San Diego Child Care Providers are a diverse group of individuals, and they are united in that they provide a critical essential service to families throughout our county. These families utilizing child care programs include resource families, caregivers who provides out-of-home care for children in foster care. The YMCA Foster Care Bridge program, together with San Diego counties Health and Human Services Child Welfare System, provides a much needed resource to bridge together the foster care community and the child care community.
The Bridge Program was enacted through Senate Bill (SB) 89 to reduce child barriers for children and parenting youth in the foster care system, their caregiver’s families, and non-minor dependent parents. The goals of the Bridge program are to
- increase the number if successful home-based family care settings for children in foster care,
- increase placement stability,
- increase the capacity of child care programs to meet the needs of children in foster care, and
- maximize funding to support the child care needs of eligible families.
By providing enhanced Navigator services, resource families are provided referrals for child care that can meet their unique needs. Through Trauma informed care training offerings and coaching support, child care providers are then trained and supported to learn about the effects of trauma and to help build capacity for working with children who have experienced trauma.
Our Trauma Informed Care (TIC) is a treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma, which can result from physical and emotional abuse, neglect and deprivation, toxic stress, poverty, violence, accidents, and disasters.
Child care providers with TIC training are able to identify signs of childhood trauma and support the child’s needs. This includes helping children regulate their emotions, creating predictable routines, and using effective behavior management strategies.
Through this program, San Diego County child care providers not only have access to be equipped to help children cope with the effects of trauma, but early intervention also mitigates the long-term effects on children’s lives and the system.
HEAR FROM RESOURCE PARENTS
In Nov 2020, we asked one of our Resource Parents to testify on behalf of the Emergency Foster Care Bridge program at The Senate Human Services Committee. This informational hearing was regarding the COVID impact on foster care and we were asked to testify as to the importance of stable and quality child care for children whom have experienced trauma. In preparation for this hearing, this resource parent asked the resource parent community the following question: “ People who have benefited from The Foster Care Bridge Program... can tell me about your experiences and if they did NOT offer you child care right away, would you have taken placement of your foster child? These were some the resource parent community responses as well as social worker responses.
“Yes! It was huge for us! We took a set of 3 siblings during the pandemic ad head start isn’t open so we would have spent out whole stipend and more on child care absent The Bridge program. They found us a great small in home daycare that we felt comfortable with even with covid!”- LG
“ The Bridge program is WHY I take placements. If it was not for Bridge, as two working parents we would not be able to take a placement like ever. They are amazing and such an amazing program for foster parents!” –RV
“ Huge Huge help for us… My husband and I don’t have family here and having child care within a few weeks was a blessing! I don’t think we would be able to take another child without child care either. We work. We love the preschool age and having preschool is essential” –DB
“The Bridge program allows us to place children with their relatives that are working and in need of child care. It also provides the assistance to foster homes that otherwise would not be able to take the children in due to their limited incomes. The Bridge does an amazing job of getting the subsidy set up in a very short period of time to accommodate our caregivers. The Bridge program plays a major role in providing stability to the children we serve! Thanks! - Social Worker Child Welfare Services
“The Bridge programs is a huge support for resource families and relative caregiver; most of our families work full time and without the support from the Bridge program, they might not have been able to take placement of our children. Having the support from the program helps us with placement stability and in some cases permanency. Staff from the Bridge program are quick at processing the referrals, flexible with our clients and committed to offer excellent customer services.” - Social worker Child Welfare Services
By bringing together the adults that care for some of our most vulnerable children, resource parents and child care providers alike are partnering to address the many needs of children in foster care. By providing stability, permanency, and a trauma informed care lens the Bridge program is building the adult capacity of those providing critical care. If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to Lodia Ruiz, Social Service Program Director of Foster Care Bridge.