Alameda County Families United CARE
Alameda County Families United CARE is a coalition that sprung into action through the advocacy of parents experiencing homelessness, to secure navigation services and funding for childcare. Their advocacy resonated with Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who funded emergency childcare subsidies. BANANAS, a non-profit childcare resource and referral network serving the diverse families of Northern Alameda County, partnered with Parent Voices Oakland and First 5 Alameda to launch the CARE pilot to provide services to local families and address the unique childcare challenges facing unsheltered families.
CARE is creating a paradigm shift in how families engage with social services and how overlapping social services can better serve those families. Families in crisis often have multiple needs, and when accessing social services they are frequently asked to spend critical time filling out paperwork, retelling their stories or recounting their hardships, and effectively creating their own patchwork of services rather than tapping into one, integrated set of offerings. Working with BANANAS, the cross-sector collaboration created a navigator program with specially trained staff to help families tap into existing social services that they may not be aware of or may be unable to access on their own due to their housing insecurity.
The Hellman Collaborative Change Initiative grant will support CARE in its ongoing pilot of more than 80 families currently in their navigation program. Once families are enrolled and eligible for childcare, CARE continues engagement and services for them for up to 18 months, providing not only critical assistance but also consistency of childcare planning as family needs naturally shift and change.
“People don’t often see homeless families. Frequently, they are hiding in plain sight, just trying to keep their kids safe and ensure they can stay together as a family. If you are in the position of moving around the county all day just looking for a bed for the night, finding childcare you can afford is nearly impossible. Furthermore, trying to access services from various agencies, you can encounter a lot of roadblocks. Our goal is to create a program that isn’t just there to help parents access the services they need, but also to really work side by side with them and be empathetic and identify resources unique to their needs.” Kym Johnson, Executive Director, BANANAS, Inc.
For more information, contact:
Executive Director, BANANAS
(510) 658-7353 | firstname.lastname@example.org@bananasbunch.org