I believe that our child care centers provide better quality care due to the inherent oversight, the trained teachers, and more frequent visits from licensing. The problem is that the centers that cater for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers are for profit and the most profitable segment of the market is the pre-schoolers. Nationwide only 5% of our center capacity is for infants.
About our Founder Deirdre Kelly
I am a working mother of two young children and my journey for finding better childcare began when my eldest child, now eight years old was physically abused in a licensed family childcare home.
Like most parents, I thought my children were safe. It was a licensed family childcare home and there was an independent assistant present. Parents of the other children there stopped by during the day- again I believed my children to be safe, after all, this licensed provider had been in business for 12 years. What I didn't know was that a licensing visit to a family childcare home took place, on average, once every 5 years.
My child was not the only one to be abused in this situation. The parents of the children involved were horrified when the prosecuting District Attorney wanted to offer the provider a plea bargain! Our children had been abused and this District Attorney was proposing 200 hours of community service. We pleaded with the District Attorney to meet with us she refused.
I went to the Honorable Harriett Wieder, a personal friend. After hearing what had transpired she contacted Bob Love, who in turn connected me to Assemblyman Todd Spitzer. I owe a great deal of thanks and gratitude to Harriett Wieder, Bob Love and Assemblyman Todd Spitzer.
We, as parents, needed justice and we needed to make sure this provider would never hurt another child. At our next court case we had a new prosecuting District Attorney. This time, the provider got two felony convictions. She had to serve 1200 hours of community service and more importantly her license was revoked. She would never be able to open a licensed childcare home again!
I was unable to employ a lawyer in the civil court case as the provider was uninsured. Licensed family childcare homes are required to carry $300,000 of liability insurance but 85% do not have insurance. Again, I went to Assemblyman Todd Spitzer. I wanted to make sure other parents did have an opportunity to pursue providers in civil court.
I was shocked at how much resistance we got from providers. The objection was the cost, which at the time was $300/year for a small family child care home and $500/year for a large family child care home. As a business owner, this amount seemed reasonable to me, after all they are taking care of our children and I thought it only ethical for providers to be insured. We fought hard to get our bill passed but failed.
Four years later, at the suggestion of the Patricia Miller, Director in Childtime Child Care Center in Irvine, I interviewed with the Irvine Child Care Co-ordination Committee for a parent position on their committee. They were working hard to improve the quality of child care but they had to work with the providers already in the market and there was only so much they could do.
I visited numerous centers to learn about their finances and operations and came up with our business model. I wanted to run a quality program, one that parents would feel safe leaving their children in the care of, one that businesses would feel great about supporting, one that board members would be proud to be a part of... I shared the model with numerous child care center Directors asking them for input and recommendations on potential problems. They were all eager to help.
And now I need your help. We have many challenges to make this a reality. We need volunteers. We need donations. Our capital campaign is underway and we are relying on the support of individuals, businesses, foundations. With your help we can provide quality programs for all our children.
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