Written By: Stacie Shurock, Barb Green, Mariann Burton, Carol Heagy, Mariann Vargas, Megan Runk, Lauren Brenneman, and Christy S. Renjilian
Community Services is an umbrella term for the programs offered here at Community Connections for Children, Inc.—the services that support (and fuel!) the entire community.
Each program ensures that all families and children have what they need to be successful in school and life. These programs connect families to needed services, provide supportive and nurturing relationships to promote family wellbeing, and make our communities a better place.
And they are responsive to individual questions and needs.
Community services are much-needed, and they meet each family where they are…
- They help families find child care and provide information on how to select the best care possible for their child.
- They provide connections between families experiencing food insecurity, homelessness, or domestic violence with the agencies that assist with those needs.
- They help families who may be facing challenges related to a difficult pregnancy, concerns about how their child is developing, or a need for some support in improving their communication and parenting skills.
- And they even help employers find and retain workers, an in-demand service during the past two years.
An example of a Community Service at Community Connections for Children, Inc. is the partnership with the START program to support individuals who are struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues. Core to our mission is support like this, providing access to needed services and making our communities better.
Community services are for all people. Anyone—family or child care provider—that lives in the Community Connections for Children, Inc. service area can connect with and utilize the programs, regardless of income. We serve Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York counties.
Community Services Offered by Community Connections for Children, Inc
Resource & Referral Services
First up is Resource & Referral (R&R) Services. The referral service is for families, employers, community organizations, and school districts. It’s a detailed child care listing service, customized to each family’s specific needs. It is compiled at the request of the family by R&R Specialists.
And our Specialists have access to many community services that they often refer to families, making sure that each family has the right tools and information to make the best decision for their child.
The R&R program helps parents and guardians find childcare so they can work, become self-sufficient, and remain productive members of their community. And it provides peace of mind that their child is being taken care of in a quality early learning environment.
Imagine having child care and resource questions and concerns, as a new parent, and not knowing where to turn. That’s where our office comes in. The R&R staff help by providing information on choosing quality child care.
And families are very grateful for that information and someone to listen to them in their time of need. They’re relieved to have an organization they can rely on.
And note, there is no approval or application process to receive Resource & Referral services. Any individual living in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, or York County, at any economic level, can call the office for support.
Learn more about how Community Connections for Children is the resource hub for children, up to age 12.
Pennsylvania Statewide Help Line
Did you know that Community Connections for Children staffs the Pennsylvania Statewide Help Line?
We employ specialized staff, trained to assist individuals with questions related to children and families. In the past year, the HelpLine Specialist responded to over 6,900 calls requesting information.
Pennsylvania’s CONNECT Helpline at 1-800-692-7288 for information about your child’s development and connecting to Early Intervention services in Pennsylvania.
Child Care Works Helpline at 1-877-4PAKIDS (1-877-472-5437) for information about finding, paying for, and other concerns related to child care.
Child and Adult Care Food Program
Community Connections for Children, Inc. also offers the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). It helps child care providers serve nutritious meals that meet USDA guidelines to the children in their care.
And it provides partial reimbursement to child care providers for serving nutritious meals and snacks. It’s important for children to learn healthy eating habits early in life, and this Community Service helps ensure children have access to healthy foods to support their development.
The child care providers who are part of the CACFP feel supported and educated about serving nutritious foods. The reimbursement ensures that they will be able to continue to provide meals and snacks that nourish the children in their care.
If you’re a certified child care provider interested in joining the program, you will first need to fill out an application. Once approved, you’ll receive mandated training and complete required PDE paperwork regarding the meals you serve to the children in attendance at your program.
You’ll also need to sign an agreement and follow the regulations set forth by the USDA to participate and receive reimbursement.
Learn more about the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Child Care Recruitment and Support Services
As a United Way of York County Partner agency, Community Connections for Children, Inc. helps individuals become Department of Human Services (DHS) Certified home-based family providers, provide quality care, and be successful small business owners.
The Child Care Recruitment and Support Services (CCR&SS) program provides technical assistance, professional development, and support to those working to open their own small child care business.
