How Do Family Child Cares Promote High Quality Child Care?
As the family child care field continues to grow, it becomes apparent that strong, dynamic and effective local and state associations are necessary to promote high quality family child care. The importance of associations was highlighted in the Families and Work Institute’s Study of Children in Family Child Care and Relative Care (Galinsky, Howes, Kontos, and Shinn, 1994).
Associations promote the following key elements of high quality family child care identified by the Families and Work Institute Study.
Provider - to - Child Relationships
Family child care associations encourage providers to offer care that is warm, caring, sensitive, attentive and responsive to children.
Family child care associations attract committed providers-those who have chosen to care for young children and see themselves as more than babysitters.
Family child care associations provide opportunities for providers to work with and learn from their colleagues.
Family child care associations offer a variety of “provider-friendly” training programs geared to the provider’s level of experience and educational background. Examples include: enhanced child care training to further care giving skills; mentoring programs, accreditation preparation, and leadership development opportunities.
Family child care associations encourage and/or require provider members to be state-regulated.
How Can Community Partners Support Associations?
The potential for family child care associations is to promote high quality child care directly linked to the resources available to them. The National Association for Family Child Care works collaboratively with other national, state, and local organizations assisting these associations to gather and retain the resources they need to promote high quality family child care. The following are examples of how community partners can support associations.
Regulatory, resource and referral agencies, and child and adult care food programs can inform providers about family child care associations and encourage provider participation.
States can use money from the Child Care and Development Block Grants and other funding streams to support programs offered by family child care associations.
Training initiatives can be linked with accreditation or institutional credit and administered through family child care associations.
The private sector can fund family child care associations and provider technical assistance as needed.