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In English: We Work for the children

We work for the childrenbecause children are the ones that know how to lovebecause children are the hope of the world José Martí

Today I will write about two organizations that work for the children of our community: Child Development Resources (CDR) and Child Family Connection (CFC). The first is a private nonprofit agency that opens its doors to all expectant parents with questions about the pregnancy and their future child and to all families that have questions or concerns about their children of up to 3 years of age.

Tiffany Callis is a registered nurse that works with Hispanic families. She explained that you just have to call 757-566-1300 to access the services of CDR. Either a Spanish-speaking person will answer the phone or you will hear a Spanish language recording where you can leave your contact information for a return call. A consultant from CDR will answer your questions and will describe the services that are available to help you. You can request an initial home visit and developmental screening of your child by a family consultant.

If required, and if you agree, additional visits can be scheduled to provide developmental play for the children and health education for the parents. Also, once a month, there are play sessions for Hispanic families at the CDR building in Norge. A specialist supervises the play that takes place in a high quality environment. While the children play the parents meet to talk about topics that they have previously suggested such as child development, community resources, and health topics. Jennifer Bickham Méndez, a sociology professor at the College of William and Mary that volunteers her time, facilitates the meetings. CDR brings the families that are registered in the program to the campus and later takes them home.

Aurora Olvera Barbosa and her daughter Evelyn attend the developmental play sessions regularly. Mrs. Olvera and her husband Armando Martín Bautista spoke to me at their home about their experience at CDR. They contacted the organization in 2002. There they learned about Olde Towne Medical Center for medical services, the WIC program for expectant women and children, and the Rita Welsh Adult Literacy Program to learn English. They also received an initial home visit by a consultant. They attend the supervised play sessions and parents meetings. Their experience with CDR has been very positive.

Lisa Thomas, deputy director of CDR explained that the organization would like to expand their services to Spanish-speaking families, but is limited by the lack of bilingual employees and volunteers. With the help of several additional volunteers they could increase the frequency of the supervised developmental playgroups for Hispanic children. Also, CDR has two openings for full-time employment that it has not been able to fill and is searching for bilingual candidates. Other requirements for the positions are to have a BA in Early Childhood Development, or equivalent, and to have 3 to 5 years of home visiting experience.

Ms. Thomas insisted that CDR is the place for infants and toddlers in our community. Most of the services are available to all children up to age 3 and many of them are offered at no cost to the family.

Child and Family Connection

This nonprofit organization helps families find high quality childcare. CFC director Mary Minor explained that they offer a free resource and referral service of individuals and organizations that are licensed to provide childcare. They also educate their users on how to identify if the care that is being offered is indeed of high quality.

CFC also offers professional training for individuals and organizations that provide childcare. Ms. Minor told me that the persons offering childcare from their homes in our community have a level of education and training that is comparable to that of childcare institutions. She also explained that there are no Spanish-speaking families that provide childcare in her registry and that there is a need for this, particularly during evenings, nights and weekends. This would be useful service to the community that at same time could contribute to the provider's family income.

CFC offers technical assistance to persons that are interested in providing childcare and also offers emergency financial assistance to low-income families that use childcare services and are unexpectedly faced with medical issues or a reduction in work hours. CFC also helps in obtaining health insurance for children and offers counseling for children with behavioral or mental health concerns. These services are offered free of charge or at a reduced cost for low-income families.

To access CFC you just need to call 757-229-7940. The person taking the call does not speak Spanish. The services of CDR and CFC are available to residents Williamsburg, Poquoson, James City County and York County.

Child Development Resources:

757-566-1300 (will answer in Spanish)

Hours of Operation Monday through Friday9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

Child and Family Connection

757-229-7940 (will answer in English)

Hours of Operation Monday through Friday9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

Dr. Ralph Romero is Managing Partner of ExactLingua, L.L.C. that offers translation and interpretation in all language combinations and is located in Williamsburg. He can be reached at rromero@exactlingua.com.

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