FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The ultimate essential worker, child care providers, make it possible for others to go to work. Unfortunately, their numbers are on the decline.
The Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools wants to increase the number of quality child care workers in Fresno County.
Letrina Alexander says she always wanted to be a child care provider but wasn’t ready to make the transition from her career in the private sector until the pandemic hit.
“I was doing the childcare for my grandchildren and I had not had small children in a long time and I thought I might need a little help,” explained Alexander.
Letrina is what is called a family, friends, and neighbors caregiver: relatives or friends who provide daycare services. Many of them are unlicensed.
“We want to ensure that no matter where the child may be, that they are receiving the most optimal care possible and this is where the Pathways to Quality program comes in,” said Ofelia Gonzalez with the Children’s Services Network.
Pathways to Quality is a workforce pathway grant administered through the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools’ early care and education department.
“The ultimate goal of the Pathway to Qualities program is to increase access to quality early care education programming for our youngest learners here in Fresno County.”
Through the program, those already in the field, including teachers can further their education or can get training.
“They are learning about the importance of the healthy development, they are learning about health and safety CPR pediatric CPR so many different things they can use.”
Children’s Services Network assists with the training. participants work with a navigator who will help them reach their goals. For Latrina, it was getting her license.
“With me not having a background in childcare, the policy procedures for health and safety, having some type of guidelines that I would be held accountable for were important to me.”
Those who meet their goals also receive a stipend, money they can use for tuition or expenses. The program is helping to increase the number of quality child care providers in Fresno County. Since last July, 481 people have participated.