Family Services /

B4Kids

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Businesses 4 Kids is a regional initiative that brings businesses, child care providers, and foundations together with a shared commitment to supporting children and families during the critical early years of development. Established in 2011 and formally recognized as “Enhanced Referrals”, this initiative acknowledges that the earliest years of a child's life lay the foundation for their future health, well-being, and success. It aims to help parents balance work and family responsibilities while ensuring their children can access nurturing, stimulating early learning environments.

Through Businesses 4 Kids, chambers, companies, organizations, and foundations pledge to adopt family-friendly policies, such as paid parental leave, child care pay to offset the cost, on-site child care, expansion of home-based child care, and/or flexible work arrangements to meet the needs of families and local businesses. The goal is to remove some of the stress and logistical challenges working parents face to allow them more quality time with their young children.

By mobilizing the business community around supporting families with young children, Businesses 4 Kids helps strengthen the entire regional workforce and economy. Employees with stable, quality child care arrangements are more focused and productive at work. Children who receive nurturing early learning experiences are better prepared to succeed in school and beyond. Employers experience greater workforce stability and fewer days off work due to child care challenges. The initiative recognizes that support in the earliest years provides benefits that ripple throughout communities for years to come.

Business 4 Kids Family-Friendly Best Practices:

Allowing flexible schedules and remote work options
Providing emergency backup childcare assistance
Organizing family-oriented company events and activities
Ensuring adequate paid time off
Training managers to demonstrate empathy and flexibility with employees' family needs.
Flexibility for employees who need to attend school events and care for sick children

Child Care Pay to Offset the Cost

An innovative way to support working parents and retain talented staff. Rather than directly reimbursing employees for child care expenses, which can create tax implications, the employer contributes to Children's Resource & Referral (CRR). This non-profit organization specializes in child care assistance programs. CRR sets up individual child care spending accounts for each participating employee. The funds in these accounts can only be used to reimburse licensed child care providers the employee chooses for their children. CRR then verifies that the provider is licensed and in good standing with community care licensing and issues reimbursement checks directly to the provider, up to the amount available in the employee's child care account. This model allows employees to choose the child care that makes the most sense for their family while also giving employers confidence that the funds are used appropriately. It's an innovative way to support working parents in a meaningful way that helps attract and retain talented employees. The non-profit acts as a trusted intermediary to facilitate and simplify the transactions for both employers and employees.

Expansion of Home-based Child Care

Businesses have a unique opportunity to support the increased capacity of child care spaces in their community by investing in expanding home-based child care options through the Children’s Resource and Referral (CRR) agency's expansion project. The lack of adequate child care spaces is a significant challenge for working parents across the county, with waitlists often months or years long. This directly impacts businesses whose employees struggle to find care for their children. Home-based child care providers are a critical part of the solution, as they offer small, intimate environments in home settings. However, many lack the funds and resources to serve more children. 

By contributing funds to CRR's expansion project, businesses can enable these small providers to take on additional children by assisting with licensing, materials, and even physical space expansions like adding modular buildings. CRR provides training, support, and oversight to ensure quality care. Investing in home-based expansion is wise for businesses looking to support working parents, strengthen the local economy, and build goodwill in the community. Employees with secure child care are more focused, productive, and loyal.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements are becoming increasingly important for both families and local businesses. Flexible options like telecommuting, compressed work weeks, job sharing, and flexible hours allow parents to manage their work and home responsibilities better. Overall, flexible work options create a win-win situation for families seeking balance and local businesses seeking to meet customer needs and provide schedule options that appeal to talented workers. The modern workforce and family require rethinking rigid 9 to 5 schedules, and flexible arrangements offer an updated approach to meeting the needs of today's workers and businesses.
Funded by the California Department of Social Services Child Care and Development Division and through local grants.
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