Care (CCCC), the county child care resource and referral agency, has been strengthened. 

As a result, Head Start and CCCC entered into a written agreement to share services including provider training; parent involvement activities; support group meetings; waiting lists of children; scholarship opportunities; newsletters; a family child care provider accreditation project; and the sharing of community health and social services.  In addition, a memorandum of understanding between Plainfield family child care providers, the HOPES, Inc. Early Head Start program and CCCCs will ensure that the services started as a result of the project will continue.  Current Plainfield family child care providers were offered training opportunities including a full day workshop by the renowned family child care advocate, trainer and author Tom Copeland; attendance at the New Jersey Head Start Association Annual Training Conference and the New Jersey Annual Family Child Care Provider Association Conference; and participation in a Head Start training webinar series and   pre-service training offered through HOPES, Inc.  Workshops for family child care providers will be added to the CCCC training calendar as a result of the EHS-FCC project’s funding for materials, to include “Ages and Stages” developmental screening tool training, and using the Family Child Care Environmental Screening (FCCERS) tool.   

In keeping with one of our goals to implement comprehensive services as stated in the Head Start Program Performance Standards, toothbrushes were purchased and will be offered to family child care providers so they can implement this practice in their programs.  Early Head Start parents interested in careers as family child care providers participated in the Tom Copeland training “Starting Your Family Child Care Business” and received materials to assist them.  Several Early Head Start parents and members of the Plainfield community have completed the training offered through CCCC to become New Jersey Registered Family Child Care providers, and others will be invited to future trainings.  The HOPES, Inc. Early Head Start program now includes the family child care option in their new program structure.  They will as a result of the project hire a family child care provider to serve on their staff. 

The HOPES, Inc. EHS resource library now has family child care materials for family child care provider use, thanks to the project.  Many positive relationships have developed between the Plainfield Early Head Start program, the child care community, and the Plainfield family child care providers as a result of the EHS-FCC project.  Family child care can be a wonderful option for children and families, especially for infants and toddlers.  Through the project our Plainfield family child care providers will now reap the benefits as they better serve low income children and families, and hopefully become a replicable model for others as we move forward.

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