From 4Cs
July 2020
A Note From Our Executive Director
Dear friend of 4Cs,

July around 4Cs of Alameda County usually gives me and 4Cs staff a time to come up for air between the ending of the fiscal year and ramping up for the upcoming school year. A break in trainings and increase in vacations usually means a slower pace around the office as well as a time to evaluate current projects and new program brainstorming and planning. It is no surprise that summer 2020 looks a lot different than usual! While most staff are still working remotely, the end of the June and beginning of July has been one of the busiest at the agency in recent memory.
 
In the last month, we; welcomed new families and child care providers who were previously served by Child, Family, and Community Services; we ended our CalFresh application assistance services; and closed out our free tax and preparation services for the year. We also held many supply distributions and program completion celebrations (be sure to read about many of them below).
 
Our staff has also been incredibly busy welcoming new colleagues to the 4Cs of Alameda County family while maintaining and expanding our virtual programs and services. It is difficult to express how proud I am of our 4Cs of Alameda County staff in facing the challenges of working remotely and almost exclusively virtually with (masked) smiles while maintaining the level of customer service, professionalism, and integrity that 4Cs is known for.
 
Our lives and work are ever-changing as we navigate our way through this pandemic. Most recently we learned that all schools in Alameda County will begin with distance learning this fall. We know that this will have varying impacts on families managing both the educational needs and the child care needs. We would like to identify ways that 4Cs can be most helpful during this time. Please complete 4Cs needs assessment survey HERE by July 31st . While we may not be able to meet every need, we will do what we can to serve and advocate on behalf of families and caregivers.
 
As we continue to work hard to serve you, we hope that you are also safe, healthy, and finding some time to take it easy in the midst of this uncertainty.

Be well,

Renee S. Herzfeld
Executive Director
Resources and News
Samuel Merit Nurses Team Up with Child Care Providers
In June, 4Cs of Alameda County, in collaboration with the Alameda County Emergency Child Care Response team partners, began connecting nursing students from Samuel Merit University with child care providers to provide support as they open their programs to students during the shelter-in-place. The nursing partnership program is a mutually beneficial engagement for students and providers - providers are receiving health information and support while nursing students are fulfilling the clinical rotation requirements to complete their registered nursing program.

The overall goal of this public health initiative is to extend support to child care providers and, in partnership with them, establish protocols and practices to support the health and safety guidelines for COVID-19 recommended by Alameda County Department of Public Health. The student nurses are deployed to both family child care homes and child care centers across Alameda County. This support is provided in person as well as virtually depending on what the provider prefers. 

The county team is now beginning the third cohort group for the nursing partnership.This project is gaining momentum and is a great opportunity for providers within our community during this unprecedented time. The feedback from the child care participants is positive. One provider mentioned that they  "really enjoyed participating in this program and felt it was very successful. We are thankful for this opportunity and feel it improved our ability and confidence for providing a safe, healthy environment". Another shared that the nursing partnership is "a great way to empower centers with hands-on knowledge that their facilities are healthy, safe spaces for children & staff." Click here to sign up to participate if you are a licensed child care site serving children now.
VITA Completes Successful Extended Tax Season
Alicia (second from left) prepares to open the VITA site pre-SIP with volunteers
A note from 4Cs Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Coordinator: VITA at 4Cs would like to thank all of our volunteers for their time and flexibility working remotely in order to help our clients this year. Their willingness to lend their expertise to clients who need free tax preparation and filing support - even when called to extend services by more than two months - shows the true passion and dedication of this incredible team.
This year’s tax season was especially challenging due to having to close our physical site halfway through the tax season due to COVID-19 but 4Cs volunteers donated 500 hours of volunteer time to prepare and file more than 330 tax refunds. These filings resulted in more than $688,000 in tax refunds straight back into the hand of 4Cs VITA clients!

4Cs VITA clients were so thankful that we were able to assist them during this very difficult time.
Many of our clients and families were struggling financially; so for us to be able to help them file their taxes during the shelter-in-place so they could receive their refund was a tremendous service to them and very gratifying to our VITA team. 

This was my first year as the site coordinator and I was so thankful that we were able to help the clients and their families.  From myself, the clients and community of 4Cs, we “THANK YOU” to our superstar VITA volunteers: Arnie, Joe, Susan, Simo, Celine, Phoung, Phu, Armand, Michael, Josephine, Lewis, and Jim.

With gratitude,
Alicia Broussard
4Cs Supports Family, Friend, and Neighbors Providing Care
On July 9th, 4Cs held an educational and health and safety material distribution for Family, Friends, and Neighbors (FFN) caring for little ones during the pandemic. An invitation was sent to license-exempt child care providers receiving child care payment assistance from our payment program. The FFN providers had to register to be able to pick up items. Fifty children received backpacks and twenty providers received materials such as books, games, backpacks, gloves, masks, disinfectant cleaner, and more.
Quality Coaches Support Providers During Shelter-In-Place
4Cs of Alameda County's Quality Counts coaches continue to work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to support Southern Alameda County Child Care providers and programs. 4Cs Quality Coach, Erica Ortiz, coaches both Spanish and English cohorts of providers, virtually meeting every other week since April, and discussing self-care, licensing regulations and implementations, parent handbook changes due to COVID-19, and environment changes due to new health and safety regulations. The groups allow providers to stay connected and support each other by sharing their resources, implementations, and changes they have made to their environment to continue to serve children in their child care programs. Monthly Quality Counts groups/cohorts will meet with Erica's guidance throughout the summer to support these child care providers as they continue to navigate COVID-19 protocols and changes while offering quality child care programs to children and families.

