Parents now have a choice in Spanish |

Parents now have a choice in Spanish

by Jill Darby

Choices For Children held a graduation ceremony Wednesday for 12 Hispanic women on their way to becoming licensed child-care providers.

Trainers believe these women will help fill a growing need in Tahoe.

Many working parents at South Shore take their children to home-based day-care facilities. But for some families, a language barrier makes it difficult to find reliable licensed child care.

With a growing Hispanic community, Choices For Children recognized the importance of training Spanish-speaking child-care providers.

Choices For Children is funded by the Child Care Initiative Project and California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. It has a new program for Hispanics who do not speak English and are interested in opening a child-care service in their home.

“It’s a great program,” said Susie Stich, a bilingual resource and referral specialist at Choices For Children. “I had 19 people show up. One woman walked two miles in the dark to get to class.”

The 10-week program, “Four Steps to a Profession,” or “Cuatro Pasos A Una Profesin,” was free.

The first step, “You,” focuses on what the provider can offer.

The second step, “Our Children,” looks at changes within the family, single parenthood and how to provide children with emotional support.

Step 3, “Our Family,” discusses the impacts of day care. “It really affects the privacy of the family,” Stich said.

The final step is “Your Business.” It covers pay scales and other necessary business information.

The women also were certified in pediatric CPR and pediatric first aid.

“(Fire Captain) Joe McKenna from the (South Lake Tahoe) Fire Department did most of the CPR class,” Stich said. “He said it was the first time he’d ever given a CPR class in Spanish.”

The 12 graduates will operate as fully licensed child-care providers, Stich said.

“After the graduation they get a visit from the licensing analyst. Then they’ll get their license,” she said.

Adam Aguilara, from the California Department of Social Services, handles Community Care licensing in the region.

“The idea is to offer quality care for all children,” Stich said. “We also teach them how to entertain the children and incorporate developmentally appropriate activities – arts and crafts, that sort of thing.”

Four Steps to a Profession requires child-care providers to comply with the safety regulations under Title 22.

“Title 22 is what they have to adhere to,” Stich said. “For example, their water heater has to be below 105 degrees so nobody burns their hands. They have to have gates at the top and bottom of all staircases, things like that.

“They have to go through so many hoops and loops to get their license.”

This will be the first time South Shore will be able to offer purely Spanish-speaking, licensed child-care providers, which Stich said will be very helpful for the Hispanic community.

“There won’t be a language barrier and (parents) will know that they’re licensed.”

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