STUART — Communities Connected for Kids is proud to announce a new partnership with the Treasure Coast YMCA.
The organization has agreed to put foster families at the top of its waiting list for daycare spots, significantly reducing one of CCKids’ greatest barriers to placing children into foster homes.
“One of the biggest challenges we have is finding spots for children,” said Denise Natalizio, CCKids’ Martin County Director. “The fact that we have a provider who will put children at the top of the waiting list is incredibly valuable.”
Natalizio said that daycare - or delayed access to it - has been a barrier to placement. Foster parents who work and who would otherwise take in a young child may decline placement requests because of the difficulty in finding daycare.
Robert Griggs, YMCA Treasure Coast Associate Executive Director of Grants and Childcare Compliance, is responsible for the changes.
Griggs, who has experience as a kinship caregiver, said the YMCA recognizes the important work of foster families in strengthening the community through youth development and agreed to partner with CCKids for two reasons:
“Formal childcare settings support the healthy development of children in trauma and allow more eyes on the child to better ensure safety,” Griggs said. “And being a foster parent is hard; we want to help make it easy for foster parents to keep going.
“There are too many children in need of loving homes, and we want to help keep those loving homes available.”
The YMCA also has agreed to take children in foster care at a rate equal to those reimbursed by the Early Learning Coalition, which supplements childcare expenses for low-income families, as well as foster families.
In the past, any difference between ELC’s reimbursement rate and tuition was incurred by the family. Those out-of-pocket costs were significantly reduced for all CCKids caregivers beginning July 1 of this year, after Senate Bill 7034 was signed into law implementing childcare subsidies for eligible families.
Caregivers who need childcare can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 772-204-3969 for more information.
The mission of Communities Connected for Kids is to enhance the safety, permanency and well-being for all children in Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast through a community network of family support services.