California Program Builds Early Head Start and Family Child Care Partnership

Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) County jumped at the chance to participate in the Early Head Start for Family Child Care (EHS FCC) demonstration project.

The partnership comes naturally for CAPSLO, a California nonprofit with many years of experience serving families of infants and toddlers through Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and Early Head Start. CAPSLO also has expertise in recruiting, supporting, and training networks of family child care providers as a grantee for California’s Child Care and Development Fund program.

Family child care providers look after children in the provider’s home, offering an appealing option to parents who desire an environment with fewer children than the typical child care center. Because this is often a preference for parents of very young children, a partnership with Early Head Start is a great fit.

Bill Castellanos, CAPSLO’s Child, Youth and Family Services division director, was delighted at the opportunity to promote home-like settings for infant care.  Such settings are especially good places to provide a range of health, educational and developmental services to babies whose parents work long hours during the agricultural season.

“Now that we have these demonstration projects I hope that the Office of Head Start will embrace the Family Child Care model as viable for Head Start services because it has many benefits, especially for the younger children,” Castellanos said. “It’s a more natural setting with smaller groups; it is multi-age family environment including the siblings.”

In order to improve the public image of family child care homes, CAPSLO used the EHS FCC project to take their message to the airways.  They produced an attention-grabbing video showcasing the benefits of quality family child care to parents, providers, and community partners.

Family child care professionals derive many benefits from the EHS FCC partnership. For example:

• They are free to focus exclusively on the delivery of excellent care and education, as Early Head Start staff are available to help families gain access to the ancillary services they need.
• They receive supplies and equipment to improve the safety, and quality of their programs, all of which helps them to succeed.
• CAPSLO assigns infant toddler development specialists to visit the family child care homes regularly to support and mentor the providers.

To assist the family child care providers in meeting the Early Head Start requirements for provider education, many of CAPSLO’s infant toddler development specialists received certification as bilingual Infant Toddler Child Development Associate (CDA) advisors. Child Care Resource and Referral agencies in the multi-county area assist by developing training sessions for the providers to obtain necessary training hours toward their CDA’s.

“Completion of the CDA gives the providers a strong sense of accomplishment and inspires them to think about the next steps toward a college degree, such as taking an English class or some ECE units,” said Castellanos.  “We have partnerships with community colleges to assist with this when the providers are ready.”

For more information, contact William Castellanos at the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Inc.:

William Castellanos
Child, Youth and Family Services Division Director
Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Inc.
1030 Southwood Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA  93401
(805) 544-4355, x. 220
bcastellanos@capslo.org

You can also visit the program website.