The Kansas Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Network
By supporting the people who support our workforce and our children, we get to the roots of our child care challenges and facilitate quality care from the ground up.
The Kansas Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) network is made up of four regional agencies working together to ensure that high-quality early care and education is available to all Kansas families and children.
Each agency works closely with the families, providers, employers, and communities within their region, while collaborating with and learning from other members of the network.
The CCR&R network helps child care providers improve the quality and safety of their programs, as well as enhance their business operations and financial stability. Providers receive training on current best practices in the early care and education field and the opportunity to network with other ECE professionals in their area.
The four Child Care Resource & Referral agencies operate regionally to better meet the differing needs of each part of the state.
- Child Care Aware of Kansas in central and western Kansas (Region 1)
- Child Start in southern Kansas, Wichita, and surrounding counties (Region 2)
- Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas (Region 3)
- The Family Conservancy in the Kansas City region (Region 4)
In this article, three of the network’s agencies showcase the ways they help providers in their region offer high-quality early care and education.
Enhancing Early Education: The Family Conservancy’s Quality Initiatives
Quality early education is a critical foundation for a child’s future development, and early care and education professionals are the foundation of quality.
With a commitment to fostering growth and quality within the industry, The Family Conservancy (TFC) offers an array of professional development opportunities that cater to diverse needs as part of the Early Care and Education Hub.
The Family Conservancy (TFC) helps children and families make the most of the most important period of human development. Focused on supporting families, parents, and teachers, we empower Kansas City to raise happy, healthy, educated children.
Comprehensive Training Options
TFC uses a multifaceted approach to training, ensuring that early education professionals can access learning in various ways. From community-based workshops to online courses, and even on-site training at child care programs, we provide a flexible and adaptable learning environment for ECE professionals.
Tailored Coaching and Consultation
Understanding that each program is unique, TFC provides several coaching and consultation options. These offerings include playground audits, classroom or program assessments, accreditation coaching, program start-up, and general consultation.
Empowering Family Child Care
For in-home child care businesses, TFC provides an extensive support system. From aiding startups during the licensing process to delivering business training, coaching, networking, and mentorship, we nurture the growth of family child care providers.
Elevating Classroom Interactions
TFC’s approach to classroom enhancement emphasizes the pivotal role of teacher-child interactions. By fostering meaningful connections, educators can optimize children’s cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development.
TFC also focuses on cultivating effective administrators and leaders. Given the multifaceted nature of their responsibilities, our programs train ECE professionals on how to effectively meet the needs of staff, families, and the children under their care.
TFC’s annual Early Education Fall Symposium sets a benchmark for quality training in the Kansas City area. This event brings together over 200 directors, teachers, and child care providers for expert-led sessions that empower them to excel in their roles.
Learn more about all these resources at tfckc.org/ece.
Improving Literacy and School Readiness in Eastern Kansas
The Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas Literacy Connections program is a long-term quality improvement project that supports child care programs serving at-risk children. The goal is to improve school readiness and early literacy skills in children ages birth to five. Services include classroom coaching, director support, professional development, and resources for teachers focused on improving early literacy skills, social-emotional growth, and school readiness skills in young children.
This year, we’re supporting 70 classrooms in 15 facilities, including child care centers and family child care programs. Rigorous measurements require participants to complete a CLASS observation and early literacy assessments on 3- and 4-year-olds. Coaches use the data to help teachers as they work toward quality improvement goals and implement literacy-rich activities. An additional layer of support for child care programs is offered through Director Toolbox sessions and peer learning opportunities for directors.
Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas provides a vital link between regulated high-quality child care programs and families needing child care. We support the healthy development of young children by improving access to high-quality child care options and educational resources for families and early childhood professionals.
Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund promotes early childhood outcomes through the Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG). In Shawnee County, the grant funds the Literacy Connections program as part of Capital Area Successful Start (CASS), an eight-partner community collaborative that offers wraparound support services for children and their families through early intervention, mental health consultation, fatherhood support, and home visitation programs.
Early Childhood Connections Through Child Start
For parents of young children, finding child care can be a challenge. Child Start’s Early Childhood Connections program seeks to educate and support families and early childhood professionals. Through the program, parents become informed consumers and active partners that insist on the kinds of environments and experiences that support important early childhood learning and development.
For providers, the program offers professional development and support to gain the knowledge and skills they need to offer high-quality early care and education. The program is available in five Kansas counties — Harvey, Butler, Sedgwick, Cowley, and Sumner.
Child Start provides early childhood development services that prepare young children for lifelong success in South-Central Kansas. We work with child care providers to ensure quality care for our community’s children and administer the Head Start programs.
Both in-person and virtual training sessions are available every month. Child care providers are required to complete 16 hours of professional development each licensed year. Professional development offers providers the opportunity to develop new skills and update existing knowledge.
Mini Learning Experiences
During one of these experiences, an Early Childhood Specialist visits a program to model interactions with children for the provider. Each event lasts about 30-45 minutes. The children participate in various activities that cover multiple developmental domains. Additional information is given to the children to help them continue the education at home.
Child Care Health Consultant
Our consultants have been busy planning events in Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties to recruit new child care providers. Participants are invited to a dinner to visit with community partners, such as licensed surveyors, the Department of Children and Families, emergency management representatives, and Kansas Child Care Training Opportunities, Inc. (KCCTO).