Feat. Monica Jackson

Q: Monica, why do you believe it is important for child care providers to join a local child care professional association?

A:  As a family childcare provider, get involved in a child care professional association and make a difference. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself, families, and the community. The difference starts with you.  Do it and you will see the difference you can make in your community. Whether you are interested in strengthening your network, furthering your career or maybe you are just in need of access to other family child care providers, membership in a professional association/organization offers an array of personal and professional benefits, access to information (to make informed decisions), involvement, and advocacy.

A professional association, body, organization, or society is usually an organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest.

The work of family child care providers is a work that is impacted by the public’s interest; a work also of importance to the economy and community. Communities work because child care providers are at work. Parents and others depend on child care in order to work and care for their families. While parents are at work, family child care providers build a strong learning foundation for their children’s education and success in school and life!

Every day, millions of families rely on childcare. The National Association of Family Child Care (NAFCC) is the only professional organization dedicated to promoting high quality early childhood experiences in family child care programs.  Join an association and get involved! It is through the work of local associations within the service communities that we are able to make a difference.

The purpose of this article is to make a push for your involvement and to personally thank you for your support as it relates to child care related regulatory issues. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of us as family child care providers to stay informed and in touch, if not for any other reason than to address regulatory and legislative issues that affect us all. Recall the formation of our advocacy group to address regulatory and zoning issues. We also projected the need to stay diligent because of foreseen regulatory changes in 2016. Those changes as outlined in the publication “Understanding Recent Changes to Federal and State Laws for Family ChildCare Providers in Fairfax County are before us at this time. Find out how these changes will affect you, your families, and your business ahead of time makes a difference in the success of your business.

It’s is so very important to be informed on trends in state and federal legislation, regulations, and funding. Any small change will make a big impact on your business and earning potential.  Membership in a progressive professional association makes the difference in knowing what is current, what is to come, and how to prepare for change. Knowledge is powerful. It is not just knowledge that is power, but the right knowledge.  Knowledge can be powerful when it is put into action. Are you willing to apply your knowledge and talent to advance your profession and work?

In addition to providing information about the child care profession, regulatory, and legislative issues, active membership in a local, state, or national professional association enhances your personal and professional development. An association membership offers professional growth opportunities, networking with other providers, knowledge of the latest updates and developments whether it is research, or legislative issues at the local, state or federal level, best practices and educational training! Most importantly, membership offers representation and advocacy opportunities in local, state, and federal policy making and advocacy on behalf of self, children, working families, and others. Thank you for your continued work, support, and commitment for all that you do in and for your communities.

Monica Jackson is a state licensed family childcare provider, Fairfax Child Care Advisory Council Chairman, and past president of the Virginia Alliance of Family Child Care Associations. Monica is well known at the local and national level for her passionate work with family child care providers and her strong push for providers having a voice on issues that effect family child care providers, families, and young children.