Local organization helping child care centers increase their quality of care

United Way of San Antonio, Bexar County addressing quality of child care need in county by supporting centers through accreditation process

SAN ANTONIO – The nonprofit United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County have been helping 12 local child care centers become accredited for about seven months to help them receive benefits.

“There are financial benefits to the center in being certified and being accredited nationally. And so it is to their best interest to try to get to that level,” said Judy Ratlief, director of education for United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County.

Local nonprofit organization addressing child care issues in Bexar County

United Way is helping child care facilities get accredited through the Texas Rising Star program, which is a voluntary program for providers participating in the Texas Workforce Commission’s subsidized child care program.

Texas Rising Star certified providers exceed the state’s minimum child care licensing standards and in return, the facilities get benefits, which include scholarships, grants and training opportunities.

Deborah Stephenson, director of St. Paul Luthern Child Development Center, said United Way helped her facility get accredited.

“They have helped us attain our accreditation. So their funding is being used to increase the quality of care in the St. Paul Lutheran Child Development Center programming,” Stephenson said.

St. Paul Lutheran Child Development Center is helping 10 centers on the East Side become Texas Rising Star certified.

“We've used that mentoring program here at St. Paul and so we knew we know that it's tried and true because it has helped our staff grow and develop into dynamic teachers in the classroom,” Ratlief said.

According to United Way, only 11% of child development centers in Bexar County are Texas Rising Star certified.

Ratlief said quality child care helps children develop better decision making and interpersonal skills and social-emotional skills.

Before a child care provider can become a Texas Rising Star center, it must meet several certification guidelines.

Those who decide which center gets a certification look at director and staff member qualifications and training, caregiver-child interactions, curriculum, nutrition, indoor and outdoor activities and parent involvement and education.

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