Are you struggling to find appropriate care for your child? Are you or your child in a unique situation that makes it difficult to choose a program that fits your needs? Consuelo Martinez knows how you feel. Consuelo is a first-time mother who reached out to us in early June looking for guidance about choosing an appropriate program for her 2-year-old son. Her son, diagnosed with Down Syndrome, needs specific proper care for healthy development and socialization. Consuelo said, “Although [my son is] non-verbal, he can sign. He can communicate really well when he wants.”
Consuelo moved to Wake County in March. Since her son’s condition places him at high risk for COVID-19, the 2-year-old has been at home with just her the past few months. Consuelo shared, “[One] of our bigger concerns in getting him into [child] care is just for him to socialize with other peers…He gets therapy a couple times a week, so we already have those services. It was more for him to interact with other kids. We’ve noticed he models behavior very well. If he sees another child doing something, he ends up doing it a few minutes later, which, so far, has been good. We really just wanted him to be motivated, and at least now a good chunk of adults are vaccinated, so it just seemed like a safer time for him to go.”
New to the area, the Martinez family knew next to nothing about the various programs available to them. Consuelo shared, “Our vision for him is to be a well-rounded member of the community, which includes everyone.”
Having just moved, and with another baby on the way just a week before their son’s third birthday, the Martinez family had their hands full, including finding child care for their son. When discussing the situation with her son’s Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA) coordinator, Consuelo was referred to Child Care Services Association’s Child Care Referral Central (CCRC) program to help her with the process. Consuelo said her son’s CDSA coordinator told her, “‘there’s this service where you just call them and talk to them, and they help you find child care…’ I was like, ‘seriously? This is what I need.’”
The CCRC program at Child Care Services Association is a regional collaboration dedicated to helping families find affordable, high-quality child care appropriate for their children’s specific needs. CCRC has bilingual child care referral specialists available to help take the guesswork out of choosing care from the vast number of centers in Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Orange, Person, Vance and Wake counties. When you contact CCRC, a specialist will provide information about the types of child care available in your community, educate you on the features of high-quality child care and offer a list of appropriate referrals to child care programs that meet the needs of you and your child/children.
When asked what the most valuable part of the process was, Consuelo said CCRC was a huge time saver. She explained, “For me, it was just time that I didn’t have to do the research…I mean, obviously, I looked at the centers when [my CCRC specialist] sent me the [information], but it was just a load off of me to do all that [research]. The main thing for me was time. Also, it was nice to know that they were already ranked and that [the specialist] explained to me how that worked.”
Consuelo shared that after sending an email to the program, her assigned referral specialist, Kristen Hernandez, called her almost immediately. She said, “We talked for less than half an hour…and then she sent me the results that afternoon…I’m telling you, easy breezy.”
When asked if she would consider using the CCRC referral program when searching for child care for her second child, Consuelo responded, “Yeah. I’ve already referred [CCSA’s Child Care Referral Central] twice.”
Consuelo advised other families who are in unique situations like her own that might be struggling to find appropriate, high-quality care “to definitely reach out to [CCRC] as an option…It’s a good start, at least. It also, for me, brought awareness to different centers that I didn’t know of…that on a Google search doesn’t necessarily pop up.”
You can call 1-855-EARLY-ED (1-855-327-5933) toll-free to speak with a referral specialist during business hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time to request a specialist to reach out to you. Families can also use CCRC’s online referral system to search online on their own time. Learn more about the CCRC program and best practices for finding high-quality child care.