SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KEYT) -- The Santa Barbara Library has partnered with Women's Economic Ventures to launch a series of classes in Spanish to help informal caregivers who are interested in starting their own business in the childcare field.
Since the pandemic began, many working families were using a combination of friends, family, and neighbor caregivers to piece together care for their young children before they began school.
Community needs assessments have indicated that there are many informal caregiving arrangements due to the shortage of affordable, licensed childcare.
“Providing high-quality early literacy classes has always been a library goal, and now we are working with community partners to expand our offerings to broaden our reach and impact,” said Library Director Jessica Cadiente. “We’re grateful for the grant funding from the California State Library that allows us to offer these additional services for caregivers, especially in a language accessible to some of our traditionally underserved neighbors.”
Child care provided by relatives, friends, and community members in unlicensed settings makes up a large but often overlooked sector known as family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) care.
These two organizations want to support these burgeoning small business providers as part of an innovative, grant-funded early literacy program that focuses on providing support and building community FFN caregivers.
The series will offer a five-week, free virtual learning opportunity for caregivers on topics of first steps, licensing, resources, marketing strategies, business administration, budgeting, pricing, and creating a business plan.
The session will allow opportunities for caregivers to sharpen their professional skills and succeed in an industry with a well-documented need for growth in Santa Barbara.
SBPL hopes to increase the number of credentialed childcare providers in the county as well as increase the competence and confidence of existing caregivers by offering these classes.
Understanding that not everyone might have the tools and access to join virtual programs, SBPL offers laptops and wifi hotspots that can be checked out to enable this connectivity.
Library cards are available at any SBPL location or van stop upon presentation of a photo ID and are not required for program participation.
Classes will be held virtually on Wednesdays in March from 6:30-8:30 pm.
Participants should take all five classes. Registration is currently open for scheduled classes.