Date Submitted: 04/2022
Director, Early Learning Works by Tulsa Educare
Maria Carlota Palacios, LCSW
Tulsa Educare, 3120 E. Seminole Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74110
Rating Category: Innovative Idea
Focus Area: Child Development
Focus Population: Children, Teachers, Owners, Caregivers, Guardians, Parents
Goals and Outcomes: The goal of Next Gen Tulsa FCC is to increase access to quality home-based child care for young children in Tulsa. The population of Tulsa County increased nearly 8% from 2010 to 2021 to 651,552. This growth rate exceeded that of the United States and it was mainly due to growth in the Hispanic community. The Hispanic population is one that characterizes itself for having young families with very young children. According to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, there is only one ONE-Star licensed Hispanic (or Spanish speaking) child care home in Tulsa County.
Child care plays a vital role in ensuring that parents/caretakers can work, children can learn and the economy can thrive. There are national trends well reflected in the state and local numbers in Oklahoma and Tulsa County. With fewer child care facilities available, it is harder for families to find and afford child care. According to the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, more than 97,000 child care homes closed in the United States from 2005 to 2017 (Information from an unpublished analysis by the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance of data collected from the 2005 and 2017 National Association for Regulatory Administration Child Care Licensing Programs and Policies Surveys conducted in October 2019). That is a 48% decline only on family child care facilities. This trend continues nationally, and made worse since the global COVID pandemic that started in 2020. And in Tulsa County, in the midst of population growth, there has been a decrease in child care capacity of more than 2,500 seats between 2015 and 2020.
Building the Next Generation of Tulsa’s Quality Family Child Care (Next Gen) is an innovative program designed to increase the number of family child care programs in Tulsa. Providing comprehensive, intensive, and ongoing supports to participants, Next Gen will ensure both pedagogical quality and business sustainability. Early Learning Works (ELW) will identify caregivers, guardians and parents or other members of the community interested in pursuing FCC licensure. ELW will determine applicant eligibility for licensure; provide intensive cohort-based training; visit participant homes to support compliance with physical facilities requirements; provide individualized coaching to ensure progress in meeting licensing milestones; offer grants to support minor renovations needed to meet licensing requirements and to purchase play materials, furnishings and other supplies needed to open a new program; and, provide ongoing individualized coaching to ensure participant progress in enrolling children,
meeting quality and accreditation standards, completing credentialing and educational degree attainment goals, and tracking and reporting financial information. Cohort-based training will be provided in English and Spanish in two separate trainings, and include child development, culturally appropriate practices, child assessment, and other aspects of pedagogy; parent engagement and communication, resource and referral to health and social services, and other aspects of family partnership; mandated reporter training, nutrition, and other aspects of health and safety; automation, marketing, invoicing and fee collection, budgeting, tax preparation and fiscal reporting, and other aspects of effective business practices; licensing regulation, quality and accreditation standards, pathways to credentials and education degrees, and other aspects of quality programming.
Ongoing coaching and training will be provided using evidence-based programs that are available in both Spanish and English: LENA Grow for Family Child Care and ParentChild+ Home-Based Child Care Model (possible resources to access). LENA Grow offers in person or virtual coaching focused on boosting positive interactions within existing daily care routines. ParentChild+ is a 24-week program in which FCC providers receive 48 home visits and acquire a library of 12 high quality books and educational materials. ELW will provide age-appropriate educational materials.