News & Notes:
- Find Child Care Quality Ratings
- See our New Data Dashboard
- Meet our New Help Me Grow Coordinator
- Watch It: The Monument Community First 5 Center
Ratings for the 95 programs participating in our new quality child care rating and improvement system (QRIS) called Quality Matters are now posted. These 95 programs include both center-based care and family child care programs and provide care for about 3,500 children. Most are located in low-income communities.
Quality Matters programs are rated using a scale of one to five on elements including:
- Providing positive, engaging teacher-child interactions
- Providing a safe, healthy and stimulating environment
- Teacher training and qualifications
- Using recommended assessments to check if children are learning new skills and developing on track
- Ratio and Class size (Centers only)
Program reports show the overall ratings for each site as well as how the program scored in each element listed above.
Ratings of “3” or above mean providers have met quality standards and benchmarks. Sites are rated every two years and receive intensive coaching, training, financial incentives and support to maintain or improve ratings.
Of the 95 programs rated, nearly all meet quality standards. An impressive 76% received the highest two ratings:
“Quality Matters is improving the quality of child care in our county, especially for low-income children – kids who benefit most, but are the least likely to receive it,” said Sean Casey, Executive Director of First 5 Contra Costa. “Our rating system helps providers focus on which elements of quality to improve and makes it easier for parents to identify quality programs.”
First 5 Contra Costa developed Quality Matters with the Contra Costa Child Care Council, Contra Costa County Office of Education Local Planning and Advisory Council for Early Care and Education, and Contra Costa, Diablo Valley, and Los Medanos Community Colleges.
We’ve re-designed our Data Dashboard to provide latest information about the positive impact our investments and programs have made on Contra Costa’s young children and families.
The interactive dashboard includes data and information about our revenue and investments, demographics about parents and children served, and key results from our efforts to improve child care quality, support at-risk families, and provide early screening and intervention services to help all children thrive.
Each section includes infographics, videos, and links to parent testimonials and blogs for readers to drill down and learning more about our funded programs, like this one showing results from our efforts to provide more children with important developmental screening services as early as possible:
Take a look and discover how these programs and our funded partners are helping Contra Costa’s youngest children to grow up healthy, nurtured and ready for school.
If you have suggestions for the dashboard, just let us know.
Liliana Gonzalez is our new Help Me Grow Coordinator, overseeing the system we’re building to provide early screening and intervention services for young children. Prior to joining First 5, Liliana was a home visitor for the Head Start program and later worked as a Disabilities and Home-Based program coordinator for families in the Monument community of Concord. Liliana attended Mills College in Oakland, where she received her B.A. in Research Psychology and a Master’s in Infant Mental Health. She enjoys reading, hiking and running.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I absolutely love reading! I have a long list of favorites; as a toddler/preschooler I particularly enjoyed “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown; later in my early childhood I loved “Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse” by Kevin Henkes and all Dr. Seuss books.
Did you have a favorite place to visit as a child?
I particularly enjoy being outdoors so as a child I loved to visit my grandmother’s house because she lives out by the country. Along with my cousins, we would play hide-and-seek in the cornfields.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Contra Costa County?
I love to take a walk around Todos Santos plaza and browse through the corner bookstore.
What is your motto?
I have to admit I have a few but my main drive comes from the many words of wisdom my father has shared over the years. His most important advice to me was “Never be afraid to ask.” As a child I was very quiet and since then I have made it a point to always try, even when I am afraid. I know I am more likely to regret not doing something out of fear than trying and failing.
What would make Contra Costa an even better place for children and families?
While the county has existing providers offering health care, food, and other resources for at risk families, there are still many children whose needs are unmet. I believe we need to continue strategic efforts to positively change policies that will ensure that basic needs are met for all families.
The Monument Community First 5 Center is a great place for parents to take their kids and try new things – especially activities they might not want to try at home (see the babies making a mess and exploring paint in the video).
Check out this new video about the Center, which serves 330 families each year and is run by Aspiranet, and then sign up for services. You can find their monthly calendar here.