The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program is a state and federal partnership used to provide assistance to low-income families to access child care, as well as build supply and improve program quality. Since 2016, states, territories and tribes have been required to outline how they will use this dedicated federal funding over a three-year period. Plans cover a multitude of areas, including how states will promote family engagement and consumer outreach, ensure equal program access, establish health and safety standards, recruit and retain a qualified workforce and support continuous quality improvement.
Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies stepped up and supported child care providers within their service areas in assisting with supplies, personal protective equipment and many other needs of child care programs. One of the most common themes or needs identified by child care professionals was support for the social-emotional needs of children.
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As shared in the previous blog entitled “Virtual Coaching: Lessons Learned During the Pandemic,” transitioning to virtual coaching required professional development providers to anticipate and prepare for the changes and adaptations needed to make the shift from in-person to virtual coaching. Issues such as new technologies, equipment, training, recruiting providers, and virtual platforms need to be considered to implement virtual coaching successfully.
Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) have an extensive history of successfully partnering with outside organizations and businesses to respond effectively to the needs of the child care community. This history places CCR&Rs in a unique position to leverage these relationships to develop the capacity of their organizations to build, grow and assist in the implementation of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) in their communities.
“I had so much fun on Thursday taking the parenting class with my husband & we made some new friends too while we were there. I will definitely keep going back every time.”
“Such an awesome resource for children and families. Their staff is kind and caring and always make you feel welcomed.”
“A-M-A-Z-I-N-G STAFF!!!!! Incredible resources! I love this place! There is a free library and playground where you can bring your children. They also have events on certain days!”
These are just a few of the Google Reviews for the Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) in Canton, Ohio, which is a member of Child Care Aware® of America.
With more than 60 reviews that largely echo the sentiments above, and nearly a 5-star rating, what is the secret to ECRC’s success? Turns out: it’s about providing great client service and support.
Angela Moses, director of Early Care and Education Services at the Early Childhood Resource Center, shared how she and her staff have worked hard to create a welcoming experience for the families they serve. Here are four tips for child care staff to address a client's concern:
- Work quickly. When a concern arises, don’t delay. Work quickly to resolve the issue.
- Seek understanding. Try to get a full 360-degree view of the situation, including the client’s perspective and the staff’s perspective.
- Provide training. Equip your staff with resources, training and effective communications strategies so they can better support the clients.
- Take an empathic approach. View the concern from the client’s point of view. This helps the client feel understood and can reduce overall tension and conflict.
The pandemic has resulted in state and federal policymakers taking notice of the essential role child care plays. Child care has been prioritized as an issue desperately needing support and has been included in each of the three relief packages to date. But relief funds have only provided temporary solutions for the child care system and are just the beginning of what is needed to recover and rebuild after decades of underfunding. Federal policymakers are listening and are in the midst of considering additional funds to sustain child care long-term.
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