I’d like to thank all those who have contributed to the success of Child &Family Resources over the past 40 years. The organization would not be where we are today if it weren’t for all the support, collaborations, and partnerships along the way. I’d especially like to thank our Board of Trustees and organizational staff.
When I think about Child & Family Resources and its 40 year history it reminds me of one of my favorite children’s stories, The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper. Child & Family Resources and that little blue engine have a lot in common.
Much like the story, here in Morris County there was and still are children in need. In the beginning, services such as, training, financial assistance paying for child care, and helping parents locate child care providers were delivered via a combination of community based programs and regional offices. Ensuring Morris County’s neediest populations received services related to affordable, accessible, and quality child care became a challenge.
There were a fair share of shiny new engine’s, big strong engines, and kind old engines that came along in the shape of new policies, trends, and attitudes. It was the Little Blue Engine, Child & Family Resources, not very big and having never been over the mountain that pulled through. The organization was founded in 1972 under the name Morris County Child Care and Development Council by Jack Ware, Marilyn Bernstein, James Varner, Alan Adler, Forrest Pritchett, and William McQueen.
Today I can tell you some lessons and tales that Child & Family Resources has learned and relearned in its time on the rails. Rolling out of the station in 1978 the organization was manned with 8 staff and a mission to deliver a broad spectrum of interrelated services to the child care community. Making many stops along the way, the organization changed its name to Children’s Services of Morris County in 1980. Co-Directors Edna Ranck and Kathy Ross were initially hired with a budget of $75,000 to close the organization. They worked part-time shifts to accommodate Edna’s graduate work and Kathy’s one year old son. With the support, financial and otherwise, from the Morris County Freeholders and Rodney Frelinghuysen, the organization received a grant that kept the doors just barely open. Their “I think I can” attitude is what propelled the organization forward. It was during this time the organization secured one of three corporate contracts awarded statewide from Work Family Direction, bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars in quality improvement initiatives, parent education lunch and learn seminars, and corporate referrals to the county.
The 80’s and early 90’s were a good time. The economy was strong, corporate funding was fluid, and convincing the public about the importance of investing in early childhood was effortless. Then, as with most life cycles, the track the organization was on took a turn. Corporate investments and focus changed. The needs of the community evolved and so the organization reexamined its mission and in 1998 changed its name to Child & Family Resources, a name that truly encompasses who we serve. With a revised mission that focuses on children and creating and delivering programs and services for the community that support the development of children, as well as strengthen families. Child & Family Resources steadied itself and just kept on going.
Not being afraid to toot our own horn, I’d like to highlight some of the organizations key accomplishments:
- 1990 Registered Family Child Care Recruitment Project, with a goal to register 200 providers in 2 years, funded by Warner Lambert
- 1991 Quality Child Care: Today’s Choice for Tomorrow’s Work Force, a report highlighting the importance of high quality child care settings and its influence on the developing child, funded in part by Exxon Company
- 1992 Children on the Green, a child care center founded to serve Morris County’s homeless children in an inclusive environment.
- 2001 ACT—Adults & Children Together Against Violence Community Saturation project, with a goal to reduce young children’s exposure to violence and recognize the influence media & media violence have on children’s development and behavior.
- 2003 Leadership Report, a report on a comprehensive system of early care and learning which made clear recommendations for attributes of a true “system” of care for Morris County children
- 2005 The Diaper Bank at Child & Family Resources, Diapers is not a luxury. They are a necessity that is frequently not covered by current safety net programs such as Food Stamps, WIC, Medicaid and Medicare (except hospice). We provide diapers for vulnerable populations in our community of Morris, including babies, the disabled, and the elderly. We are a partner in the newly created National Diaper Bank and are scheduled to receive our first delivery this week.
- 2006 Holiday Giving for Community Families project, Roberta Ginsberg, Director of Pine Brook Jewish Center Nursery School asks Child & Family Resources to collaborate with them in carrying out their programs mission to provide a warm and caring environment that fosters a positive identity, while creating a sense of community for their children, families and staff. Building on the fundamentals of their program, the children and families they serve practice acts of performing good deeds, by conducting a toy drive. The impact of this simple act of one faith community supporting the needs of the broader community is the ultimate demonstration of this principal.
- 2009 Morris County Infant Toddler Training Institute, a collaborative project with CITE, Professional Impact New Jersey, Morris County Child Care Directors Association, United Way of Northern New Jersey, and Family Service of Morris County. Its purpose was to support infant/toddler educators interested in pursuing their professional development and the New Jersey Infant/Toddler Credential. This training was designed to help child care professionals advance their knowledge, skills and practice as well as understand their role in reducing the risk of abuse and neglect through their natural relationships with parents of infants and toddlers.
Child & Family Resources has followed its track through twists and through bends, and stopped at new stops and picked up new friends. And when our “I think I can” didn’t sound quite so sure, that’s when we pushed, to strive and to strain, to show the world we’re not a giving-up train.