Providing tailored resources for family child care educators to improve quality and accessibility of child care
Kansas City Metro – November 14, 2022 – GreenLight Kansas City announced today a multi-year investment in child care bringing All Our Kin (AOK), a national nonprofit organization that trains, supports and sustains family child care educators and networks, to Kansas City. AOK’s model, which The Family Conservancy (TFC) will adapt and implement locally, provides resources and training to family child care educators who operate small, home-based programs. In turn, educators succeed as business owners, working parents find quality, stable care for their children, and children are prepared for school and life.
In partnership with the community and its Selection Advisory Council, GreenLight identifies opportunities for investments supporting inclusive prosperity, then evaluates and selects nonprofit organizations that can best address those needs. GreenLight Kansas City spent more than a year listening to residents and families to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted Kansas Citians.
Child care quickly emerged as a community-identified priority as more than 200 child care programs in the region closed as a result of the pandemic. After evaluating nonprofit organizations from across the country, GreenLight selected AOK as the results-oriented program best positioned to address this need locally.
“GreenLight has had an enormous impact on the Kansas City region. As investors, we are impressed by how the comprehensive, collaborative process brought us to just what Kansas City needs now to improve economic mobility – support for working parents. Investing in All Our Kin’s family child care model will help educators deliver high-quality education to our youngest citizens while helping them sustain their own small businesses,” said Tyler and Leigh Nottberg, GreenLight Kansas City investors and advisors, U.S. Engineering Company Holdings.
“Child care workers, many of them women of color, have long been underpaid and under-recognized. This is especially true of family child care educators,” said GreenLight Kansas City Executive Director, Sarah Courtney Haberberger. “The partnership between All Our Kin and The Family Conservancy will bring resources and investment directly to educators, supporting quality, accessible child care choices for our Kansas City families.”
Local family child care educators were hired as consultants to GreenLight’s process, bringing their years of expertise and professional experience educating children and supporting families. The providers’ recommendations, along with guidance from the Selection Advisory Council, were instrumental in GreenLight’s decision to invest in AOK. “Often, family child care providers are left out of resources and investment even though they offer quality care. [AOK] is not guessing about what in-home providers need and what providers need to thrive. They can share their hands-on experience of working with providers with us,” said ShuNeece Smith, Eastwood Learning Center.
Research and clinical experience demonstrate that young children’s earliest relationships and experiences with their parents and other caregivers dramatically influences brain development, social-emotional and cognitive skills, and future health and success in school and life. Family child care provides a high-quality early childhood education in an intimate environment, and is flexible, affordable, and often available during non-traditional hours. Often seen as an extension of the family, these educators provide neighborhood-based care that is culturally and linguistically responsive.
AOK has a 20+ year track record of supporting family child care educators through staffed family child care networks – funded programs that provide support and services to meet the unique needs of home-based educators. AOK has implemented their model directly or through technical assistance partnerships in 22 states and Washington D.C. The model, developed in CT and NY, has had a clear impact:
- Educators score an average of 50 percent higher on research-based measures of quality.
- Children, in turn, outperform their peers on language and literacy, math, and social-emotional assessments.
- The majority of educators working with All Our Kin see their earnings increase by 25 percent or more in the first year.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with GreenLight Kansas City and The Family Conservancy,” said Jessica Sager, co-founder and CEO of All Our Kin. “Family child care networks can be transformational in creating equitable solutions for parents and caregivers alike. GreenLight Kansas City has been remarkably thoughtful in their approach, and we are grateful to work with them and Kansas City’s local family child care community to create the impressive outcomes their community needs.”
AOK will collaborate with local nonprofit leader The Family Conservancy (TFC) to develop a staffed family child care network to support home-based educators in greater Kansas City. Building on existing work and relationships with family child care educators in the community, the network housed by TFC will provide educational mentorship, professional and business development, advocacy and leadership opportunities, and community with other family child care providers. GreenLight Fund Kansas City will provide start-up assistance, local coalition building, and $600,000 in early-stage funding to AOK for technical assistance.
“In-home family child care is a critical piece of our community’s child care system – it provides flexibility that center-based care may not, such as non-traditional hours, language and culture needs and more. Furthermore, in-home care can provide convenience and affordability for families. Unfortunately, the educators, who do the crucial, difficult work, operate on razor thin margins. As a result, we’ve seen a significant decline in the availability of family child care, especially following the pandemic. We are excited to be partnering with All Our Kin to strengthen this critical piece of our community’s child care system,” said Paula Neth, President and CEO of The Family Conservancy.
Local family child care educator Amanda Sayre, who owns and operates Amanda’s Little Adventurers, shared “Family child care providers often need advice, examples and best practices. There isn’t a road map that fits all sizes and types of childcare, but having a mentor and someone to give tips and suggestions can help providers.”
The effort to invest in family child care is also supported by funding from the Hall Family Foundation and Kauffman Foundation, providing key local capacity support for TFC to hire staff. A search is underway for a Family Child Care Network Manager to lead the work locally at TFC.