Staff Spotlight: CCSI Education Specialist Unit

Child care is a vital part of our city’s infrastructure, enabling countless families to contribute to the economy in vital roles in healthcare, business, education, service industries , etc. But despite the value of child care in a healthy and vibrant city, the child care profession is still largely an undervalued and underpaid profession, and one that has been in crisis before and even more since the beginning. of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within the Department of Education and Early Learning, a team of CCSI education specialists supports child care providers in partnership with the City of Seattle through the program child care assistance (CCAP). Many Seattle child care businesses, including home and center child care, are owned and operated by Black, Indigenous, immigrant, or refugee women of color, and DEEL’s CCAP Education Specialists work closely with these vendors to improve their procurement experience. with the City. Education Specialists (or Ed Specs as they are sometimes called) work closely with the DEEL Change Team, part of the city’s Social and Racial Justice Initiative, to advance the Equity in Child Care by providing resources and technical assistance to overcome systemic barriers and build greater access to affordable, high-quality child care for Seattle families.

CCSI Senior Education Specialist Suzette Espinoza-Cruz (center) and Education Specialist Daedru Hilliard (right) help distribute personal protective equipment to child care providers early in the pandemic.

Responsibilities of a CCAP Education Specialist include onboarding new child care partners and supporting contracted providers who serve Seattle’s diverse community of families enrolled in the CCAP program, which helps cover costs child care for income-eligible families who live in Seattle and have a child 12 years of age or younger. CCAP Ed Specs also helps Seattle child care providers meet quality measures, including state licensing and the nationwide Quality Rating Improvement System. State known as Early Achievers. Collectively, DEEL’s team of education specialists have decades of experience as program directors, child care licensors, consultants, professional trainers for the child care training and registration system. Washington State (STARS), early childhood educators and youth development program staff, which helps inform their work with Seattle Providers.

DEEL Early Learning Assistant Division Director Leilani Dela Cruz and Melissa Bookwalter, Child Care Program Manager at a COVID-19 vaccine access event for child care providers in spring 2021.

DEEL is grateful for the dedication and commitment to the children and families of Seattle on the part of the community of child care providers as well as the work of the Ed Spec unit to support these providers and strengthen the Seattle child care community. If you or a family you know is looking for help paying for childcare from birth to 12 years old or if you are a childcare provider interested in joining CCAP, please contact DEEL at address For more information about CCSI’s team of education specialists, please contact [email protected]

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