Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Community Partner Spotlight: Child Care Resource Service (CCRS)

by Ann Abbott

photo 1: Milagros Jerrell, Child Care Resource Specialist
photo 2: Samantha Esterman, Spanish community service learning student from SPAN 332 "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" (See left navigation bar on this blog for course information)

Kirsten Hope is working with me this year on the administration of our Spanish community service learning (CSL) program. With over 100 students working with nearly a dozen community partners, we need to check often to see if things are running smoothly. So this semester, Kirsten is personally visiting our community partners while our students are working. This accomplishes a few things: 1) We see that students are actually there when they are supposed to be there; 2) We get to see for ourselves the exact nature of what they are doing; 3) we touch base with our community partners in a face-to-face way; and 4) we get to promote the wonderful work of our community partners on this blog.

Child Care Resource Service (CCRS) was our third community partner, so it is fitting that they are third in our series of Community Partner Spotlights. As Kirsten points out below, the importance of linguistically and culturally appropriate childcare services is a topic that is rarely touched upon in our Spanish classes. CCRS highlights its importance. Here are Kirsten's words:

"I just visited the Child Care Resource Service (CCRS), and wanted to share a few thoughts with you. To be honest, I thought that CCRS was actually a place where parents brought their children for daycare. I actually didn't know that it's a service that serves a huge area in Central Illinois, helping families pay for affordable childcare. I was able to speak with Milagros for a while, and she showed me how incredibly expensive childcare is, something about which I had no idea, and how important CCRS is for so many families. Milagros showed me that the average cost of childcare in Illinois is about $200 a week!! With the help of CCRS, some families pay only $224 for a month (depending on their situation)! I can't even imagine the great relief and joy that this service brings families. Milagros explained that this money comes from DHS (Department of Human Services), and that the CCRS then coordinates with all child care providers in Illinois (an extensive list!) to ensure that families are paying an affordable amount and still getting high quality childcare.

"I met Sammi Esterman while I was there, and she said that she and the other volunteers do a lot of work on flyers to advertise the services of CCRS. They write in both Spanish and English, and do quite a bit of translation work both in written form and orally as well. They may translate advertisements for CCRS, or even translate for families that come into the office. The CCRS is especially important for Latino families in Illinois because they help find child care where there are Spanish-speaking employees. I think that this service is crucial for Hispanic families because so often they and their children do not speak English and can either get lost in the system or even taken advantage of. In one of their pamphlets (created by our own students!), Miguelito, a Mexican immigrant who moved here with his parents, explains that CCRS helped his family find child care "with a Spanish-speaking provider...I have fun every day while my provider helps me learn through playing and activities... She also makes me authentic Mexican food!" Not only does CCRS ensure that every child is placed in a safe and caring environment, but by taking the linguistic and cultural background of each child into account they also help ensure that children do not lose a sense of who they are or where they came from.

"I feel like the link between daycare and cultural preservation isn't a very clear one, or one that most people ever think about. However, after visiting CCRS, the importance of quality and affordable childcare has become extremely clear. I learned how providing this service for Spanish-speaking families can really alleviate some fear about leaving your child for the day, in addition to the financial stress it addresses as well. Knowing that a childcare provider is able to speak Spanish and communicate with both the parents and the child in their native language is an invaluable service, and I think that CCRS is really unique in this aspect."

1 comment:

  1. Interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you.

    Child Care Services