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When we hear the word “coach” we normally associate it with sports; however, the Women’s Fund supported coaching of a different kind with a 2017-18 grant of $65,000 to the Children’s Resource and Referral of Santa Barbara County. The grant was used to “coach” 33 previously unlicensed home-based childcare providers in the skill set necessary to enrich the young minds of their clients and become licensed Family Child Care (FCC) providers. 

Jacqui Banta, the COO of the nonprofit agency, explains that 95% of a child’s brain cells are developing by the age of five. With improved early education and learning environments, those young minds are much better prepared for the years ahead. 

Johnny (not his real name) is one success story. Just five years old and placed in foster care, he had suicidal thoughts, was harming himself and displaying aggression toward peers. Six months ago, Johnny was placed in an FCC program where coaches trained the teachers how to successfully navigate challenging behavior, identify triggers, and help Johnny through his crisis and support him in recovery while rebuilding trust. The coaches supported the teachers and helped them create coping tools for Johnny to use throughout his day. In six months, Johnny has transformed from a scared, confused and angry little boy to a confident, secure, kind and social friend.

Children's Resource & Referral selected their recipients from a list of women interested in obtaining a Family Child Care license. The coaches provided 25 hours of professional development focusing on child development and learning environments, one-on-one on-site coaching, home visits, technical assistance, resources, and the skills needed to improve the experience for their young charges. In addition, each caregiver was awarded $500 to purchase necessary supplies and equipment.  

Jacqui deems the program 100% successful as the 33 caregivers have been providing high-quality care for their young charges which now number 265.

  • Contributed by Joanne Schoenfeld