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I'm going back to work in a few weeks and I'm looking for care for my baby," the caller told the agency counselor. "We live in Santa Clarita. Can you help me find someone to watch her? "
Best known as the home of Magic Mountain, Santa Clarita, California has become an increasingly popular place to raise a family. The warm air and spacious surroundings are a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, where many of Santa Clarita's residents work. According to the 1990 census, Santa Clarita was the 8th fastest growing city in the country. A new light rail system that feeds directly into Los Angeles and facilitates access to that city is expected to foster Santa Clarita's pattern of growth for several years.
When Pat Shaw and her family moved to Santa Clarita, they were looking forward to affordable real estate prices and a calmer pace of life. What Pat Shaw had not anticipated was the difficulty in finding child care for her infant.
Lisa Miller, a referral counselor for the Child Care Resource Center, a resource and referral agency serving the San Fernando Valley, handled Ms. Shaw's telephone call to her agency. Her response was identical to the one she had given many other parents. There were few spaces in infant centers in Santa Clarita and fewer family day care homes within the city. Child care openings were scarce.
As Santa Clarita continues to grow, the number of families needing child care is expected to increase significantly. Yet the immediate resources necessary to expand the supply of child care are not readily available.
In other regions of California, however, the Child Care Initiative Project, an innovative public/private partnership designed to build the supply of child care throughout the state, has achieved remarkable success in recruiting and training providers and boosting the number of child care spaces.
The Child Care Resource Center applied to the California Child Care Initiative Project for funding to launch a family day care provider recruitment and training project. Using that funding and the assistance of other contributors, the Child Care Resource Center embarked on a project that resulted in 119 new family day care providers and 400 new …