Caring for Our Children

Bright Beginnings Advocacy, Community

Friends, Family, Neighbors Are At the Heart of Caregiving

Family, friends, and neighbors are at the heart of child care for most families, and even more so since the pandemic started. These caregivers are usually familiar with the family culture, speak the same home language, live nearby, and have flexible schedules. These are nurturing places where siblings and the caregiver’s children can play and grow together. Often gratitude and smiling faces are the primary compensation for this vital role.

Several Bright Beginnings partners work with family, friends, and neighbor caregivers: In Salinas, Go Kids and First 5 Monterey County offer a peer network, reflective practice, and ways to learn how to foster early childhood development to about 80 caregivers. In Gonzales and Greenfield, CAPSLO and United Way offer a peer network, with playgroups of other resources, to about 10 caregivers — and now growing. United Way received matching grants from the COVID relief fund from the Community Foundation of Monterey County and from the Financial Independence Initiative to expand their network, and to provide caregivers with pandemic-related virtual supports and training, and cash stipends.