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Blog | | Leading from Home, Early Edge California

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

Last month, Early Edge California convened the third Community of Practice (CoP) of the California Leading from Home (LFH) Program, which seeks to support Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) care providers 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 providers, enabling them to inform policymakers about the importance of FFN child care and the necessary support. The cohort members also receive a monthly stipend for their participation and commitment to the program.

The latest CoP meeting was held on October 11th and was conducted in English with live Spanish interpretation. This meeting went over the final steps of the 10 steps of advocacy that were introduced in previous meetings. The content focused on how to develop and hone your message, strategies to get your message across to different stakeholders, and the importance of finding allies to support and elevate your efforts. FFNs shared their initial thoughts on how they would communicate their message to a policymaker and how they would approach the conversation.

A central point discussed during the advocacy steps was the need for support for FFNs. This support includes training, resources, and supplies, recognizing the need for a well-rounded approach to enhance FFN care quality. FFNs pointed out the inequality in access to support compared to licensed caregivers, making it harder for families to access quality and flexible FFN child care. They also highlighted the lack of clear career pathways for FFN caregivers.

Another important issue discussed in the third CoP meeting was the significance of mentor meetings for the professional development of FFN leaders. As part of LFH, providers are paired with mentor child care providers who provide guidance and support in helping them achieve their programmatic, personal, and professional goals. FFN leaders expressed feeling more supported and having a better understanding of the program’s goals and their personal advocacy goals after 1-on-1 meetings with their mentors. These mentors play a crucial role in helping FFN leaders navigate the complexities of achieving advocacy goals and providing encouragement and guidance in their roles as Early Learning and Care providers. Each FFN meets with their mentor at least once a month before every CoP.

The discussion in the third CoP showcased the commitment and aspirations of FFN caregivers in both their caregiving and advocacy roles. Early Edge is dedicated to creating a safe and collaborative atmosphere during CoP meetings by implementing feedback on shared group agreements and regularly sharing comprehensive meeting summaries. The fourth CoP meeting is scheduled for November 8th.

Early Edge is enthusiastic about the participation of ten passionate and seasoned FFN providers in their initiative, gaining profound insights into the unique needs and barriers faced by FFN providers to 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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