Jan. 27—PLATTSBURGH — It's New York State grant application season, and the Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country (CCCCNC) is in the throes of it.
"The Child Care Council is busy preparing a wide variety of grant applications to continue the mission of the agency, which is to support and strengthen families and child care professionals who endeavor to raise healthy and educated children," Jamie L. Basiliere, executive director, said.
"Almost all our contracts with various state agencies are up for renewal. Their five-to-six-year shell is ending, and we have to prepare grant applications in order to continue our work."
In January, the Council is preparing the following grant applications: — Child Care Resource and Referral services for both Clinton and Franklin Counties.
"This is two grant applications to NYS Office of Children and Family Services that allows us to recruit new child care providers, offer high-quality training and professional development to them, and help parents find high-quality child care," Basiliere said.
"We have offered these services for 32 years, and every five to six years we have to bid competitively on the work. If we win, we will have about $585,000 per year for five years to perform all the work on the contract. It is highly likely we will win this grant award." — Adirondack Family Resource Center Network serves Clinton and Franklin Counties presently with three family resource centers—Family Connections in Plattsburgh, Families R Us in Malone and Family Matters in Tupper Lake.
"The new Request for Proposals (RFP) from NYS Office of Children and Family Services is very, very competitive," Basiliere said.
"So competitive that they say they are only awarding two contracts in the entire state. So we have to up our game, and we are proposing to develop two new family resource centers—one in Ticonderoga/Moriah area and one in the Canton/Potsdam area."
The Council is also proposing to continue its Saranac Lake mini-family resource center and to develop a mini-center at the St Regis Mohawk Reservation.
"By mini, we mean one day per week programming for families with young children," she said.
This is work the agency has done for nearly 29 years when Family Connections opened in May 1995 at the former Daffodil ladies dress store at the original Champlain Centre Mall.
"The gist of this work is to support and strengthen families' protective factors," she said.
"Protective factors are characteristics or traits that help families remain or become more healthy with less likelihood for child abuse occurrences. They are: resiliency, knowledge of parenting and child development, social connections, including friends, social and emotional health, and concrete supports in times of need.
"These five protective factors are the bedrock of all the services we develop at our family resource centers — parent-child play groups, parenting support groups, parenting education classes, developmental screenings and lots of information and referral.
"We want the reviewers at the state to say, 'Wow, this proposal covers 10,000 square miles of NYS and will serve families from five counties! We must fund it!'"
The network receives $357,000 per year for five years.
"This is huge," Basiliere said.
"That application will be very competitive." — A New York State Education Department funded project called the Family and Community Engagement Center is up for renewal. At stake is approximately $500,000 in funding per year for the next five years.
"This means we are in year five of a five-year shell, and NYSED is rebidding the project," Basiliere said.
"We are applying to serve the entire North Country region which includes by NYSED definition—Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, and St Lawrence Counties.
"We help parents who have children birth to 21 years old with special needs or disabilities to navigate and find services they need for their children. We help these parents communicate and engage with their child's school and other community programs to help ensure children and families get the services and programs they need.
"We also work with schools themselves to help them learn new ways to successfully engage with families. This grant application could be competitive if another organization decides they want to apply." — In December 2023, CCCCNC reapplied to NYS Office of Children and Family Services for a new five-year shell of its Permanency Resource Center services, which supports Adoptive Parents and Kinship Caregivers with a menu of services—respites for the kids, educational programs related to childhood trauma, support groups, and lots of advocacy with families at school, court and Department of Social Services.
"We serve all five counties in the North Country — Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton and St. Lawrence and in this project NYS considers the St Regis Mohawk Tribe its own county," she said.
"So, we are really serving six counties. This is work we have done since 2018, and we are eager to learn if we have won a new contract shell for five more years of services."
The Permanency Resource Center & Kinship Program receives $515,000 per year.
The council has received no word thus far on its application, though the application deadline was in early December and the state said they would make a decision around Jan. 8.
"Children deserve a permanent home with their birth parents or adoptive parents or with their grandparents or other relatives, who have stepped up to the plate because the parents can't, won't, or unable to take care of their children," Basiliere said.
For its grants applications, the Council is seeking letters of support from community organizations and families that have participated in any of the programs. Letters of support can be emailed to: email@example.com.
The work of the Council is hard-fought for work.
"We have to apply with innovative, evidence-based programs and services, and then we carry out the work," Basiliere said.
"We don't receive a dime of money to simply show up and turn the lights on. It's all funded through contracts with work plans, performance targets and budgets.
"For 32 years, we have been committed to developing creative and engaging programs and services designed to support and strengthen families and child care professionals."