Early Edge California presents a new video series about Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) providers. The second video in this series looks at how organizations are providing key support to family, friend, and neighbor child care providers.
Since COVID-19 hit, across California, grandmas, neighbors, and aunties have stepped in to care for children of all ages as parents still had to go to work outside the home, schools closed, and child care centers reduced their capacity.
Though often unrecognized, FFN child care is a key part of the child care infrastructure in California.
FFNs are often warm and loving caregivers. But they are also often isolated and hungry for information about how to do a better job in their work and for connection with other care providers.
Thankfully, in local communities across California, organizations have developed support models specifically for FFNs to provide assistance and training.
Visión y Compromiso, for example, runs six to eight-week sessions that train caregivers in Central and Southern California on coordinating with parents, early brain development, culturally relevant art, and other activities appropriate for young children. They moved online during the pandemic and had good success providing support over Zoom.
Esperanza Romero, an FFN provider in Santa Barbara County, attended educational workshops provided by Visión y Compromiso. Romero said that in addition to valuable safety and CPR training at these workshops, she also learned the value of her own work in her community, which she said is “priceless.”
“What’s important about these models is that they were developed based on the community’s needs,” said Patricia Lozano, Early Edge California’s Executive Director. “They are targeted to really understand the culture and community.”
Similar kinds of support and playgroups are also provided, for example, at CRC Napa, BANANAS in Oakland, and Helm Home through Fresno Unified School District. These organizations provide bilingual playgroups, Early Learning activities, child development workshops and discussion groups and, importantly, a space to build community.
“We are living in a historic moment for Early Learning and care,” Lozano said. “We want to make sure FFNs are included as part of these investments.”
Watch the video here: