California: Child Care Initiative Program--Building the Supply of Quality FCC Homes

Oct 15, 2009


The California Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP) aims to increase the supply of quality child care options by recruiting, training, and retaining licensed family child care (FCC) home providers. CCIP has a five-step approach to improving the availability of quality care options in communities: 

  • Assess child care supply and demand
  • Recruit individuals to become providers
  • Provide training to improve the quality of care, knowledge of child development, health and safety, and business practices
  • Provide technical assistance
  • Offer on-going support to providers

CCIP began in 1985 in response to a shortage of quality licensed child care, including infant/toddler care, and was launched as a public-private partnership in a select number of California communities. The program was funded with state General Funds and required a local 2:1 match. Welfare reform policy changes and the availability of federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) quality dollars later allowed the program to be expanded. In 1992, CCIP was expanded to recruit more Spanish-speaking providers, and in 1997, some Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (R&Rs) used CCDBG funding to implement CCIP with an infant/toddler focus. Positive evaluation reports of the training in 1999 and 2000 helped to support the program\'s growth. Since 2002, CCIP has been implemented on a statewide level and funded continuously using CCDBG quality dollars.  

Although CCIP is open to all licensed family child care providers, regardless of the age range of children served, the program has the potential to support a significant share of infant/toddler care. As of April 2008, family child care homes served nearly 24,000 children ages 0-3 years old, in the state. This translates to about a quarter of all children cared for in family child care homes.


Administering and Financing CCIP

CCIP is implemented at the community level by local R&Rs. However, the local R&Rs\' activities are monitored by the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network (CCCR&RN). The CCCR&RN is responsible for the overall management and reporting of CCIP activities to the Child Development Division (CDD) at the California Department of Education (CDE). The CCIP staff from CCCR&RN provides technical assistance and support for the local R&Rs\' budgets and activities.

Federal CCDBG quality dollars are the primary source of funding for CCIP. The CCCR&RN receives a contract from CDD/CDE to manage the statewide contracts. CDD/CDE distributes contracts to the local R&Rs in the form of formula-based grants. The grants vary from $15,000 to $40,000 depending on community demographics and need. An additional $250,000 from state General Funds are available as a state-local match. The CCCR&RN and local R&Rs raise over $1 million annually in local public and private matching funds in order to access these supplemental funds for 17 of the current 71 CCIP sites.


Addressing the Needs of FCC Providers in Diverse Communities

Although the CCCR&RN provides technical assistance and support for CCIP at the state level, local R&Rs design and deliver their individual local programs. This arrangement gives local R&Rs the ability to tailor their programs to meet family child care provider needs, provided that they maintain the program\'s main topic areas. For instance, local R&Rs have control over scheduling, venue, and language in which the training is delivered. While Spanish and English are the most common languages in which training is offered, many R&Rs have delivered the training in other languages, such as Hmong, Vietnamese, and Russian. Local R&Rs use their CCIP Quality Improvement grants for a variety of purposes, including: 

  • Providing general training and technical assistance
  • Funding special language projects and training for bilingual/monolingual providers
  • Targeting underserved areas for supply improvements
  • Building relationships with providers.

The training component includes basic and introductory concepts in family child care with an emphasis on licensing, start-up business practices, taxes, contracts, and marketing. Additional topics covered include: setting up the home to do family child care; age-appropriate environments; materials, supplies, toys and equipment; communication skills and parent/provider relationships; health, safety and nutrition; curriculum including program planning, routines and activities; planning for mixed-age, groups; basic child development; ages and stages of development; and play, literacy, and language development. Participants in the project are required to complete at least 25 hours of training, including a minimum of 12 hours on infant/toddler care. However, many providers complete more than the required number of training hours. Most trainings are highly interactive and emphasize providers sharing their experiences and unique cultural perspectives. This format allows local R&R trainers to learn from the family child care providers and provide better support and assistance in future trainings. The local R&Rs use the same CCCR&RN publications in developing their trainings. Sample publications include:

