Celebrating Child Care Provider Appreciation Day

Categories:
Child Care

Guest blogger is Linda K. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development

The words "Child Care" spelled out in children's letter blocksToday we celebrate child care provider appreciation day. It’s a day when everyone   in the early childhood field takes time out to recognize the important work of early care professionals. This year, I can’t think of a better way to honor them than by looking to the future of early childhood partnerships and considering how the federal government can continue our support.

All week long, we’ve been highlighting the Early Head Start for Family Child Care project (EHS FCC) and recognizing the great work so many programs have done. We’ve explored partnerships at all levels of government and shared success stories from across the country. All of us at ACF are proud to be a part of these efforts on behalf of America’s most vulnerable children and families.

Our responsibility now is to commit to maintaining and growing such partnerships in the years ahead. The EHS FCC project has recommended three ways to do this:

  1. Promoting and sharing information – We cannot move forward without heeding the experiences of those who have blazed the trail. We must ensure the lines of communication are open, and we must remain ready to learn from each other.
  2. Increasing program and policy alignment – It can be difficult to navigate and coordinate two different programs. Shannon and Yvette’s letter distributed this week provides a foundation we can build upon.  We will continue to work with all levels of government to make it easier to combine early childhood efforts.
  3. Supporting family child care quality – In many cases, family child care providers are not subject to high standards of program quality and may have trouble accessing resources and supports to enhance their skills. Partnerships between family child care and Early Head Start raise the bar on quality and expand the supply of excellent care for vulnerable children and families.

One of the key results of the EHS FCC project is a technical assistance paper that expands on these strategies and other lessons learned. I encourage you to read it and apply its findings to other child care programs.

Early care and education providers across the country work tirelessly for our nation’s children. They encounter many challenges yet still navigate a path to success.  Today and every day, let us reaffirm our commitment to them and to the families they serve.