Quality Counts Coach Kavita Malik also continues to support providers as the shelter-in-place remains in effect. Kavita shares that one highlight of her QC work recently took place when she was a special guest in Owner and Director Yinyin Mar's virtual preschool class at Nature’s Gift School in Fremont. Nature's Gift's teachers have been meeting via Zoom with students in their programs since the shelter-in-place began. They meet in two groups – they younger children meet three times a week, and the older group meets five times a week with eight to ten children per group. The Zoom sessions follow much of the curriculum, learning activities, songs, and story time that students receive in the classroom and keep them learning and connected while Kavita works separately with the Site Director to support the school's re-opening.

Quality Counts is a partnership with First 5 of Alameda County. You can find out more about the QC program here.
Census 2020 Chalk Contest Open Now
Registration is now open for the Alameda County Complete Count Committee’s “Chalk 4 Census” contest!

As you may know, the 2020 Census is more than just a 9 question questionnaire, it is the key to our political power and representation. It is the way that we get our fair share of funding for our schools, community programs, and housing. Currently, Alameda County’s response rate is at 69.1% so there are still thousands of people who need to be counted! To learn more about why the Census is so important, check out the Census informational video here .

Chalk 4 Census is a fun opportunity in which we can spread positive messaging and outreach to our own neighborhoods about the Census why it is important. Each packet will include 2-3 chalks with an instruction card for children participating. The Top 5 Winners will receive a $50 gift card! Register now using the form link below and find out more information about how Alameda County is making sure everyone counts at https://www.facebook.com/alamedacountycensus2020/
4Cs Staff Provide Essential Items for HPN Families
On June 26th, Hayward Promise Neighborhoods partners, including 4Cs of Alameda County, California State University East Bay, Alameda Public Health Department, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center, Primary School, and Tandem came together to create and distribute COVID-19 relief boxes. These relief boxes were delivered to families in need within the south Hayward Promise Neighborhoods footprint. With the help of 12 staff and volunteers from different agencies, the team was able to help assemble and distribute these boxes individually to families while practicing social distancing and wearing face masks. In total, relief boxes were delivered to 35 families (this included 40 diaper kits). 

Each family received a box of 120-180 diapers (sizes were requested in advance for their little ones), baby wipes, and resource bag complete with CalFresh information, Census information, a children's book, a parent packet, and a $50 gift card to a local grocery store. Last, but not least, families also received a grocery bag with eggs, milk, potatoes, onions, rice, cereal, and more!

Not only was this was an incredible team effort but the distribution ran safely and smoothly!
Payment Protection Program for Child Care Providers
Has Your Small Child Care Business Been Impacted by COVID-19? Apply Now for Financial Assistance through the Payment Protection Program (PPP)

PPP provides loans to small businesses, including child care providers, to help cover payroll and benefits for employees, as well as overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, and mortgage interest. PPP loans will be forgiven if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses. Learn more about PPP loan forgiveness here. The final deadline to apply is now August 8, 2020, but funds may run out sooner. To apply for a PPP loan, find a participating lender, here. The application form can be found here.
HPN Parent Promise Academy Celebrates Grads
As we navigate these difficult times, 4Cs HPN Department is happy to announce the achievement of its first spring Parent Promise Academy virtual class on June 15, 2020. This program focuses on gathering parents in the community to learn the different stages of children from newborn to eight years old through Abriendo Puertas-Opening Doors curriculum. The program welcomed a new Spanish facilitator who brought experience, energy, and motivation to the Spanish class that had parents generating curiosity to learn more about their children. A virtual pizza party was rewarded as a big thank you to parents for a successful class and we look forward to uniting with future families ready to take the next step in early learning with us. The Parent Promise Academy’s Spanish Fall session details are coming soon. Please call or email HPN Project Supervisor Cynthia Padilla Munoz for more information and eligibility questions at (510) 584-3122 or  cynthiap@4c-alameda.org .
Update on Emergency Child Care Payment Assistance
Since the shelter-in-place began, 4Cs of Alameda County has been covering expenses for essential workers needing child care for their children in Southern Alameda County (you can see the collective work of the entire county on serving these families here ). Registration for emergency child care (ECC) ended effective June 30th, with all families guaranteed a minimum of 60 days and some qualifying for 90 day extensions depending on fund availability. F amilies enrolled in ECC will have priority enrollment into long-term child care if funding is available. 4Cs payment staff have also been hard at work supporting child care providers, with providers still being reimbursed based on certified need or maximum hours of care for variable scheduled families.Providers continue to be reimbursed if the they are open and the child does not attend due to COVID-19 reasons and an attendance sheet is submitted. All family fees were waived for April, May and June to support workers as they return to work, however family fees resumed effective July 1st for all families, including ECC families. Much of this support for families and providers is due to support at the state and county level. Continuing supports for families and child care providers were included in the recently signed California budget (find more information here ). If you are a child care provider or parent and have specific questions about child care provided through 4Cs of Alameda County Child Care Payment Assistance programs, you can find your Specialist's contact information here .