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CCRC utilizing grant to improve early learning and care for children under age 5

1-25-21

The Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five, recently implemented at Child Care Resource Center, supports CCRC’s efforts to improve early learning and care by enhancing funding, quality, and availability of care to families most in need.

The grant was originally made available to the State of California in December of 2018 and was renewed in December of 2019 for a 3-year period. Over that period, $40.2 million will be available to help meet the promise of a California for All Kids, a statewide initiative that aims to put children on a path to a healthier future by focusing on their minds, bodies, and environments.

Some of the goals of the grant are to help streamline relevant local and state policies, maximize parent and family knowledge while strengthening their connections to the programs, developing a unified system for workforce professional development, and increasing the quantity and quality of Early Learning and Care (ELC) programs.

The grant’s action plan includes a number of steps that will help the state achieve its child care efficiency goals.

CCRC has activated Parent Cafes, which bring together parents of children age 0 to 5 to form an engaged parent network. Within these virtual meetings, a trained moderator provides parents with information to build on their knowledge of developmental milestones and support parent-child relationships. Through Parent Cafes, families further connect with child care and family support services.

The grant supports efforts to maximize parent knowledge and choice through improved system-wide data. A Parent Consortium will allow child care facilitators like CCRC to identify parents of diverse geographic locations, languages, and family characteristics such as disabilities, homelessness, or other unique factors. Information gathered here will be provided to the Early Childhood Policy Council Parent Advisory Committee.

Additionally, cross-agency training afforded by the grant may help staff connect families to appropriate resources and apply a consistent “trauma-informed lens.” The grant also calls for a Teaching Performance Assessment, which will provide consistent, high-quality workforce preparation to the early learning and care workforce.

In order to respond to the growing need for child care in California, another goal of the grant is to create a flexible, user-friendly Early Care and Education workforce registry statewide. Current registries are operated locally and a broadened system could lead to better data sharing.

Providing quality care to underserved populations is another focus of the grant, which aims to build a more equitable ELC system by increasing the supports and capacity for family, friend, and neighbor care providers, family child care providers, and home-visiting providers to offer quality care for underserved populations and families experiencing trauma.

The grant is also meant to provide inclusive care for children with or at risk of developmental delays, challenging behaviors, and/or those who may have experienced trauma. The need for this type of care has increased during the pandemic.

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