Everyone agrees: young children deserve high-quality care and education.

Just as elementary and high school teachers have professional qualifications to educate our children, it is important that those who spend time with the very young are well-trained and qualified. Thanks to a new state-certified credential, family child care professionals can demonstrate the commitment to quality they provide to children in their home-based child care settings.

The Collaboration for Early Childhood’s professional development staff was integral to creating, piloting and implementing the new Family Child Care Credential and they continue to be involved at the state level. In particular, Diana Rosenbrock’s leadership has guided this exciting new credential since day one. Diana was approached early on to represent the interests of family child care providers who advocated for a credential to demonstrate the skills and knowledge required in a family child care setting.

Diana Rosenbrock

Diana Rosenbrock with a young friend.

As co-chair of the key committee, she led the process of identifying team members, developing content areas, determining the benchmarks and framework, and partnering with institutions of higher education. Diana is co-chair and Penny Williams-Wolford is a member of the Family Child Care Credential Committee. Penny is the Collaboration’s Professional Development Coordinator, a role she took over from Diana upon her retirement. Diana and Penny both serve on committees that aim to improve the early childhood workforce across Illinois.

In addition, Marie Masterson, Ph.D. (former Collaboration board member) and Lisa Ginet, Ed.D. (current chair of the Collaboration’s Professional Development Committee) wrote the benchmarks for the Family Child Care Credential, aligning content areas and skills with expectations and standards.

The pilot phase of the new Family Child Care Credential has come to a close. As of July 1, providers can now apply for this credential through Gateways to Opportunity, the Illinois Professional Development System. The Collaboration strongly encourages family child care providers to apply for the credential now so they can get support from Gateways at a low cost. Once a provider has applied, they have up to five years to complete any requirements that may be lacking.

The Family Child Care Credential can be obtained by taking one of two paths. A provider can apply directly to Gateways (the Direct Route), or they can apply through a participating learning institution (the Entitled Route). A counselor from Gateways assists with identifying and obtaining the requirements during the application process.

There are 35 licensed family child care providers in Oak Park and River Forest. Many of them have applications pending to receive the Family Child Care Credential. Some local providers who participated in the pilot program have already received their credentials. They are: Melody Robinson, Alma Martinez and Jeanette Streeter.

If you are a Family Child Care professional interested in learning more about this credential, review the information on the Gateways to Opportunity website and contact Penny Williams-Wolford at the Collaboration for Early Childhood for guidance on the application process. Penny can be reached at (708) 613-6122 or pwilliams-wolford@collab4kids.org.

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