Arranging affordable, quality child care is essential, but very difficult, for most migrant families. “The challenges migrant families face are very complex,” explains EDC’s Sheila Skiffington. “There are language barriers, 9–5 office hours when applying for care, transportation problems, complicated forms to fill out, and fear of government institutions.”
Skiffington and her colleagues at EDC’s Center for Children & Families have examined three areas of concern for these families and their children: what they know about child care services, their ability to access these services, and the extent and nature of collaboration between Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs and state child care systems. Their findings have been published in a report, titled Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and Child Care Partnerships. Designed for state child care leaders, advocates, policymakers, and program administrators, the report presents background literature, describes research findings on partnering efforts, offers four stories of successful collaborations between state child care systems and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, and proposes recommendations.
Child care programs that serve migrant families also face significant staffing challenges. Additionally, programs are now encouraged by the federal government to access and “braid” funding from several sources, including state or county child care subsidy systems and federal Head Start programs. This puts a burden on families and program directors to learn to navigate several complex bureaucracies in order to successfully access needed services and funds.
Originally published on April 1, 2004