Child Care Network – FIRST Family Support Program
December 15, 2014
The Child Care Network promotes success of children, families and the Jackson community through quality child care education, advocacy and family support. Because you give to the United Way of Jackson County we are able to help fund CCN’s FIRST Family Support Program.
Child Care Network’s Family Support Program (FSP) has touched thousands of children and families for over thirty-seven years. They help parents who are working, going to school, in job training, experiencing a life-crisis situation (such as domestic violence or homelessness), seeking employment, and grandparents raising grandchildren through our Family Support Program.
The Family Support team works with parents with children ages zero through twelve, to ensure all children have equal access to high quality early learning and care programs. The FSP provides financial scholarships to reduce the high out-of-pocket tuition costs, making quality care more affordable. Parents are better able to work toward their ultimate goal of self-sufficiency. In turn, children have the opportunity to experience consistent relationships with caregivers that are able to meet the child’s needs and guide their development and growth.
The FSP team also assists parents with the Department of Human Services (DHS) application process, in finding quality early learning and care programs that fit their family’s needs, connect families with community supports, and to promote positive parenting practices and provide early childhood development education.
Within just six months of 2014, CCN through the FIRST Family Support Program was able to connect 263 parents in the Jackson area with community and educational resources to support children’s school success. An example of the FIRST Family Support Program impact can be shown in the story of Ben and Emily’s family.
The FIRST Family Support Program provided early learning and care scholarships to a father, ‘Ben’, with two young sons, thus allowing him to continue working while his wife, ‘Emily’ is hospitalized. Emily has been diagnosed with Severe Depressive Disorder, coupled with panic attacks. She is unable to work and care for herself and her family. Emily is receiving partial in-patient treatment, which is a costly and long-term process. The family is surviving on Ben’s income alone, with added support from Emily’s parents. The grandparents care for the boys during evenings and weekends to provide Emily and Ben time to work together managing her depression.
This has been a traumatizing event for this family. Emily’s depression reached a crisis point in 2013, forcing her to quit her job. The family immediately lost over $36,000 in income and struggled to keep the boys in their early learning and care center, as well as make mortgage payments and other necessities. With the help of the FIRST FSP scholarship, Ben was able to afford child care tuition costs. The boys have been able to attend consistent, stable care in a loving and educational environment where they play, have fun and socialize with their friends. This has provided a normalcy to their lives at a time when it is so desperately needed. This has been a very scary time for them as they are too young to understand. FIRST has also given Ben and Emily time alone to develop new strategies for the family to cope with Emily’s diagnosis.