Jessica Sager is closing the opportunity gap that denies many children nurturing, quality care early in life. By professionalizing the field of home-based child care, she is changing how society values early child care, transforming it into a respected profession, with better-paid providers and broader access to affordable, quality care for parents and children.
Through her organization, “All Our Kin,” Jessica trains, supports, and sustains community child care providers to ensure that children and families have the foundation they need to succeed in school and in life. All Our Kin programs support each segment of the system: child care professionals succeed as business owners; working parents find stable, high-quality care for their children; children gain an educational foundation that lays the groundwork for achievement in school and beyond. Jessica has identified family child care providers as a key asset for improving life outcomes in underserved communities.
Believing that home-based care is a huge, overlooked part of our child care system, Jessica promotes providers as “teachers,” helping them and society view their work as a valued, professional service rather than as “babysitters.” On an individual level, this sense of professionalism empowers caretakers to excel in their work and be more confident economically. On a societal level, viewing family child care providers as professionals means compensating them appropriately, supporting them, and involving them in policy discussions.
Beginning in Connecticut, Jessica and All Our Kin use their research to demonstrate the tangible effects of quality early child care and change systems at federal, state and local levels. The Office of Child Care under the Obama administration hailed All Our Kin’s model as an example of how supportive systems and partnerships lead to quality family child care. And in New York City, where 70% of children are in home-based child care, All Our Kin is partnering with the Department of Education to use their model and design a city-wide system for the approximately 7,000 registered providers in the city. All Our Kin also trains mayors and community leaders across the country on how to best create support systems for providers, children and families.
Jessica' s story appears in the 2018 edition of "Leading Social Entrepreneurs" which features a selection of just a few of the Ashoka Fellows recently brought into the largest global network of social entrepreneurs. The LSE presents some of the newest innovations by leading social entrepreneurs whose ideas are changing the way things are done all over the world.
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