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Fifteen Spanish-speaking Latina immigrants with more than 160 years of combined professional experience providing childcare support to family, friends, and neighbors (FFN’s) in their communities have allied as changemakers working to increase childcare services availability in Weld and Larimer counties.
Known jointly as the FAVAS (Spanish: familias, amigo y vecinos apoyándose/families, friends, and neighbors supporting each other to provide care), the group is the first Colorado-based cohort of its type to “graduate” from a social justice-based course of study that required them to complete more than 110-hours of intensive training in culturally-affirming, developmentally-sound, and economically just, home-based childcare services program.
The crowd broke out in applause at the group’s graduation held May 6 at the Agave Room in Fort Collins, when Dr. Janina Fariñas, CEO & Founder of La Cocina (www.lacocinahome.org), urged the FAVAS and their guests to, “never underestimate the combined change-making power and potential of 15-Latinas, whose capacity to deliver direct childcare services alone, will impact the lives of at least 100 Larimer and Weld county families!”
In addition to Dr. Fariñas’ speech, the FAVAS recognition event proudly displayed the group’s ¡Somos las FAVAS! Quilt a collage of 15- hand-made blankets which tell the FAVAS’ stories of their journey over nine months of capacity-building activities.
The ¡Somos FAVAS! Capacity building program for Spanish-speaking childcare providers was created two years ago by La Cocina and a group of Latine home-based childcare providers when the community mental healthcare agency’s clinical staff noted that Spanish-speaking childcare providers were seeking group and individual social-emotional support to deal with the stressors associated with their work, and with the lack of training and support available to them in Spanish.
Since then, La Cocina has supported 47 Spanish-speaking, home-based childcare providers. The agency formally launched its intensive capacity building program in August of 2022, when it enrolled the 15-FAVAS recognized at the May 6 ceremony.
According to the Colorado Health Institute (November 2022; https://bit.ly/3B8L9et), a staggering 28.9% of black and brown families living in Colorado struggle to find affordable childcare services, a statistic that results in significant loss of wages and professional opportunities, which impacts families’ social, emotional, and physical health (2022).