ACCFC presents $5,000 in awards |

ACCFC presents $5,000 in awards

by Cheri Warrell, Special to the R-C

Child care workers and early learning teachers in Alpine County have received more than $5,000 for their efforts to complete additional training which will help provide stable, quality care for local children. The Alpine County Children and Families Commission (ACCFC) presented the pay stipends to participants in the Provider Education, Retention and Compensation (PERC) program and “HeadsUp! Reading” program.

“Reassurance that a child care provider will be a continuous presence in the lives of their children is a concern for working parents in our county,” said Kathy Kerr, chair of the ACCFC. “This additional income will help our child care workers stay in their chosen profession.”

Child care experts have cited consistency in staffing as an important factor in quality child care programs, and low wages are continually cited as a reason for child care workers to leave the profession. The goal of the PERC pay stipends is to help child care professionals remain in the field and also act as an incentive to continue their education.

Child care workers also participated in the “HeadsUp! Reading” program, an early literacy program that teaches people who work with children how to help them learn to read. The 21-week course meets once a week throughout the year.

“It’s rewarding to see young children eager to learn to read,” said Rhonda Medicine Crow, a “HeadsUp! Reading” participant. “Through this program I’m able to help kids learn and encourage their interest in books.”

At the recent PERC awards ceremony, the ACCFC also recognized other organizations for their outstanding service. The Alpine County Children and Families Commission has allocated a total of $90,000 this year for child health care, child care, literacy, child abuse prevention, transportation, prenatal care, preschool, and summer programs for young children.

“We’ve had a productive year working with community agencies in Alpine County to serve children ages 0 to 5 and their families,” said Adelina Osorio, member of the ACCFC. “We know that a child’s brain develops most dramatically during the first three years and our commission is committed to helping children reach their greatest potential in school and in life.”

The Alpine County Children and Families Commission was established after voters passed Proposition 10 in 1998, adding a 50 cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund education, health, child care and other programs for expectant parents and children ages 0 to 5.