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Blog | | Early Edge California, Leading from Home

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

In January, Early Edge California brought together the sixth 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.

The sixth CoP meeting occurred on January 24, 2024, featuring Adam Lara, Program Innovation from the Policy and Research Branch Child Care and Development Division of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). Lara facilitated an input session on Health and Safety standards proposals for subsidized FFN care and introduced the FFN caregivers in our cohort to pending health and safety proposals covering areas such as safe sleeping practices, medication administration, food and allergic reactions, shaken baby syndrome, transportation, and emergency preparedness. 

The January CoP meeting not only marked the program’s halfway point, but it also marked the first instance of advocacy that the LFH cohort had with the state. Cohort members provided sincere and informed feedback on each topic presented by Mr. Lara, offering the state an opportunity to amend or improve based on concerns or suggestions coming directly from caregivers in the field. After the input session, Early Edge presented  an introduction to California’s legislative process, educating caregivers on the mechanics of policymaking, the key players and entities at the policymaking table, and the importance of their own role as an FFN caregiver in the policymaking process. The CoP meeting laid the groundwork for the cohort’s in-person advocacy day which is planned for later on in the program.

The CoP members had an opportunity to share their feedback and reflections on how they felt the input session with CDSS went and the overwhelming response was how empowered they felt being able to directly impact policymaking. As shared by LFH CoP member, Tammy Henderson:

“What a group of strong amazing women here, I kept hearing from us that the main focus is the children…that we need funding and more support for our children. Check us out, from all different parts of California, making people understand that our children need more and that we [FFN caregivers] don’t get enough attention and support, and we’re here to speak for them [children] because at the end, there’s so much that is falling short for them and they deserve more.”

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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