United Way of Denton County, in conjunction with the Child Care Workgroup of the Denton County Workforce Success Leadership Team, announced the creation of the Denton County Family Child Care Network utilizing a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.
As Denton County continues to open up, the demand for reliable, flexible and cost-effective child care rises. With unemployment at its highest level in decades and essential workers often adopting scheduled shifts at odd hours, there is an opportunity for growth to accommodate this unmet need with family, or home-based, child care centers.
Due to the pandemic, 37% of child care providers in Texas remain closed. In neighboring Dallas and Tarrant counties, just 40% of child care providers are open and operating. With limited capacity and supplies, many child care providers will not reopen anytime soon.
“Numbers in Denton County are difficult to pinpoint due to the lack of an established Family Child Care Network,” explained Alicia McElroy, Director of Education and Workforce Initiatives at United Way of Denton County (UWDC). “Once this network is off the ground and running, we will not only be able to track the benefits of expanded child care resources for our community, we will be able to provide critical data for the county and state.”
The Denton County Family Child Care Network is a project of the Child Care Workgroup for the Denton County Workforce Success Leadership Team (DCWSLT). The Child Care Workgroup is dedicated to increasing access to affordable, quality childcare across Denton County. This program will create a support system to assist individuals interested in starting or currently operating small businesses providing in-home, family child care (FCCs). With this program, Denton County will become one of the first Texas communities with a staffed Family Child Care Network (FCCN). The program will assist the 50 FCCs in developing age-appropriate curriculum and quality learning environments with the goal of becoming licensed child care and/or Texas Rising Star facilities.
The 15-month program, running from May 2020 to August 2021, will provide in-depth professional development opportunities including monthly trainings and networking opportunities. These opportunities will assist individuals in becoming competitive in the child care field, assist in developing curriculum, ensuring childcare safety measures, and much more.
Training is scheduled to begin this July and in addition, the FCCN program will provide one-on-one mentoring and coaching from United Way of Denton County’s Family Child Care Coordinators. The coordinators will make regular home visits to each FCC provider focusing on assessments and program development in the form of individualized curriculum planning, model lessons, demonstrated practice, guided practice and feedback, and coaching based on each FCC providers goals. Coordinators will be available between training and home visits to check in with providers and provide ongoing support and feedback as providers progress on their professional development plans and goals.
The program will also provide some financial assistance to offset costs associated with pursuing licensing and/or TRS certification and other startup costs, such as age appropriate materials and supplies to help improve the quality of their program.
Virtual information sessions began last week with more set for today, June 9 at 5:30 p.m., June 12 at noon, June 16 at 5:30 p.m., and June 19th at noon. Spanish-language meetings will also be held on June 17 at noon and June 23 at 5:30 p.m. To register, go to www.UnitedWayDenton.org/FamilyChildCare.