This blog is the ninth post in a series of blog posts about the First 5 California (F5CA) Dual Language Learner (DLL) Pilot Community of Practice (CoP). Click here for additional blog posts.
Resources for Educators and the Field
- The Invisible Work of Family, Friend, and Neighbor Caregivers and Its Importance for Immigrant and Dual Language Learner Families
- Additional research by Maki Park is available here.
- Visión y Compromiso website
- Innovations in Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care
- Additional research by Erika Takada is available here.
- San Jose Library FFN Caregivers webpage
- Expert panelists highlighted how prevalent Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) and Family Child Care (FCC) is among immigrant and low income populations. Policy makers should work to provide improved supports and tailored resources to FFNs and FCCs given the significant reach they have among many of California’s most vulnerable children.
- When communicating with FFNs, particularly around providing funding and services, it is important to use trusted messengers and terminology that will resonate with this population.
The February meeting of the F5CA DLL Pilot CoP focused on how to reach and engage Family Child Care (FCC) homes and Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) educators. Specifically, this meeting focused on how to support FCC and FFN educators in learning and implementing critical competencies for supporting DLLs.
CoP participants heard from a panel of experts including:
- Maki Park (Senior Policy Analyst for Early Education and Care at MPI’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy)
- Erika Takada (Senior Consultant at Engage R&D)
- Alejandra Reyes (Regional Programs Manager at Vision y Compromiso)
- Araceli Delgado (Early Education Manager at the San José Public Library)
To launch the panel, Maki Park framed the importance of home-based care. In the Migrant Policy Institute’s report “The Invisible Work of Family, Friend, and Neighbor Caregivers and Its Importance for Immigrant and Dual Language Learner Families,” Park and her colleague Jazmin Flores Pena write, “overall, a disproportionate share and significant majority of immigrant and DLL families rely on FFN care, and are therefore unlikely to benefit from the limited but growing public investments being made to assist families in accessing high-quality center-based care for their children.”
Park also dispelled the idea that FFN care is the choice of last resort. Instead, FFN care is often the first choice for many families. For immigrant families and many other families of DLLs, FFN care provides many benefits, including a match of language, values, and culture; a trusted source of care; and flexible scheduling and affordability.
FFN providers are more likely to be BIPOC and/or speak a language other than English. In California, FFNs are most commonly women of color between the ages of 30 and 50 and are often a grandmother or aunt. The majority of these caregivers provide informal care, meaning they are unlisted in child care registries and often work without pay. For those who do receive pay, the average national rate is $3.80/hour. Beyond limited pay, Park outlined several key barriers to accessing resources and support. Major barriers include inaccessible professional development opportunities, challenges in achieving licensure, and limited resources.
The panel continued with remarks by Erika Takada, who shared key takeaways from Engage R&D’s multiple FFN focused efforts. Takada shared the following key elements of success across FFN programs:
Panelists also shared highlights from direct work in the field. Alejandra Reyes from Vision y Compromiso shared their efforts to develop a 48 hour curriculum for FFNs in Spanish. This program includes building capacity to run peer led support groups and includes work with promotores. The current 64 hour curriculum includes:
- Self validation and self-care strategies for FFNs
- Activities for children for physical, cognitive, and emotional development
- CPR and First Aid certification, emergency and disaster preparedness
- Engaging with services in the community
- Communication skills between caregivers and parents
- Domestic violence module
- Care during the pandemic
Araceli Delgado shared additional highlights from the field when she presented on the FFN Caregiver Support Network Pilot at the San José Public Library. Indicators of impact throughout the pilot included 88% of participants completing 21+ hours of professional development activities, 99% reporting increased confidence in their role as caregiver, and 89% reporting increased knowledge of child development.
After hearing from external experts, an internal CoP member expert panel representing Yolo and Fresno counties shared their work in engaging and supporting FFNs.
- Yolo highlighted their implementation of SEAL Learning Networks which provide warm and welcoming gatherings where providers are valued and recognized. Participating educators receive SEAL libraries, tablets, and stipends.
- Fresno shared their efforts providing training and supports to FFNs and FCCs in a way to eliminate barriers to access. Their model included providing evening and weekend hours, offering trainings in native languages, leveraging partnerships (especially with cultural brokers who have direct connections with FFNs), and providing coaching opportunities.
Following the presentations, CoP participants shared their successes and challenges in supporting FCC and FFN educators in learning and implementing critical competencies for supporting DLLs. Several counties shared that it has been challenging to get resources out to FFNs when the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) and child care centers often receive significantly more funding compared to the available QCC funding stream and other funding for FFN providers. Counties shared that it would be helpful if funders were to release allocation amounts sooner so they could have a sufficient amount of time to plan.
CoP successes and recommendations included:
- Using word-of-mouth between FFNs and identifying key leaders among FFNs who can spread the message widely / encourage those in their network to participate.
- Recreation centers, parks, and laundromats can be good locations for connecting with FFN providers.
- Providing opportunities for FFNs and FCCs to practice skills repeatedly.
- Pairing up FFNs in a way that they can share / describe what they are learning can be a helpful strategy to help FFN providers process and retain information.
- Use simple terminologies when conducting outreach.
- Both FFNs and FCC providers are working all day with children. They are frequently siloed and not always aware of terms like “family, friend, and neighbor provider.”
- When flyers and other communication materials use terms that are complicated and unfamiliar, outreach is less successful.
- Mitigate FFN isolation by developing peer or camaraderie groups.
- While not all FFNs are interested in a path to licensure, those who are may be concerned with losing their original network during the shift to providing licensed care.
- It can be helpful to permit newly licensed providers to remain in their original network of FFNs after licensure to alleviate this fear.
“We need to give them what they need, not what we think they need.”
—DLL Pilot CoP Member
This blog will be updated regularly to share the emerging lessons learned, needed resources, and policy recommendations coming from the DLL Pilot CoP meetings. Learn more about the First 5 CA DLL Pilot.