CHILDCARE RESOURCES' HISTORY
Childcare Resources is the outgrowth of a child care task force, convened by United Way of Central Alabama in January 1984 and comprised of 21 members of the community at large.
The charge given to the task force by United Way was to study child care needs in Jefferson, Shelby and Walker counties and to make a report with recommendations to United Way’s Board in June 1984.
In its five-month study, the task force found:
- Child care was not affordable for many working families in the three counties.
- Many types of care were unavailable, and when care was available it was often inaccessible (i.e., care for children with disabilities, sick child care, infant care, school-age child care).
- The child care available was of poor quality.
- Parents didn’t know what options were available to them or how to shop for care.
- There was no central body through which available federal, state and local dollars could flow to address identified needs.
In June, the task force recommended to United Way’s Board that an agency be formed that would provide:
- child care information and counseling to all parents,
- assistance to employers in developing, providing and managing child care assistance and benefits,
- training and technical assistance to child care providers,
- financial assistance with choice of care for families in need, and
- a forum for local governments, foundations and United Way to identify and meet needs in underserved areas.
United Way accepted the task force’s recommendations, and Childcare Resources was incorporated in July 1984.
From 1984 to 1986, the agency phased in the three programs — child care resource and referral, child care provider training, and child care financial assistance. From 1984 to 1992, the agency’s staff grew from 4 to 10 and the budget grew from $84,000 to $500,000. The agency added Blount County to its service area in 1988.
Growth and Change
From January 1992 through November 31, 2004, Childcare Resources administered two contracts for the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). One contract was for managing child care subsidies for eligible families living in Blount, Jefferson, Shelby and Walker counties. The other contract was for Quality Activities (e.g., training child care providers). While the agency retained the DHR Quality Contract for fiscal year 2005, the DHR Child Care Subsidy contract was awarded to another provider. Childcare Resources’ budget decreased from $25 million (of which $21.3 million was direct child care subsidies) to $2.23 million, and the staff was reduced from 62 to 29.
In 2005, Childcare Resources Board, staff, and community partners met and developed a five-year strategic plan. In 2010, with the assistance of Protective Life Corporation, Childcare Resources implemented Balanced Scorecard – a strategic performance management tool – as its dynamic strategic plan. The Board of Directors, Junior Board and staff are intrinsically involved in this strategic process.
The agency offered Parents as Teachers, a nationally renowned parent education program, in several area child care centers from 1993 to 2012. In 2013, Parent Education @ Work replaced Parents as Teachers and was offered to parents in lunch and learn formats at area businesses free of charge.
In 2007, founding Executive Director Margie Curry retired after 23 years of service. After a nationwide search, Joan Wright was named the new executive director, effective November 16, 2007. Joan came to Childcare Resources from United Way of Central Alabama’s Success By 6, an early education and reading readiness initiative, where she served as director.
In December 2013, after over 20 years in the Saks Building in downtown Birmingham, Childcare Resources moved to 244 West Valley Avenue in the Homewood area. The agency reopened for business in January 2014.
As of February 2014, the agency has a staff of 18 and continues to hold the DHR Quality Contract.
Beginning in 2008, Childcare Resources began working on Quality Assurance Validation – a comprehensive process that involved every aspect of the agency’s business. As a result, Childcare Resources achieved National Quality Assurance designation by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) in April 2012. NACCRRA became Child Care Aware of America in late 2012. Childcare Resources is the first such agency in the southeast to receive this distinction and as of February 2014, is only one of 26 NQA agencies in the nation. This designation is important because:
- It affirms that Childcare Resources is an agency of excellence and our programs, services and business practices are of the highest standards set by CCAA. Similar to receiving a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval or a AAA rating, accreditation granted by CCAA is emblematic of reliability and distinction in our field.
- It demonstrates the value of our work and the value we place on the families, children, employers and communities we serve. We always put our customers first and we help to bring about positive changes in the lives of people in Blount, Jefferson, Shelby and Walker Counties.
- It serves to inspire and motivate Childcare Resources’ staff, Board of Directors and Junior Board to invest themselves in our agency by providing certified validation of the significance of this agency and instilling the pride of an association with an agency of excellence.
Childcare Resources has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) since 1997. In obtaining this accreditation, Childcare Resources has demonstrated that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, the agency is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard. Childcare Resources is very involved with IACET from a national standpoint. In 2013, our Provider Education and Support Manager was elected to the board of this national organization.
Childcare Resources is funded by United Way of Central Alabama, Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama and numerous foundations, businesses and individuals.
In 2012 the structure of the agency’s fundraising events was modified. After 22 years of presenting the Children’s Advocate Award luncheon, the final luncheon was held March 2012. In 2013, the Children’s Advocate Award was featured through public service announcements on CBS 42 and benefited the agency through corporate partnerships. A reception was held in December 2013 to honor the Children’s Advocates for 2013.
The Fairy Tale Ball, a project of the agency’s Junior Board was initiated in 2007 and has grown each year in attendance and increased revenue for the agency.
In 2013, the Board of Directors presented TEMPO – A Family Fun Festival in Railroad Park. This free event promotes strong, healthy families through cycling and other fitness activities. This annual event raises money through corporate sponsorships and vendor fees. In its first and second years, TEMPO attracted approximately 1,000 guests.
Quality child care will be available and affordable to all families who need it.
To make quality care and education of children happen by providing information, education and assistance to families, providers of child care, and the community.
Updated March 4, 2014