This month, Early Edge California convened the second Community of Practice (CoP) of the Leading from Home (LFH) program, which seeks to support Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) care providers in developing their advocacy skills and help them to establish grassroots supportive 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 providers, enabling them to inform policymakers of 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.
The second CoP meeting took place on September 13th and was conducted in English with live Spanish interpretation. An integral part of LFH is mentorship provided to FFN caregivers by veteran provider leaders. At our second meeting, our cohort of FFN providers were introduced to their mentors, who will serve as a guide and resource for the remainder of their program. The cohort members will have one-on-one monthly meetings with their mentors to help them set their goals and develop and refine their vision to support their caregiving and advocacy.
In addition to connecting with their mentors, the cohort heard a presentation from Prenatal-to-Five Fiscal Strategies on the California Alternative Methodology, which aims to change the way the State pays for child care by gathering input from child care providers in all types of settings. The presentation described the process that the state is leading to develop an alternative methodology and cost model for more equitably reimbursing providers and covering the true cost of care. As FFNs are included in California’s subsidy system and often paid less than minimum wage, it is critical for FFN caregivers to provide feedback on what factors into the cost of their caregiving, and what quality looks like to them and the families they serve.
The LFH cohort then participated in a discussion focused on advocacy and were able to reflect upon what advocacy means to them and ways in which they have served as advocates in different capacities. Cohort members were introduced to the 10 steps of advocacy and were provided examples of local community-based support networks, both of which are necessary to enact effective policy change.
To foster a safe and collaborative atmosphere at our CoP meetings, Early Edge is committed to gathering and implementing the feedback on shared group agreements from the first CoP, and incorporates feedback shared in subsequent CoPs. Additionally, comprehensive meeting summaries are regularly shared to keep the group informed.The third CoP meeting is set for October 11, 2023.
Early Edge is enthusiastic about the participation of ten passionate and seasoned FFN providers in our initiative, to gain their 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 our Leading From Home webpage.