WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) successfully organized one of the largest events for family child care educators in the nation during its Annual Conference July 12 to July 15, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia. Themed “The Future Starts with Us,” this conference brought together professionals in the family child care industry, offering an engaging and empowering experience.
Throughout the conference, over 1000 attendees tackled critical issues surrounding early care, with a strong focus on centering Family Child Care (FCC) in Early Childhood Education (ECE) system design. By highlighting the importance of FCC, sessions addressed the inequities within the current system and fostered discussions on reimagining the child care landscape.
“NAFCC is proud to have facilitated this exceptional gathering of family child care educators,” said Erica Phillips, Executive Director at NAFCC. “Our Annual Conference created a unique platform for professionals to address critical issues, envision an inclusive child care system, and exchange groundbreaking ideas. By working together, we are shaping the future of early childhood education.”
Among the key topics explored were:
Equitable & Comprehensive Funding: Attendees delved into the pressing need to ensure family child care is funded on par with early care & learning in other settings (e.g., centers, Head Start, elementary schools). Educators strive to provide optimal care and education for young children by advocating for increased financial support. Furthermore, recognizing the essential role of FCC educators, sessions highlighted recent wins for FCC, including access to benefits, retirement, and paid time off. By valuing the well-being of educators, attendees aimed to enhance the quality of care provided.
Quality in FCC: Family child care educators engage in several sessions to dig deeper into NAFCC’s Accreditation Quality Standards. Sessions explored innovative approaches to aligning best practices in home-based settings with the unique needs of the children they serve. Accredited FCC programs were also highlighted at the Toast to Quality Celebration.
Bringing the Ideal to Reality: Participants actively discussed actionable steps to transform the ideal child care system into a tangible reality. By brainstorming practical initiatives, attendees explored how they could make an immediate impact within their communities. Alumni of NAFCC’s Leaders Shaping Leaders fellowship shared innovative community-based projects at the LSL Gallery Walk further bringing the ideal to reality.
The conference featured keynote speakers Shawn Brown, founder and CEO of Role Model Productions, Inc., and a Plenary Session addressing inequities in early care and education systems featuring Katie Hamm, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development, Office of Early Childhood Development, Amber Bilby, FCC Educator and President of the Colorado Association of Family Child Care, Mary Curry, FCC Educator and Executive Director of Yes! for Early Success, and Arleen Lambert, FCC Educator and President of the Florida Family Child Care Home Association. Child Care educators Brigitte Willis and DiAnne Coggins also shared their insights, wisdom, and inspiration from their experiences in the field during an intimate Fireside Chat.
NAFCC Board Member and family child care educator Benu Chhabra affirmed, “I am honored to be a part of the National Association for Family Child Care’s Annual Conference and have the opportunity to connect with fellow educators who share my passion for providing high-quality care. This conference has been truly transformative, empowering us to address the inequities in our field and envision a future where family child care is valued and supported. Together, we are building a stronger foundation for early childhood education, one that centers on the unique needs of children and the vital role of family child care educators.”
NAFCC presented industry awards to celebrate the remarkable contributions and achievements made by individuals in the field of family child care. Congratulations to:
- Accreditation Observer of the Year – Dr. Kiki Singletary
- Accreditation Facilitation Project of the Year – Florida Family Child Care Home Association
- Accredited Provider of the Year – Maria Amado
- Accreditation Council Leadership Award – Michael Bachman
- Honorable Mention for 45 years of outstanding achievements in Family Child Care – Debbie Grace
- Friends of FCC – Bainum Family Foundation & Marcia Cox Mitchell and W.K.Kellogg Foundation & Nara Topp
- Ruby Brunson Community Advocate Award – Sheryl Hutzenbiler and Corrine Hendrickson
- Maria Otto Award – Dr. Louis A Finley, Jr.
Phillips added “This conference serves as a testament to NAFCC’s commitment and dedication of family child care educators nationwide. As we continue to spearhead transformative changes within the industry, our collective efforts will undoubtedly create a positive and lasting impact on the lives of young children.”
NAFCC will host its 2024 annual conference July 24-27, 2024 in St. Louis, MO. For more information about the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) and its initiatives, please visit www.nafcc.org.
The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) is a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to promoting high-level child care by strengthening the profession of family child care for nearly one million paid home-based early learning programs. Since 1982, NAFCC has been supporting family child care throughout the country as educators intentionally choose to offer high-level early care and education in their homes.The Washington D.C.-based organization strengthens the profession by advocating for the needs of educators and the families they serve, providing an identifiable national voice for all members, and promoting a professional accreditation credential that recognizes and encourages high-level care and education in home-based settings. To learn more, visit www.NAFCC.org.