Since 1997 the Burbank Housing Corporation (BHC) has dug deep to help lower- and moderate-income Californians thrive. When BHC earned the chance to offer families high-quality early childhood education and care, they needed a creative, flexible provider. With KinderCare Education at Work (KCE) they found more than a team who could adapt and operate first one then two child care centers – they found kindred spirits devoted to giving children skills that open doors and encourage opportunity to knock.
SituationBHC serves its clients by creating and protecting affordable housing and by helping economically challenged Burbank residents and families access services that improve their quality of life. In early 2003, the Burbank Redevelopment Agency, the Child Care Committee, and other community groups looked to BHC to provide early childhood education and care to the citizens in their neighborhoods. As Judith Arandes, Executive Director at the BHC describes it, "We wanted to create an option for people who had few other formal child care options, where the children would benefit from exceptional curriculum, an advanced level of child development practices, trained teachers, and all the other opportunities the centers offer."
SolutionJudith and the team from the Redevelopment Agency were very clear on the key considerations when they went to bid for a third party to manage the center:
- Quality-driven Care. Highest quality available; preferably a provider with a demonstrated record of achieving national accreditation for its programs
- Collaboration. Willingness to work closely with her team to ensure space availability to lower income families
- Strong Operational Expertise. Financial and operational acumen to efficiently manage the center
- Right Fit. Sincere commitment to integrate tightly into the surrounding community
After an exhaustive process, BHC chose to partner with KinderCare Education at Work for their first child care center. Together the city's team, KCE, and BHC worked closely on all aspects of operations – from the design of the classrooms and parking lot configuration, to the curriculum, tuition subsidy program and more. "My personal level of satisfaction relates to KCE's complete understanding and willingness to make our goals their goals too," Judith shared.
ResultOnce BHC's center opened in October 2003, it quickly filled with 92 neighborhood children and generated a long waiting list. The center's overwhelming success drove the community's decision to open a second center. BHC again chose KCE to collaborate with them, though this center would have a unique twist: it needed to be thoughtfully incorporated into the old Burbank Buena Vista Branch Library building, a historic landmark. KCE committed to maintaining the space's architectural integrity; the new Mary Alice O'Connor Center (named after a beloved local school board member and life-long community volunteer) opened with the library's original flooring and bookshelves intact; and the community celebrated a place with lots of room for old and new memories to live side-by-side. Opened in 2007, BHC's second center quickly reached its capacity of 88 children. The long waiting list at both centers is a testament to KCE's ability to help prepare children for limitless success in school – and beyond.
BHC and KCE worked closely together to create two highly customized child care centers. BHC was involved in everything from classroom design to curriculum details.
"I think the biggest vote of confidence and demonstration of the level of trust we have in the partnership was the fact we didn't go to bid when we decided to open the second center." – JUDITH ARANDES, BHC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR