During our planning year in 2011, families and organization partners highlighted the dire need for additional early childhood programs and employment opportunities in Sunset Park. According to NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in 2008, only 17% of income-eligible children received ACS services and 96% of available early childhood slots were filled. Residents also emphasized the need for living wage employment opportunities in the community. With Sunset Park’s growing number of young children and families, we know that early childhood needs and employment challenges are only becoming more acute for residents.
This fall, Sunset Park Promise Neighborhood is pleased to announce an initiative that addresses both of these needs. Lutheran Family Health Centers, Center for Family Life, and the Urban Justice Center are partnering to develop a family day care cooperative. Our goal is to establish a cooperative of at least four family-run, in-home daycare businesses, employing approximately 15 workers and caring for 32-48 children. We are recruiting residents who have expressed a strong interest in early childhood education and starting their own business. Co-op members will take a course in cooperative development, earn their Child Development Associate certification, and open new home-based family day care centers in fall/winter 2014. This project will not only provide new early childhood slots, but also serve as a stepping stone to a career in early childhood education for co-op members.