Parent Voices Organization
Parent Voices is a partnership of parents throughout California that is coordinated by the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network and hosted by Child Care Resource and Referral agencies throughout California. Essentially, Parent Voices works to improve the quality, accessibility, and affordability of child care by combining leadership, advocacy, and community organizing.
We are a parent-led, grassroots organization that fights to make quality child care accessible and affordable to all families.
Our Core Values
Parent Voices believes in
- Working to bring about social change by developing parent leaders to serve as advocates for child care issues
- Having parents and child care consumers identify and understand our issues, solutions, and courses of action
- Acting with passion and resolve while using a variety of strategies
- Having strong, articulate parents govern the policies of the organization
Child Care for All
Join Parent Voices as advocates for quality and affordable child care because child care is an important component to the development of young children and to economic self-sufficiency of families.
For more information about the Santa Clara County Chapter of Parent Voices, contact 408-487-0747.
The History of the Parent Voices Project
In the 1970s, as increasingly more women entered the work force, the availability of affordable, quality child care became more and more scarce. Activist parents took the initiative to organize and push for change. For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area, parents like Patty Siegel and Arlyce Currie worked with other parents to establish organizations such as the Child Care Switchboard and BANANAS that are specifically designed to refer parents to child care resources. soon, similar organizations sprouted across the state.
These founding agencies took their cause to Sacramento and successfully advocated for state funding for resource and referral agencies. Thanks to those efforts, every county in California is now served by a local resource and referral agency that parents can contact for child care information.
Even after the more than 20 years of solid, continuous advocacy work and the many major victories gained for child care, the overeall progress toward meeting parents needs has been quite limited. A highly notable and missing element from all levels of the child care advocacy efforts are the parents themselves. Because of their busy, everyday work and family life schedules, they often have little room or energy left to deal with these issues. Unfortunately, their absence leaves a big void as no one speaks more convincingly for their children's needs than the parents.
With this in mind, the network of organizations began to explore if and how the various R&R agencies could build a stronger, more effective "parent voice" for child care in their communities.
In 1994, Patty Siegel, now Executive Director of the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, convened a group of California child care advocates at the request of the Jenifer Altman Foundation in order to evaluate and discuss the current state of child care. They agreed that one of the greatest needs is to bring back the "parent voice" to the child care movement. In July of that year, The Jenifer Altman Foundation generously responded with an offer of seed funding to help the network develop a project to organize parents. The result: Parent Voices
All are building momentum for child care advocacy with the belief that parents are the ones who must ignite and fuel the process for positive change. To strengthen our advocacy, we as parents conduct training on
- Strategic organizing
- Leadership development
- Advocacy skills
- Relevant issues
Additionally, Parent Voices
- Sends out policy updates and calls to action
- Builds relationships with local and state elected officials as well as coalition partners
- Convenes local parents to build a support network as well as to take collective action
- Constantly shares resources, ideas, and challenges to weave together strong voices, both locally and statewide, to gain a more quality, affordable, and accessible child care system.