"Early Head Start and child care partnerships are essential for increasing community capacity to provide quality care for infants and toddlers, ... When these partnerships are in place the entire community benefits."
– Betsi Closter, Early Head Start for Family Child Care project director, Fairfax County, VA.
When the Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care joined forces to create the Early Head Start for Family Child Care (EHS FCC) demonstration project, one major goal was to enhance comprehensive services for young children.
The Fairfax County Office for Children saw the project as an opportunity to increase the efficiency of their efforts to meet the needs of low income children and families by drawing on the strengths and resources of all involved programs.
“We implemented this family child care partnership in response to our community’s need for child care during non-traditional hours and to be able to support more children in quality care,” said Jennifer Branch, Fairfax County Head Start director. “Family child care is an ideal option for infants and toddlers because it provides a home environment.”
With EHS FCC, the Fairfax County Office for Children saw the potential to increase the quality of childcare through more stringent training and curriculum requirements. Fairfax staff members provide mentoring and technical assistance to help support providers and boost school readiness. Additionally, the staff guides parents through completing the paperwork and connecting with child care providers. As a result, children receive social services improving their education, health, and nutrition.
The Fairfax County Office for Children will continue to work with early childhood stakeholders at the federal, state, and local levels to align rules and policies to streamline the process for all families involved.
“Early Head Start and child care partnerships are essential for increasing community capacity to provide quality care for infants and toddlers,” said Betsi Closter, the project director of EHS FCC. “When these partnerships are in place, the entire community benefits.”