Childcare Resources, a United Way agency, works to help parents find the best type of childcare possible.
Published: March 31, 2019
By: Lori Chandler Pruitt
The agency provides a free resource and referral service that guides families through the difficult process of finding just the right place. And with hundreds of childcare programs in central Alabama alone, it’s a welcome service for many parents.
And every time parents find what they need, Joan Wright, executive director, knows exactly why she does this for a living. “They say if you find what you love, you will never work a day in your life,” she says. “I love to help parents get the information they need to make a well-informed choice that supports the goals and dreams they have for their child.”
Childcare Resources, a non-profit agency, is central Alabama’s only childcare resource and referral agency. It has a trained and dedicated staff that helps parents narrow down their childcare choices based on needs, location, type of care and more. Parents also get the tools they need to recognize quality child care when visiting potential providers. The agency has a listing of providers, but it does not license, endorse, rate or recommend any particular providers. The agency serves Jefferson, Shelby, Blount and Walker counties.
Services provided include financial assistance for low-to-moderate income working families, quality training and technical assistance for child care providers (including a free early learning resource library, mobile resource library van, and early learning demonstration classroom), research-based parent education resources, and assistance to hundreds of families in the community seeking quality childcare options for their young children.
Childcare Resources also provides several other parent education programs. One of them, Parent Education @ Work program, is offered free to area businesses at the work site. Its website also lists different educational resources for parents to help their child be ready for kindergarten.
Wright, who has been with Childcare Resources for 11 years, also worked for United Way’s Success by Six program, which helps improve the quality of early learning for children in childcare settings. “I’ve always had an affinity for children and children’s programs,” she says. “I love what I do.”
Wright’s background also includes children’s recreation – she was a swim coach for the Learn to Swim program and much more.
One of the lesser-known, but no less important, roles that Childcare Resources provides is childcare provider training. “Training is the largest part of our budget and it is a huge part of what we do,” Wright says. “We train novices to seasoned professionals to help them do the very best job that they can.”
The Alabama Department of Human Resources requires several hours of training for childcare facility directors and employees both before hiring, and later to maintain its license. “We offer all kinds of training conferences for providers, to show them how important their role is for children to get their best start in life,” Wright says. “For parents to feel comfortable with their childcare choice, that impacts the workforce. About 60 percent of working women in Alabama have children under age five.”
Childcare Resources also has training opportunities all year long. On April 13, Childcare Resources will host the Sky’s the Limit Training Conference, providing attendees with the most current, innovative and entertaining information to make them the best childcare providers and early educators possible.
“Our staff is totally dedicated to providing the very best training possible,” Wright says. And, the agency also raises money for its programs. On May 3, it will hold its Champions for Children Charity Breakfast, and in August, it will present its popular Fairy Tale Ball, an enchanted evening for families. For more information on programs, events or to donate, call 205-945-0018 or go to www.ccr-bhm.org.