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A family poses smiling with their newborn child.

“Dream” of Latino Childcare Providers Network to Launch, Thanks to WINGS Grant

June 26, 2016

Northfield Promise knows that access to high quality early childhood programming is strongly linked to kindergarten readiness, future academic success, and overall health and well-being. For this reason, partners are thrilled to announce the development of the Latino Childcare Providers Network (LCPN), an exciting new collaboration between the Northfield Promise Ready for Kindergarten Action Team, Northfield Public Schools Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), and Growing Up Healthy.

Growing Up Healthy recently received the “2016 Dare to Dream” award from WINGS (Women in Northfield Giving Support), a $10,000 grant that will be used to create the LCPN.

The primary goal of the LCPN is to create a social support system that builds the capacity of Latino family, friend and neighbor (FFN) providers to offer high quality care to children in the Northfield area. FFN care is generally understood to be home-based care (in the caregiver’s or child’s home) provided by caregivers who are relatives, friends, neighbors, or babysitters/nannies who are legally exempt from licensing and regulation.

A chart displaying the severity of risk for incoming Northfield High School students. High-risk students in reading: 8.5% white students, 36.7% colored students. High-risk students in writing: 9.9% white students, 49.0% colored students.

The LCPN intentionally focuses support on Latino FFN providers, for it is these providers who are caring for some of the most at-risk children in the Northfield area. The LCPN seeks to not only increase the number of healthy children ready to enter kindergarten, but to also improve the social connectedness and social-emotional health of Latino families. The Northfield effort is based on a successful model developed by Bloomington Public Health.

Growing Up Healthy (GUH), the lead partner for the LCPN, is a coalition of organizations and agencies dedicated to transforming communities through cultivating neighborhood leadership, fostering social connectedness, and advocating for change in Rice County. GUH works with teams of Neighborhood Leaders in five selected neighborhoods who serve as advisors and community organizers (in Northfield, GUH works with two teams of Neighborhood Leaders from the Viking Terrace and Jefferson Square neighborhoods).

Two GUH Neighborhood Leaders (one who had many years of early childhood experience in Mexico and is currently a Latina FFN provider in Northfield) participated as members of the Ready for Kindergarten Action Team. The Ready for Kindergarten Action Team was charged with developing action steps for achieving the ambitious goal of ALL Northfield children being ready for kindergarten.

One of the core strategies identified through this process was to provide additional training and support to daycares and other early childhood providers, including outreach to FFN providers.

The LCPN will include monthly childcare trainings covering a variety of topics (from nutrition education to school readiness to child behavior to CPR), all offered in Spanish. These trainings will be open to Latino FFN providers, parents, and any others who care for young children in our community. Training topics will ultimately be chosen by the participants themselves.

For more information, contact Leah Eby, Growing Up Healthy Coordinator.

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