Minnesota Funds Community-Based Supports For Family, Friend And Neighbor Caregivers
Nov 01, 2007
The Minnesota Legislature has appropriated $750,000 to be used for grants to organizations to provide community-based supports to family, friend, and neighbor caregivers and the children in their care. This funding will allow community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, libraries and Indian tribes to work with caregivers to promote children s early literacy, healthy development and school readiness, and to foster community partnerships to promote school readiness. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) expects to award the first grants by the middle of November.
The state will conduct an evaluation of the effort, as required by the legislation, in conjunction with early childhood experts from the University of Minnesota.
In Starting Off Right: Promoting Child Development from Birth in State Child Care and Early Education Initiatives, CLASP recommended that states adopt efforts like Minnesota's. Many families choose care with family members, friends or neighbors, either as their primary care setting or as a second or third caregiver for their children, especially low-income parents and parents of children under age three. Including family, friend, and neighbor caregivers in state strategies to improve the quality of child care and to ensure children are ready for school is a critical component of state birth to five strategies.
The state strategy to involve family, friend, and neighbor caregivers in promoting school readiness has included:
supporting research on the state population of non-licensed family, friend, and neighbor caregivers;
integrating supports for FFN providers into contracts the department has child care resource and referral programs to develop and implement plans to reach out to family, friend, and neighbor caregivers and offer health and safety training, Play and Learn groups, fun events for caregivers and children with an informational focus, library story-time, clinics for screening or immunization, consultation and home-visiting; and
addressing the cultural and language diversity of children and family, friend, and neighbor caregivers by partnering with immigrant-serving community resources, translating materials into multiple languages, creating informal social networks for FFN providers in specific cultural communities.