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Family child care providers earn national accreditation

Professionalism personified

Eighty-eight proud child care providers completed training for their national accreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care in a festive graduation ceremony held at the UFT’s lower Manhattan headquarters on Dec. 6. The graduates were praised for their hard work by Lehilany Labarca, the executive director of the Child Care Network of New York, Inc., who worked with the UFT to offer the training required for accreditation. “We need to look at family child care as a profession — to be seen as professionals, not babysitters — and you are the future of the profession,” she told the new grads, who had to complete 90 hours of difficult training in five different content areas to receive their accreditation. Over the course of a year, the providers met for monthly, eight-hour classes dealing with: building relationships with children, parents and the community; creating a welcoming, safe and educational environment; developmental learning activities; safety and health; and professional and business practices. “It’s a very grueling class,” Labarca said, noting that almost 140 providers began the training program last January. “Many start. Very few finish.” Now the providers must each submit an application for accreditation to the National Association for Family Child Care, which will arrange to observe their programs before deciding whether to accredit them. Those who receive accreditation will join an elite few: There are just 37 nationally accredited providers in all of New York State and only seven in the city. Stephanie J. Brade, the vice chair of the UFT’s Family Child Care Providers Chapter who oversees the chapter’s extensive professional development program, applauded the graduates for their commitment to improving their craft and their programs. “It’s college-level work, and very rigorous,” she said. “The providers would not have had this opportunity had it not been for the UFT. It’s great that our union made this available to us.”

Professionalism personified 127-04Jonathan FickiesAntoinette Bloade from Manhattan shows off her certificate.

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