After five years of experience with child care programs, the Enterprise Foundation and its local partners demonstrated the success of a new community development partnership model for supporting low-income, home-based child care providers–a model that has proven to increase the quality and supply of child care in low-income communities.
This new model brings partners together from two fields that have historically worked independently: child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs) and community-based organizations (CBOs), some of which are community development corporations (CDCs). Through the Enterprise Foundation’s local child care programs, these nontraditional partners joined together to create two types of support and enhancement for home-based child care providers. The first was network support programs that created new networks or supported existing networks of home-based providers to offer training, resources, evaluations and peer support. These support programs have not been widely used throughout the country. The second was housing assistance programs that improved child care environments through home repair or home purchase. The scope of these programs represents a significant expansion in this still nascent approach.
In 1999, the Enterprise Foundation initiated Circles of Caring: A License-Exempt Child Care Provider Network in Los Angeles as a support network for license-exempt, home-based child care providers. These providers are exempt from California state licensing requirements due to the fact that they care for children from only one family. The support network was created to address concerns for the high degree of isolation that is inherent in being a license-exempt provider and to develop a quality support infrastructure for this popular form of child care.