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A critical component of helping families promote their child’s wellness and development is accessibility of information and resources about infant and toddler care, development, and education. Many states have websites that describe child care and related services and also provide links to additional services and resources for families offered by other state agencies or departments. The following are examples of state consumer education websites and consumer education initiatives that provide clear and comprehensive information that connects families to high-quality, individualized infant and toddler care and additional support services (National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, 2015).
California’s Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies partner with parents to promote informed child care choices. This partnership includes taking into consideration the context of the parents’ lives, especially their cultural and linguistic backgrounds. This process includes informing parents of the range of subsidized care options and providing referrals for community resources and income supports. A referral is provided for a free consultation on local early education and child care programs and licensing information. This leads to a customized child care plan, called “My Child Care Plan.” The California CCR&R Network is currently trying to update California’s Education Code so that it reflects and supports statewide consistency for the referral process (California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, 2016; State Capacity Building Center, n.d).
The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood’s website at http://www.ct.gov/oec/cwp/view.asp?a=4546&q=536096 provides information on a variety of programs and services that support children and families (Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, 2015; National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, 2015). The site includes information about the Connecticut Family Resource Centers. According to National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (2015), “These Centers promote comprehensive, integrated, community-based systems of family support and child development services located in public school buildings. Family Resource Centers provide access, within a community, to a broad continuum of early childhood and family support services that foster the optimal development of children and families” (p. 3). (Connecticut State Department of Education, n.d.).
Tennessee created a website for parents and families that offers information on health, development, education, and support. The site provides a variety of resources, including a comprehensive directory of services for families and children that are state funded and state operated. Parents are able to set up a profile on the site, allowing for customization of the information and resources they receive for their child and family (National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, 2015; Tennessee Children’s Cabinet, n.d.). Visit http://kidcentraltn.com/.
California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. (2016, January). The Patricia Siegel Child Care Resource and Referral Memorial Act of 2016: Updating the California education code to match current practices meeting the needs of California’s working families. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rrnetwork/pages/77/attachments/original/1457132321/Summary_of_SB_1154_2016.pdf?1457132321\
Connecticut Office of Early Childhood. (n.d.). Information for providers [Web page, last modified February 11, 2015]. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from http://www.ct.gov/oec/cwp/view.asp?a=4546&q=536096
National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2015, November). Consumer education: Full diversity of support services for families. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/consumer_education_family_support.
State Capacity Building Center, Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Consumer education, extending reach, and meeting requirements [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from http://www.occ-cmc.org/Infant-Toddler/pdfs/Presentation-Family-Track-D-2_Consumer-Education.pdf
Tennessee Children’s Cabinet. (n.d.). Kid central TN [Web page]. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from http://kidcentraltn.com/