Exciting news coming from Northwest Arkansas for Family Child Care providers!

The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) serves as a nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to promoting high quality child care by strengthening the profession of family child care. Ten Northwest Arkansas providers have decided to make an intentional career choice to increase the quality of care and education in their home by participating in a pilot project supported by the University of Arkansas Early Care and Education Projects, Family Child Care Network.

NAFCC accreditation is recognized as the highest indicator that a family child care program has a quality environment. Accreditation reflects a high level of quality through a process that examines all aspects of the family childcare program including relationships, the environment, developmental learning activities, safety and health, and professional and business practices.

Ten providers in Washington and Benton county have completed a rigorous application process and will work together for the next 12 months to measure themselves and their program against the NAFCC standards. Linda Adams (Siloam Springs), Carolyn Carney (Farmington), Krista Houston (Huntsville), Mary Line (Bentonville), Linda Luney (Pea Ridge), Sue Meek (Fayetteville), Michelle Mendoza (Garfield) Rita Neve (Booneville), Terri McGuire (Bentonville) and Lisa Wood (Prairie Grove). In addition to self-study they will obtain 90 extra hours of professional development targeted to help them be successful in the accreditation process. NAFCC accreditation also seeks the input of the parents of the program in determining quality.

A project of this size has not occurred in the family child care community since 1997. The long-range plan of the pilot is to replicate the project in other areas of the state. The Arkansas Better Beginnings website states “High quality child care and early education set the stage for how well our children learn, how they think of themselves and how they interact with the world. We as parents, child care providers, educators and citizens have a responsibility to make sure all our children have the very best experiences they can have.”

We are excited to watch and support your journey! If you are a family child care provider, be sure to contact Debbie Mays or Elizabeth Scudder for more information: debbiemays@me.com escudder@uark.edu

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