Immigrant Families And Early Education In New York City
Jun 16, 2008
CLASP is excited to announce the release of Breaking Down Barriers: Immigrant Families and Early Childhood Education in New York City, a report by the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF). CLASP provided funding for the research of this report through a small grant as part of own "Breaking Down Barriers" project. With this funding, CACF conducted interviews with early education providers working in immigrant communities and facilitated focus groups and surveys with immigrant families about access to early care and education in NYC.
CACF's report relates the unique experiences of Bangladeshi, Chinese, Dominican, Haitian, Korean, and Russian parents in accessing early care and education. Parents in the study expressed their preferences for child care arrangements for their young children, but often the care they were seeking was inaccessible or unavailable. The report finds that immigrant families face multiple barriers preventing access to programs in New York City, including universal pre-kindergarten, Head Start, and child care subsidies. Barriers include insufficient translation of materials, inadequate outreach targeted to immigrant communities, lack of affordable child care, and an ineffective response on the part of the city government to respond to the needs of immigrant families. For example, the city s Child Care Resource and Referral Hotline only offers services in English, Spanish and Chinese leaving out other language groups.
CACF makes the following recommendations to improve NYC s early care and education services for immigrant families, quoted from the report:
- Language and Culture. Improve language assistance services and increase cultural competency of child care program staff.
- Outreach. Increase language accessible communication with immigrant communities throughout New York City, making them aware of available child care programs and services.
- Professional Development. Ensure that child care providers are knowledgeable of and can address the unique needs and challenges facing immigrant communities, families, and children in accessing child care services.
- Funding. Increase funding to city agencies and child care networks so that there are enough early childhood education programs and staff to address NYC s growing immigrant populations.
- Data collection. Conduct an early childhood education needs assessment of NYC's immigrant communities and use data to improve programs, increase outreach, and implement appropriate language assistance services.
Breaking Down Barriers' release was covered by the NYC Gotham Gazette, the Polish Daily News, and the Center for NYC Affairs at The New School as well as by Chinese, Korean, and South Asian language media.