The social and economic success of parents and their children is largely dictated by how accessible quality early child care and community services are.
We teamed up with Brooklyn-based child care center Shirley Chisholm DCC to help make community-based services more accessible and build strong programming for families and their children. The center has served thousands of families and has been in the community for over 45 years.
Our first thought was to install an after school program that targeted nearby middle school and high school kids. But we quickly found that this proposal was doomed due to a lack of need from our young-parent demographic.
Instead, we began forming strategic partnerships between the center and nearby service providers. Then the information was centralized so the administration from all of the centers knew where to find information about partner services. This increased the ability for the leadership at each site to accommodate the needs of the families they served - information could be amplified out to the families via text or email. Information could also be shared between their centers and local organizations could deliver their services better.
A centralized platform for services opens the door up to more opportunities for long term community-growth because it gives parents (who are particularly in need of support from the community) the chance to make better decisions as their child develops. If people can't locate resources and services in the surrounding community, they can't use them.
Essentially, the child care center facilitated family engagement by creating a bridge between the neighborhood and the center using technology.
This is a community-centric model for child care that can increase family and community success: not only will children grow up with more engaged parents, but the community as a whole will benefit because of the added social value from better access to local resources.
What's the data say?
We assessed over 400 parents, service providers, and community members on the perceived community health, service accessibility, and individual need (transportation, child care, english workshops and more).
Nearly 51% of parents assessed required funding, child care or other services in order to begin or complete college. This particular barrier to adult education is a stalwart to achieving social mobility because it forces underserved communities even further away from the job market.
In fact, this phenomena drives the transgenerational transmission of poverty - many children born in low-income households experience more difficulty moving out of their social strata.
Our solution to these pressing issues surrounding gaps in accessibility to quality education, early child care and community services, is to promulgate the use of nearby community resources using technology. And more specifically, using that technology to leverage the success of parents.