For many working mothers, parents and guardians, it is one of the most anxious moments post-childbirth. It is the moment a critical decision is made to trust a stranger, a new environment, and a new system for a child’s care.
For low wage working parents, especially homeless parents, and for teen mothers still in school, finding affordable, quality childcare can be a daunting challenge. “In Boston, 44 percent of single mothers live in poverty…for their children, access to high quality, affordable early education and care is especially critical,” Early Education Census 2019 (29).
According to Boston Basics, 80 percent of brain growth happens in the first three years of life, which is why childcare and everyday interactions between children, their parents, and caregivers, are critical to the lifelong, healthy development of all children, especially children who have experienced multiple adverse childhood experiences.
Children’s Services of Roxbury (CSR) is committed to assisting mothers, parents and guardians with safe, competent, licensed family-based childcare educators. In both Roxbury and Worcester, CSR’s family-based childcare networks create a peace of mind for families when choosing a childcare educator. “Our family childcare system at CSR was established over 30 years ago with an emphasis on ensuring safe and nurturing environments,” said Leonora McLaren, Director of Family-Based Early Childcare and Education, Roxbury.
In Roxbury, CSR supports a network 30 licensed family-based childcare educators who are contracted with the agency. Each childcare educator is licensed to care for six to ten children, ages 0-5, and collectively serve 250 children.
In Worcester, CSR supports 45 licensed family-based childcare educators, providing working parents with the confidence that their young children are cared for in loving, safe, culturally familiar homes in their community. As in Boston, CSR’s Worcester family-based childcare network provides training and coaching to educators to ensure that children are in progressive learning environments while their parents are at work.
“The program’s goal is to be able to serve every family that knocks on our door in need of childcare services,” said Addie Rosado-Keane, Director of Family-Based Early Childcare and Education, Worcester.
“Family-based educators that are affiliated with CSR are carefully chosen based on their level of professionalism,” said Rosado-Keane. “They must believe in CSR’s mission, values, director philosophy, and our program’s goals; we welcome all independent family-based educators who are a match for our program to contract with us.”
Early childhood education plays a fundamental role in a child’s development and provides comfort and support for parents and families. The women who have childcare business in their home, like Gayle Sutton of Dorchester, MA, are committed to fostering the mental, physical and emotional development of the children in their care.
In CSR’s annual parent satisfaction questionnaire to parents whose children attend childcare through CSR’s Worcester family-based childcare network, parents responded that from their experiences, while childcare centers and family-based childcare can be good, in-home /family-based childcare offered the benefit of one-on-one infant care and a family environment. Parents also reported a high level of satisfaction with the daily plan activity, child growth and development, and their child’s progress for school readiness.
“I have been a family-based childcare educator for 20 years,” said Sonia M., CSR Childcare Educator, Worcester. “I chose this career because of my love for children, and I enjoy working closely with the families of my community. My rewarding moments have been celebrating birthdays and graduations of the children I care for, building relationships with the families, and seeing the children grow up.”
Sonia M. said that her experience working with CSR is excellent and that the staff, including the transportation drivers, have always made her feel respected and appreciated. She said that over the years, CSR has always helped her with technical assistance, supervision and feedback. “When I started my process, it was very easy thanks to the technical assistance the agency provided me,” she said.
Staff at CSR’s Roxbury and Worcester family-based childcare network are responsible for ensuring the safety and development of children placed under the care of family-based childcare educators in the CSR Network. Staff in both office locations visit the homes of childcare educators a minimum of once a month, but as needed thereafter, and support not only the child’s development, but also the professional development of the childcare educators.
Noemi Nunez, CSR Family Childcare Homeless and Teen Social Worker, Roxbury, said that her visits with childcare educators include time with the children, taking observations and addressing questions or concerns. “If a child needs a referral or the educator has a concern about the child’s development, I direct them to the appropriate resources to get the services they need for the child,” Nunez said.
When parents are looking for family-based childcare, CSR assesses which family-based educators have openings. The parent and the child then visit homes with openings to determine which would be a good fit for them. “Once a parent chooses a family-based educator within our network, I’m notified and I get the ball rolling,” said Candace Henry, CSR-DCF Supportive Social Worker, Roxbury. “I enjoy working with families and children to find childcare for them. Whether it’s the parent or a guardian, just seeing the joy on their faces when they find a place for childcare with us is a good feeling.”
CSR continues to provide culturally competent family-based childcare with educators who adequately contribute to the development of children and families throughout Massachusetts.
Children’s Services of Roxbury is seeking Licensed Family Childcare Educators to join our network of childcare educators, with a $150 sign-on bonus! For more information, please contact Leonora McLaren at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 617-516-5203.