4C Collaborates to Promote Upward Mobility of Single Moms

November 13, 2017


Single mothers have many tasks to juggle each day as they work to provide for their children. But one essential task—advancing their early childhood education career to gain full-time employment—has been made easier through a collaborative effort among 4C for Children, Brighton Center, Children, Inc. and Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission (NKCAC) Head Start.

Through the Integrated CDA Program, Northern Kentucky unemployed or underemployed single mothers who have children under the age of 8 have the opportunity to attend training and earn hours toward a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. The women also receive a stipend and quality child care for their children.

Participants are placed on the fast track to securing long term, full-time employment and earning higher wages. The typical 4C CDA preparation course runs for 12 months. Thanks to this accelerated program participants can now complete the CDA coursework over a period of 15 weeks—a creative fix that 4C helped drive.

“It is essential for early childhood professionals to have training around best practices in early education and care,” says Andrea Heil, 4C quality programs coordinator. “Having a CDA credential is one of the best ways to show they have an understanding of the foundation of early childhood.”

But it’s not easy to earn. CDA candidates are required to log 480 hours working in a child care program and receive 120 hours of documented training. “This can be overwhelming for anyone,” Andrea says, “but it is definitely a struggle for a single parent.”

Overcoming barriers
One of the biggest barriers to sustaining employment is access to quality, affordable child care. Bright Days, Children, Inc., Scholar House and NKCAC Head Start provides space where participants’ children are cared for. Participants also complete the required hours working in a child care program at these sites. “Knowing your child is in a safe environment when you are working is a vital support for parents,” Andrea says.

On their way
Nine participants completed the program in early September. Of those nine, seven have received full-time job placement. A new class begins soon and the goal is to recruit more participants than the pilot program.

“We are so inspired by the dedication these women are showing as they make better lives for their families,” Andrea says. “We’re also grateful to be able to walk with them on this journey with our many partners. Without this type of community support, this program would not be possible.”