We know that in-home child care providers are a vital part of the community, and it is important to continue creating programs to serve unmet needs in the community. The CCR&SS program creates jobs and increases the number of child care spots for families. In most counties, family providers are the only ones providing care for non-standard work hours, including second shifts, third shifts and weekends.
It impacts hundreds of families each year. And helps to create strong small business owners, too, the majority of whom are women in the York community.
Our team helps these new entrepreneurs through all the steps of certification, witnessing their transformation into business owners.
And now, we have providers who have been in business for over 20 years, taking care of generations of families. These providers are extremely successful.
Having your own child care business can give you a real sense of purpose—and it’s an essential service, helping support families in your community. Providers are extremely proud of the businesses they create and maintain. They create a safe space for children to attend while their parents work. Parents feel accomplished because they are succeeding at maintaining
employment and supporting their families.
Persons that are interested in opening a DHS Certified home-based family child care program and live in York County can enroll for free.
Persons must be over the age of 18, have a GED or High School diploma, and pass required DHS clearances to operate a program. There are no fees for the training, coaching, mentoring, and resources that we provide.
Learn more about opening a home-based family child care program.
Parents as Teachers Program
Next up is the Parents as Teachers Program (PAT). It’s an evidence-based home visitation program for York County families that provides support from prenatal through kindergarten.
PAT is a free learning opportunity that equips parents and caregivers as the most important teacher in their child(ren)’s life through home visits by a Parent Educator.
It is open to any family living in York County. It focuses on parent/child activities, developmental parenting, and family well-being.
PAT provides parents with a variety of resources and connections to other agencies who can help them with issues specific to their family, themselves, and/or their children. Like accessing resources to address their child’s mental health needs or connecting the parent with employment information.
And our trained professional are good listeners, too. Parenting is hard. And sometimes caregivers can feel lonely—especially when extended family lives outside the area. Knowing someone is coming to see them, even if just to listen and talk with, is so important. And it builds confidence along the way.
Sometimes parents can feel uncertain about a decision or parenting philosophy. These feelings can impact their relationship with their child and also affect how they parent. And it can bring up many feelings the caregiver has about his/her own parents and experiences. Often, it’s conversations like these, without judgment, that happen in the PAT program.
To enroll, you must be expecting or have a child three or younger. Families can receive services for their child(ren) through kindergarten. And it’s for anyone who is raising a child, including single parents (fathers or mothers), grandparents, or extended family.
There is no cost for any of the home visits, group connections sessions, or for the books and materials provided to the families participating in PAT.
Learn more about the Parents as Teachers program by calling CCC at 1-800-864-4925.
What Community Leaders Need to Know
Providing community services—services that have a real impact on the lives of families and children—is a vital part of what we do at Community Connections for Children, Inc.
We are a trusted partner and resource. CCC serves as a clearinghouse of information about quality child care providers, healthy food options, starting an in-home child care business, parenting support, and referrals for families looking for help with their child.
Based on our collective experience, we know that it’s imperative that public and private funds continue to support families to provide the best care and start in life for their young children.
The first five years are the most critical in terms of brain development, socio-emotional development, and wellness. And if we, as a community, can improve the first five years of each child’s life, we can save funds related to special education, truancy, juvenile delinquency, and high school dropouts.
We help children become more prepared and successful in school. And then there’s the long-term economic impact too, having a positive effect on workplace productivity, mental wellbeing, and overall community health.
Continuing to fund early child care is essential so that parents can afford to work and take care of their families. Funding for early learning childcare providers helps the providers continue to improve the level of quality and services that they provide to the children—our most precious resource.
We invite you to lift up the early child care industry with us and ensure all families have access to affordable, high quality child care choices.
About Community Connections for Children, Inc.
Community Connections for Children, Inc. (CCC) is a nonprofit centered in the heart of Pennsylvania. They serve childcare providers and low-income families ‒ the ones that have been impacted the most by the pandemic.
For you and your business, CCC helps keep childcare options open for your employees ‒ saving missed work hours and lowering on-the-job stress levels. They work with early childhood education programs and home-based providers to improve the quality of care, ensuring that all children enter school ready to be successful.
Christy Renjilian serves as its Executive Director. Stacie Shurock serves as its Community Services Manager.
To learn more, visit childcareconsultants.org.