  • Look Who\'s Coming to Family Child Care: Infants & Toddlers (English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese)
  • Look Again: Infants and Toddlers in Family Child Care (English)
  • Family Child Care Handbook - Seventh Edition (English)
  • El Comienzo - Second Edition (Spanish)
  • Helping Family Day Care Providers Stay In The Business - Retention Strategies From The Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP) (English)
  • Developing Family Day Care In Latino Communities: Experiences Of The Child Care Initiative Project (English)


Linking FCC providers to Professional Development and Other Resources

The CCIP is a component of the CDE/CDD professional development system. It was created to reach out to FCC home providers, who would not likely access more formal training/education opportunities which have more intensive designs/schedules. The CCIP encourages FCC participation by giving local R&Rs flexibility in program design and delivery. Ultimately, the program serves a critical purpose, which is to improve the quality of care in a setting where a majority of the state\'s at-risk children and high numbers of infants and toddlers are in care. Additionally, the program serves as a bridge for connecting FCC home providers to other resources and initiatives overseen by CDE, such as:


Evaluating CCIP

Since 1985, over 65,000 FCC providers have received basic and/or advanced training in business skills and providing safe, high-quality child care through CCIP. In addition, almost 18,000 new licensed FCC providers have been recruited, and almost 70,000 new child care slots (for children of all ages) have been created. In 2007-2008, CCIP continued to show positive outcomes: 

  • Local R&Rs recruited more than 1,400 new licensed family child care providers
  • Over 2,200 licensed family child care providers participated in CCIP trainings, of which 1,000 were Spanish speakers
  • Over 5,500 new licensed family child care slots were created across the state

In 2000, the CCCR&RN conducted a CCIP Retention Survey, which examined 787 providers who had participated in CCIP in each funding cycle from 1997-2000. Among the survey\'s key findings: 

  • 91 percent of respondents reported that CCIP was a significant reason for staying in the business
  • The top three CCIP support services were: training, workshops, and materials; technical assistance and support; and a sense of professionalism
  • 94 percent of respondents reported that they were or had in the past provided care for infants or toddlers
  • 95 percent of respondents rated the CCIP training as either excellent or good


Challenges/Lessons Learned from CCIP

In implementing the CCIP, California experienced several basic challenges and lessons. These challenges and lessons included: 

  • Securing adequate funding: Funding levels present difficulties in meeting all local program needs, particularly given the very diverse communities of California.
  • Meeting the needs of diverse demographic groups: The needs of various groups, such as rural versus urban providers, can vary widely. Allowing local R&Rs program flexibility is critical to addressing these differences.
  • Ensuring continuity across the state: Involving every local R&R rather than a select group helps to promote continuity and consistency across every region.
  • Addressing the reasons why family child care providers choose not to care for infants and toddlers: Family child care providers may decide not to take care of infants and toddlers for various reasons, including concerns about: providing an environment suitable and safe for infants and toddlers; handling emergencies; managing mixed age groups; and reductions to provider income that occur because licensing rules demand smaller group sizes when infants and toddlers are present in the family child care home. The Child Care Initiative Project offers training, technical assistance, and support to new and existing family child care providers who choose to care for infants and toddlers, or who are interested in exploring that option. The providers have been very responsive to workshops on disaster preparedness that include specific considerations for those who care for young children; workshops on eco-healthy environments; workshops that address infant/toddler development and safety; home visits; home tours; and mentoring sessions. Providers also appreciate incentives in the form of materials and equipment that help them set up a quality environment and ideas for activities.


State Contact Information:

Gail Brodie, Consultant, Quality Office
California Department of Education, Child Development Division
(916) 322-4861

California Child Care Resource and Referral Network
Main Phone: (415) 882-0234

Ana Fernandez Leon, Northern CCIP Manager

Jacky Lowe, Central/Southern CCIP Manager & Central Valley Regional Coordinator


See all Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care State Examples.

Read more about the project recommendation to Provide Access to Training, Education, and Ongoing Supports, including research, policy ideas, and links to online resources.

Read more about the project recommendation to Build Supply of High-Quality Care, including research, policy ideas, and links to online resources.

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