Written by Amy Andrews
You may not be familiar with the name Child Care Resources Inc. (CCRI), but the organization has been a tireless force serving children and families in the Charlotte region for nearly forty years. Their singular mission? To provide access to high quality, affordable early learning and school-age opportunities for all children and workforce and child care program capacity building.
According to CCRI, all the research tells us that what happens in the first three years of a child’s life has a profound and lasting impact well into adulthood. Yet, families are struggling with the cost of quality child care that averages more than $12,000 a year, which is nearly double the cost of in-state tuition at UNC-Charlotte. At minimum wage, that means that 84% of a single parent’s income would be consumed by child care. Enter CCRI.
CCRI serves thousands of children and families a year, helping provide access to and financial support for the best quality child care for their individual needs, as well as educating parents and the child care workforce and advocating for changes to the system to address the gap between family budgets and continually increasing child care costs.
According to CEO Janet Singerman, “The most significant challenge to Child Care Resources’ work is an underfinanced child care system. Parents tend to be in their early earning years when children are in their early learning years.” She added, “tight family budgets for housing, food, and other critical expenses must stretch even farther to cover the cost of child care, putting families in a financial squeeze.”
Advocacy and awareness is turning the tide in meaningful ways, such as the $20 million dollar increase in subsidy announced this year to support early care and education for families with children ages birth to five in Mecklenburg County. But the need is great and there are still almost 3,000 children on the waiting list.
Looking for ways to support CCRI and help families afford high-quality early learning opportunities that will help their children succeed in school and life? Donations are a fantastic way to directly support CCRI’s efforts. Funds are used to support critical operating needs which make it possible for CCRI to deliver on its mission through training and coaching for child care workers, resources for families, and an array of educational programs. For example, a $250 donation will cover a weekly book bag – with a rotating supply of age-appropriate books – for one child to participate in an early literacy initiative for a year.
Books are also always a welcome donation, or you may support CCRI’s annual May event Little Wonders with your time. You may also consider volunteering at CCRI’s in-house library, or connect with CCRI to volunteer at a partner child care program.