New Funding for United Way

Home child care providers and grandparents caring for grandkids will benefit

The United Way of Pinal County’s Family, Friend and Neighbor (FFN) Program was recently awarded a grant of $700,000 per year for four years from the First Things First Pinal Regional Partnership Council.

The goal of the program is to provide access to resources, training, networking and professional development opportunities for home child care providers and grandparents caring for their grandchildren throughout Pinal County. Participants caring for children birth to age 5 will receive information on safety, health, brain development, developmentally appropriate activities and a myriad of other topics. Home-based child care providers and grandparents will also receive materials such as books, puzzles and art supplies, just to name a few, for attending their local community FFN training.

Materials received by enrolled FFN providers are designed to increase the quality of their child care environment and improve the quality of education received by the children in their care. Funds are also available for participants choosing to become a licensed or certified child care provider.

This is all part of the UWPC’s greater effort to ensure children arrive at school ready to learn and to succeed in life. Succeeding in school and being able to read at grade level in third grade starts well before a child is born. Development is most pronounced during the first five years of life where 90 percent of a child’s brain is developed. A child that has access to a vocabulary rich environment will master over 2,200 vocabulary words by the start of kindergarten.

Seventy five percent of working mothers utilize some form of family centered child care provider, and about twenty four percent of all children under the age of 5 are cared for in some form of organized child care. As a result of the FFN program, Pinal County children enrolled in lawful home-based child care environments are better equipped to succeed in school and life.

The United Way of Pinal County has been home to the FFN Program for nine years. This grant award is an increase of $280,000 per year in order to serve 350 family child care providers and over 2,000 children. For more information please contact the UWPC’s FFN staff at 520-836-0736.

The United Way of Pinal County is a nonprofit organization that brings people and communities together to advance the common good through services that improve lives. The organization partners with local nonprofits, businesses and government and social service agencies to address the communities’ most pressing needs. The mission statement is “United Way of Pinal County matches generosity with community needs to promote lasting change in people’s lives”  To learn more visit unitedwayofpc.org.

First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, visit FirstThingsFirst.org

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