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Blog | | Early Edge California, Leading from Home

Early Edge Convenes Eighth Community of Practice of the California Leading From Home Program

Early Edge California hosted its eighth Community of Practice (CoP) of the California Leading from Home (LFH) Program, which seeks to support Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) caregivers in developing their advocacy skills and help them establish grassroots support networks within their communities. These monthly CoP gatherings aim to foster mutual learning and collaboration, empowering these caregivers to elevate their voices and needs within their local communities and across the state. The purpose of LFH is to invest in and empower FFN caregivers, enabling them to inform policymakers about the importance of FFN child care and what is needed to support them in their caregiving. The cohort members also receive a monthly stipend for their participation and commitment to the program.

On March 27th, Early Edge convened the eighth LFH CoP which featured guest speaker Benu Chhabra, a former FFN caregiver and current Family Child Care (FCC) provider, and president of the Bay Area Professional Family Child Care Network. Since 2000, Benu has been an FCC provider. She is active in the Child Care Providers United union, serves as an Early Learning and Care mentor through her local college, and leads a local coalition of parents, providers, and educators to fight for affordable local child care. As an advocate, Benu was integral in the passage of Senate Bill 234 in 2019, which prohibited localities from discriminating against family child care providers through local zoning laws. This issue began in Benu’s city of Concord, which found its way to the state legislature and the Governor’s desk.

Benu spoke to the LFH providers about her experience as an advocate and how she galvanized her experiences as a provider into action and policy change. LFH members were able to get a glimpse of how a local issue can be elevated to the state through Benu’s storytelling of her experience, allowing LFH members to visualize their own story which they will share at an in-person advocacy day that is part of their participation in the program. The cohort felt more confident on why and how they can elevate their personal issues outside of the caregiving space. This CoP meeting helped solidify the groundwork in preparing FFN caregivers to participate in their upcoming advocacy day.

Early Edge is enthusiastic about the participation of ten passionate and seasoned FFN providers in our initiative to gain profound insights into the unique needs and barriers faced by FFN providers and ultimately amplify their voices throughout California. For further details about this program, please visit the California Leading From Home webpage on the Early Edge website.

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