Linking Families And Communities Invests In The Child Care WAGE$ ® Projects That Provides Education Based Salary Supplements To Low-Paid Child Care Providers.

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The Child Care WAGE$ ® Project has two participants in the Linking Families and Communities service counties. Both providers are home child care providers and have received the Quality Rating System Level 4 Rating.

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Ms. Sheri Anderson reported, “The WAGE$ project came at the perfect time as I was contemplating leaving child care to use my education elsewhere."

The quality and stability of a child’s relationships are one of the most critical factors that determines whether a child thrives developmentally. Stable, nurturing relationships are important for all children, especially for the youngest children, that are learning to form secure attachments, which are the foundation for future relationships. Outside of parents, child care providers are often the next close relationship for children.

Linking Families and Communities knows the importance of these relationships and has invested in the Child Care WAGE$® Project, which provides education-based salary supplements to low-paid child care providers working with children between the ages of birth to five. A lack of resources and the need to keep child care affordable for parents often make it difficult for child care programs to provide salary increases to their staff, let alone to reward or encourage advanced education, which often creates high turnover. The Child Care WAGE$® Project was created in response to research-based evidence that showed that the quality of care children receive is lowered by high turnover rates and inadequate teacher education. The project’s goal is to provide young children more stable relationships with better educated caregivers by rewarding advanced education and the continuity of care to young children.

There are several key components of the program. They include encouraging continued education, requiring consistency within the same child care program, maintaining marketplace competition for better salaries and provides direct, graduated wage supplements that are logical and sufficient.

The Child Care WAGE$ ® Project has two participants in the Linking Families and Communities service area with more on the way. Ms. Karrie Karr, of Fort Dodge, and Ms. Sheri Andersen, of Rockwell City, were the first to apply and be awarded WAGE$ awards. Both women are home child care providers and both have received a Quality Rating System Level 4 Rating. Ms. Anderson reported, “The WAGE$ project came at the perfect time as I was contemplating leaving child care to use my education elsewhere. The project has motivated me to continue to provide child care and pursue more education. Additionally, Ms. Karr stated, “The WAGE$ program is a blessing.” She noted that she hasn’t raised her rates as she tries to keep child care affordable for parents.

Linking Families and Communities provides resources and assistance to families to build healthy bonds between parents and their children and is a recipient of Early Childhood Iowa funds. Located at 822 Central Avenue, Fort Dodge, IA. For more information visit http://www.linking-families.com or call 515-955-5437.

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Elizabeth Stanek

Cheryl O'Hern
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