4C for Children has had the benefit of some extra help since last September, thanks to AmeriCorps Public Allies. Public Ally Quratulain Sami has been researching the issue of homelessness, how it affects children in our community and ways families and child care providers can be better supported.
Initially, Quratulain worked to update a list of community resources that 4C specialists use when helping families find child care and that 4C early childhood coaches use in their work with child care providers.
Then, working in collaboration with 4C quality programs staff, Quratulain developed a training for early childhood professionals that explores how homelessness affects children and families, what is appropriate for child care programs to do when addressing this issue with families, and strategies that can be used to connect families in crisis with community resources. So far, 30 early childhood professionals have taken the training and additional sessions are scheduled.
In 2017, 110 families experiencing homelessness were referred to 4C by various community agencies. Through collaboration among these agencies and 4C, families receive help finding a job and lifting themselves out of crisis—neither of which is possible without finding reliable, affordable, safe child care. Having Quratulain in place at 4C over the past 10 months has made it possible for 4C to better serve families experiencing homelessness and child care programs that serve these families.
Public Allies is a national movement committed to advancing a just and equitable society by engaging, activating and developing the leadership of diverse young people to sustain it. Nonprofit organizations and agencies that need to create, improve, or expand their services to meet community needs apply to host an AmeriCorps Ally. Allies have served at organizations focused on youth, education, economic development, health, arts, environment, and other social and community services. Learn more about Public Allies at http://publicallies.org/cincinnati.
Pictured above: Public Ally Quratulain Sami and 4C Quality Programs Team Leader Terri Burch after the first presentation of the “Understanding Homelessness” training.