By Robbin Hutchins-Jones
Family Child Care Support Specialist

Family child care providers are taking care of business! Most providers work early in the morning until late in the evening, and some provide overnight care or weekend care. As Qualistar’s Family Child Care Support Specialist, I have the privilege of working with providers statewide. One thing that holds true is that they are professionals.

A provider once said to me, “I can’t stand it when someone refers to me as a day care provider because I don’t take care of the days of the week.” Another provider said, “I’m not a babysitter because a babysitter does not come close to offering the service I provide.”

Licensed family child care providers are important members of their communities, and are loved by the families they serve. They wear many hats, ranging from the director to teacher to janitor! The director duties include managing day to day business operations and ensuring compliance with state regulations. The teacher duties include providing responsive care for a group of six to nine children of mixed ages, fostering a nurturing learning environment where children thrive and learn, and supporting young children’s social and emotional needs. Family child care providers take care of minor medical needs of children, such as administering medications and bandaging scrapes and bruises. And they are cooks as well, serving three to four healthy, nutritious meals and snacks daily. Finally, in the role of janitor, these providers ensure that children have a clean, healthy, and safe learning environment. For sure, the daily duties of a family child care provider are numerous and varied.

Providers are acclimating to Colorado Shines QRIS, the state’s new quality rating and improvement system, and the Professional Development Information System (PDIS), the state’s new professional registry. How does a provider fit these new pieces into their program? An early childhood professional said it best: “It’s like a good recipe. If you’re a cook, following the steps of a good recipe will most likely give you a dish that you desire. The finest ingredients should be used for the dish to taste good.”

The same concept applies to the state rating system: Use the best ingredients one step at a time. Here is a sample winning recipe.

First, get familiar with the Colorado Shines Program Guide, and the Colorado Shines Evidence Document for Family Child Care Homes. These resources will inform you of what’s required. Second, participate in the free Family Child Quality Certificate (FCCQC) to strengthen your knowledge around the Colorado Shines QRIS. The Family Child Care Certificate project is designed to prepare family providers to be successful as they participate in the state rating system and PDIS. Additionally, take advantage of Family Child Care Certificate incentives, such as a $300 grant for quality improvements, free targeted training, and an annual membership to the Colorado Family Child Care Association. Third, partner with your local Early Childhood Council for coaching services. Fourth, start to add required policies and procedures to your program’s handbook. Fifth, organize required documentation for uploading into the Colorado Shines Level 3-5 system. Next, participate in a practice Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale (FCCERS) observation. Finally, you and your coach can submit the Colorado Shines QRIS online application for a Level 3-5 program rating. These seven steps have helped many providers through their rating and quality improvement journey.

Here are what providers are saying about the Family Child Care Quality Certificate:

“Thank you for assisting me. I truly appreciate it. So glad I allowed you to come to my home.”
-Denver Family Child Care Provider

“The best part of participating in the project was that someone came to my home who spoke Spanish, so that I was better able to understand, and that the document checklists were in Spanish.”
-Denver Family Child Care Provider

“This process has been so helpful, and I have learned so much through participating in the FCCQC project.”
-Morgan County Family Child Care Provider

“I don’t feel that I deserve the certificate (yet), but with your ideas for improvements I can roll my sleeves up and get to work.”
-El Paso County Family Child Care Provider

For more information about the Family Child Care Quality Certificate program, please email us at or call us at 303.339.6804.