In March, Early Edge California hosted the first round of meetings in 2022 for its Advisory Group for Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers. FFN providers are license-exempt caregivers who care for the children of friends or relatives. Some receive compensation via subsidies from government programs; some are paid by the family of the children they care for; but most do this work without financial compensation. FFNs are oftentimes the first teachers for infants, toddlers, and children; with their close connection to these children, they help to fill in the gaps in child care for many of California’s families.
Early Edge hosts two FFN Advisory Groups that meet virtually 3 times per year, to support English-speaking and Spanish-speaking providers. During the meetings in March, FFNs shared the support systems they would need to continue to provide quality care and services for young children, including:
- Access to more training and educational materials to further develop their skills as child care providers.
- Access to resources, professional development, mental health resources, and support opportunities provided by Resource and Referral agencies.
- Increased awareness and understanding on subsidies and the eligibility criteria for families and FFNs.
- Developing communication and business skills to be able to advocate for fair compensation that is adequate for their workload.
FFNs carry a badge of honor for their work and value the leadership role they undertake in their child care settings. They want to continue to act as role models for the children they care for and provide positive mentorship to these young learners.
During the meeting, one provider highlighted the importance of and her love for her role: “Estoy muy orgullosa de mi papel (como un FFN) porque puedo compartir las experiencias con los niños y desarrollar su aprendizaje”. (“I am very proud of my role as an FFN because I am able to share the experiences with the children and help them develop their learning.”)
If you are an FFN who is currently receiving subsidies and are interested in joining the FFN Advisory Group, please contact us at [email protected] or call (310) 695-5481.