The foundation for the Children’s Coalition efforts begins in early childhood. The most critical time for a child’s development is the 0-5 age. A child’s brain is developing rapidly and reaches 80% of its size by age 3. The social emotional development of a child during this time forms the basis for later cognitive development and is critical for the long term development and success in school and in life. Active on the local and state level, the Children’s Coalition has been involved in the development and support of Bright Start, the state’s plan for the development of an early childhood system.
The Children’s Coalition serves as the child care resource and referral agency for the northeast region. This program is funded by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) www.dcfs.louisiana.gov. Services provided under this initiative include:
- Consumer education and resource and referral for businesses and parents
- Child Care Provider training, including CDA credentialing
- Technical Assistance and mentoring for child care centers and family child care homes
As part of this program, Child Care Connections supports and encourages the voluntary quality rating system, Quality Start, for Child Care Centers.
As a child care resource and referral program, the Children’s Coalition promotes the school readiness tax credits to support child care centers, providers, parents and resource and referral agencies. For more information, see www.qrslouisiana.org. For information on how these tax credits have been used by the Children’s Coalition, see the School Readiness Tax Credits newsletter under About the Coalition.
For Child Care Centers, we provide:
- Training to meet licensing requirements;
- Trainings to improve the quality of child care and to meet the requirements of Quality Start;
- Child Development Associate (CDA) training, consultation and advising
- Continuing Education Units
- Start-up consultation
- Technical Assistance
For Parents, Family and Child Care Professionals, we provide:
- Free referrals to parents seeking quality child care
- Tips to evaluate the quality of child care
- Referrals to other family-serving agencies
- Resources on parenting and child development
- Information about Child Care Assitance
Mental Health Consultation for Child Care:
Working with Tulane University, mental health consultation is offered to all Class A licensed child care centers in this region. Recognizing that the social and emotional development of a child is critical for his later cognitive and social development, this intensive program matches licensed, highly trained consultants to a child care center over a several week period to improve the over-all functioning of the center.
Al’s Pals, Kids Making Healthy Choices:
The Children’s Coalition is working with all Pre-K programs and teachers in both school systems in Ouachita Parish to implement this nationally recognized, evidence-based life skills program for 4 year olds. Several child care centers are also participating in this 43 lesson program. Al’s Pals is a program of Wingspan, Inc. See www.wingspanworks.org.