As preschools, and elementary, middle, and high schools go virtual across the country this fall, many families have turned to shared childcare as a way of getting through this tumultuous time. More and more families are banding together to take turns watching kids, especially young ones, in their homes. Some households might find that using their house as the main “home-base” where all childcare happens makes the most sense. In these situations, it is important to check that you are following your state laws regarding running a childcare center. Many states stipulate that if you are accepting money for childcare (the amount varies state by state) or if you have a certain number of kids in your home for a certain amount of time, you are legally running a childcare program, which comes with a whole array of regulations, most of them there to ensure the safety of kids.
As you look further into what it takes to make this arrangement work, you might find that you really, really *love* working with kids. If this is the case, first off, hooray! We have a huge need for loving, dedicated childcare providers. Secondly, have you considered becoming a licensed childcare provider? If you don’t even know where to start, here are some resources, care of the amazing staff at the Child Care Network (CCN). In case you haven’t heard of this Michigan-based organization, the Child Care Network helps families across 7 counties in Michigan find child care, pay for child care (their Family Support Program provides child care scholarships!), and also helps child care professionals provide quality child care. Some of the resources available to budding childcare professionals (or even people just beginning to consider it) include:
The Child Care Network has a HUGE lending library of more than 2,500 resources. These include curricula for all different ages, books and DVDs on child development and learning, assessment materials, classroom planning, and so much more. CCN staff has figured out a way to lend these materials out safely at all of their county offices. You can email them here https://www.childcarenetwork.org/contact-us to get a copy of the lending library list for your county.
Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has put together solid step-by-step guidance on how to get licensed as a family or group child care home, right here: https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_63294_5529_49572-82370–,00.html
CDA Classes – The Child Development Associate Credential is a nationally recognized program requiring 120 clock hours of training in specific subject areas. The Child Care Network partners with other organizations to provide or help people to access this training.
Mom Power is a program that supports families who are facing adversity and stress through the challenges of caring for young children, offering a strengths-based, nurturing approach to promoting resilience in parents and children. Some Child Care Network staff are trained in this model which offers a 13-session group focused on increasing parenting skills, connecting parents to other parents, connecting parents to local resources, supporting parents in using self-care skills, and supporting relationships between parents and their young children.
These are just a few of the wonderful resources available to families and individuals who are considering becoming a childcare provider. How amazing would it be to turn something as tragic as a global pandemic into an opportunity to provide loving care to kids as a career. Either way, we wish you the best of luck in your journey!