One of Child Care Resource Center’s most senior staff members recently celebrated 25 years of work at the agency.
With that major milestone, Eileen Friscia was reminded that the same subsidized child care she helps Los Angeles and San Bernardino County families in finding may have allowed her to complete college and launch into this career. Here’s more of what she had to say:
What’s your role with the agency and what are your primary responsibilities?
“I am CCRC’s Resource and Referral division director. Our division is about connecting parents to all their child care options, strengthening families activities and connecting child care providers with coaching and resources they need.”
What personal connection do you have to subsidized care and when did you first come to this realization?
“When CCRC began administering its Resource and Referral and subsidy programs in San Bernardino County in 2013, I had an “ah ha” moment. I went, ‘wait a minute, I received subsidized care.’ I went to college later in life at age 27 to get my teaching credential and child development degree. I had been using a relative care giver but they eventually couldn’t watch my kids any more. (My kids) were ages 2 and 7, my husband was working and I was also working part-time. I knew that if I couldn’t get the cost of child care down, I’d have to drop out. So I spoke with a campus advisor, who told me I qualified for free child care. The way they presented it, I didn’t know at the time it was different from what other people were receiving.”
What impact did subsidized child care have on your ability to attend school?
“Having child care was huge. When I was a young mom, it was a big commitment to start college and try to balance working, too. If I hadn’t received the help, it would’ve been difficult. With kids, you’re always asking yourself should I go to school? Should I take that class? Should I take that shift? It’s a life changing experience, child care is so vital to getting out of where you are and improving your life.”
When did you come to work for Child Care Resource Center and how did your role with the agency change over the years?
“I started out as a Head Start teacher and I came to CCRC with 10 years of preschool teaching. I worked for the agency in a different role at first, in an entry level position. I moved up to a supervisor role with Resource and Referral in about 2001. I’ve had many roles with the agency and I always tell my staff to take every position with you to your next role.”
How many people do you supervise?
“When I became a supervisor in RR in about 2001, we had 12 staff. The highest amount of staff we had in RR was 120 a couple years ago, before we created the Family Well Being Division, then we moved about 30 Home Visiting positions out of RR into the new FWB division. I think we have 77 current positions in my department and I have five direct reports.”
How many child care providers does Resource and Referral serve?
“We have about 3,700 in our referral database. We update and contact all of them every month at the moment. Pre-COVID, we would contact them quarterly. We also offer coaching services to approximately 300 Family Child Care Providers and Child Care Center staff.”
What keeps you motivated?
“Without subsidized care, I probably wouldn’t have completed college and I wouldn’t be in this position. It was humbling for me to realize the parents we work with – we really help them reach their full potential and their goals. I feel grateful to part of helping to strengthen families and communities. I have wonderful coworkers and it is nice to work for an agency
that has a great reputation.”