This week is bookended by reminders that caregivers and providers are the foundation on which our families thrive.

Monday, May 8 showed us what a life without care would be like on a Day Without Child Care;, while this Friday, May 12 encourages us to take a moment to appreciate the essential work of caregivers and educators on National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.

While much has been written about the foundational role of child care in making all other work possible, this month also reminds us that caregiving opens up much more to us than work. Mother’s Day and commencement season once again remind us of those who are celebrating both milestones - the student mothers who dream of more for themselves and their families.

Securing affordable child care helped Isis Patterson, a Parent Advisor with IF partner Ascend at the Aspen Institute, continue her studies. As she shared on the latest episode of Ascend’s “1 in 5” podcast, her journey also planted seeds for her son’s future too:

"He would go around to his friends and his teachers and say, ‘My mom's going to Harvard! She got accepted to Harvard!’ So I think that that's a big thing that he's happy for me right now. And I want him to grow to understand that this is for him. As much as it's a great thing for me to be able to establish that legacy for our family, [I want] to be able to show him that it's absolutely possible with all the things that at times were against me in my life."

Listen to Isis on “1 in 5”

That’s what child care and those that provide care do – they make a thriving future for families possible. We’re sharing a few recent highlights from our partners below, which give a sense of how care – borrowing a phrase from another Ascend Parent Advisor Janine McMahon – is essential to helping us “meet parents where they dream.”

  • “We are a Force to be Reckoned With”: Energizing events across the country on May 8’s #DayWithoutChildCare displayed the talent and expertise of the child care providers that serve our communities – “a force to be reckoned with,” says DC provider Angelique Speight-Marshall. Raising Child Care Fund partner SPACEs in Action DC’s hosted press conference with child care champions. Watch now.
  • Home Grown Pilot Shows Return on Investing in Providers: EdSurge dug into early results from Home Grown’s Thriving Providers Project, which provides direct cash assistance and peer support to home-based care providers. Providers have reported being better able to cover their basic needs and greater housing stability. Read more.
  • Nurturing Safe Learning Environments - Physically and Emotionally: Early educators and care providers are seeing how teaching social emotional learning techniques with toddlers contributes to better learning and behavior down the road. The Hechinger Report looks at how evidence-based resources, trainings and other support – like those from All Our Kin on creating a “cozy corner” for kids who need calm spaces – can help both families and educators. Read More

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Learn More: What We’re learning from Home Grown and All Our Kin

How Home-Based Child Care Providers are Strengthening a Growing Movement for Change