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“Meeting families where they are” is key to James Moses’ work at CCRC

When people in San Bernardino County think of child care and development, CCRC Regional Director James Moses hopes his name comes to mind. Because James says if his name comes up, he knows that person will be connected with the invaluable services at Child Care Resource Center and throughout the County. Moses has spent the better part of three decades forging relationships with families, lawmakers and community leaders in San Bernardino County in an effort to better support families, children and their caregivers.

In 2003, James was working for the County Superintendent of Schools when he first spoke with CCRC leadership. At the time, his office had lost most of the child care development contracts under its responsibility. As a result, Moses became the leader of the KidsNCare Department of County Schools, as it was being tasked with transferring most of the programs from the county to CCRC. That process introduced James to CCRC President and CEO Dr. Michael Olenick, as well COO Ellen Cervantes.

“Mike and Ellen reached out and asked ‘what’s your plan?’ but at the time, I wasn’t losing my job so I wasn’t actively looking for new employment,” James recalls. “I was planning to stay with County Schools but then (Mike and Ellen) started getting emails from folks saying ‘you need to hire him.’

“CCRC’s commitment to community won me over.”

James Moses

One of those emails, James says, came from First 5 San Bernardino Executive Director Karen Scott. With her urging, Mike and Ellen approached James again and asked him to consider working for CCRC. This time, James agreed to join.

“Everything I was seeing in CCRC – working with staff and talking with CCRC – their vision, it seemed like an incredible alignment with my values and my vision for how to serve families and lift them up,” James shares.

That shared vision, he says, entails understanding families and where they are in the moment. James says he agreed with CCRC leadership that all families come from a different place and have unique needs that require individualized support.

“CCRC understood that it’s where the family is and not where the organization is at that is important,” James says. “CCRC’s commitment to community won me over. We believe you just have to meet (families) where they’re at, show them how they might be eligible and give them access to services and support to move them forward.”

James began at the agency on a path toward directing programs, but it was later recognized that he was best suited to community development efforts, such as building relationships with legislators. Over time, his work evolved and he became part of a government relations teams that aimed to coordinate public advocacy work.

“Some of what we’ve seen come out of that is ongoing and regular collaboration, like with Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes,” James says. “She has supported our work by authoring bills, attending our events, providing financial support opportunities and many other things that allow us to improve our communities.”

The partnerships created by James and the agency have led to several awards, like the recognition CCRC has received from the Child Abuse Prevention Council over the years as a non-profit committed to preventing child abuse and neglect. In 2020, CCRC won the award. James says the agency has also received honors from the The Unforgettables Foundation, which removes barriers for young children who don’t have a connection to family, as well as the County of San Bernardino Preschool Services Department for the agency’s commitment to community collaboration. James was also honored in 2021 as one of Senator Connie Leyva’s Terrific 20 of Senate District 20.

James Moses (left) stands with Senator Connie Leyva (middle). [2021]

“I don’t feel like any award is my award,” James says. “I may get the award, but it’s not all me. I may be the face of the work we do but the work is really done by all of us as an agency.”

The partnerships that James has helped develop between CCRC and state lawmakers have supported the agency’s legislative efforts to pass laws that benefit children, families and child care providers, such as the historic provider rate reform passed in 2021. In addition, CCRC won with Sen. Leyva’s nomination a grant through the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the senator has also conducted several diaper drives for CCRC. James says his team has worked hard to partner with the Superintendent and the County of San Bernardino’s policy team to work more collaboratively on issues facing child care and development programs, not just education but mental health programs, too.

“What we’ve seen in the last two to three years is support of child care development,” James says. “They weren’t supporting us so much earlier because they didn’t see how they connected but now they see the bigger influence that child care programs have on the whole county and community.”

During his tenure, James has seen 15 positions added to CCRC through Quality Support San Bernardino. In addition to his work with CCRC, James is also on the First 5 San Bernardino advisory committee, Inland Empire Help Me Grow Advisory Committee, Children’s Network Policy Council, High Desert Early Childhood Professional Development Network leadership team, and he chairs the CAAEYC Public Policy Committee. He sits on the board as public policy advisor for Every Child CA. As a member of the San Bernardino County Early Childhood Team, which includes First 5 SB, the Superintendent of Schools, and Preschool Services Department Director, James supports efforts to inform the work goals and local funding streams for early childhood development programs.

James Moses (center) holds a certificate of recognition from the Assembly alongside CCRC President and CEO Dr. Michael Olenick (left). [2014]

James adds that he is excited about the future and how CCRC hopes to work with many partners in San Bernardino County to expand the opportunities and services provided to children and families in our community. Referring to CCRC’s growth over the last several years, he notes “we have expanded into an agency that provides whole child, whole family services, opening up a new set of collaborative opportunities with other County departments, school district teams and community-based organizations, that can lift families up to help them reach their goals.”

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