Each year, we serve approximately 600 children and their families across all of our programs. CHCCC has three primary child care programs: the Family Day Care Network, the Child Care Center, and the Head Start Family Day Care Program. All our programs participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and as a result, children receive free/reduced fee nutritious meals every day. The staff and childcare providers of CHCCC are proud to nurture the hearts and minds of our neighborhood’s youngest residents. Our services ensure that parents can go to work with peace of mind; knowing their children are safe, educated, nourished and well cared for.
CHCCC is unique because of our extensive community involvement, family support and commitment to professional development for our staff. We assess the educational outcomes of our programs through the Creative Curriculum Gold, which meets Head Start Performance Standards and the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework, national benchmarks for preschool learning that are aligned with New York State’s Common Core standards for learning. All of our child care programs promote young children’s optimal development including their health, school readiness, and preparation for lifelong success. We also offer a range of programs for Cypress Hills families to help support their goals of nurturing their children and achieving financial stability.
The Cypress Hills Child Care Corporation (CHCCC) was established in 1990 to offer safe, quality, affordable bilingual and culturally sensitive child care to residents of Cypress Hills, a low and moderate income, predominantly Latinx community in northeast Brooklyn. We provide critical childcare services to working poor families and are an economic development and advancement vehicle for neighborhood women.
We were founded as a nonprofit, public charity to address the tremendous need for childcare in Cypress Hills. According to the 1990 census, there were approximately 5,500 children under the age of 6 and no publicly funded day care. The lack of quality, licensed, affordable childcare was the biggest impediment for parents, women in particular, to join the workforce or to continue their education. Since our launch, we have successfully launched and continue to grow three day care programs in the community: The Cypress Hills Family Day Care Network, Child Care Center, and the Head Start Family Day Care Program.
The mission of Cypress Hills Childcare Corporation is to promote young children’s optimal development including their health, school readiness, and life-long success; and strengthen families’ parenting abilities, access to needed services, and economic sustainability in the greater Cypress Hills community through quality early childhood education, family support services, parent leadership, and related employment opportunities including professional development and entrepreneurship.
Cypress Hills is a Brooklyn neighborhood bounded by Jamaica Avenue, Shore Parkway, Van Sinderen Avenue, and Eldert Lane. Our community is diverse – 61% of residents are Latinx, and 42% are immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, and Jamaica. The housing stock consists primarily of 1-3 family homes and small apartment buildings, which helps to create a sense of community. The commercial strip is in the heart of the neighborhood and local residents can shop locally in small stores for most of their needs. There is even a local farmstand that hires Cypress Hills youth. Foods from Central, South America and the Caribbean may be enjoyed at local restaurants. The neighborhood is accessible by public transportation and has several public schools so children may walk to school.
The neighborhood faces significant economic challenges, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cypress Hills consistently ranks high on indicators of inequality: health, life expectancy, housing quality, income, employment, and education. More than a quarter of households here live below the Federal Poverty Line, and it has a child poverty rate of 31.7%. The local public schools perform poorly on measures of student achievement and school crowding when compared to schools in more affluent New York City neighborhoods, and there is a shortage of early childhood seats even as the population of eligible children is expected to increase considerably over the next several years.
We are proud to live alongside and to serve these families. We have seen over the decades that a small leg up in the form of access to affordable early childcare or support to launch a childcare business can empower residents of Cypress Hills to overcome the challenges they face and build a sustainable future for themselves and for our community.
Impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on Cypress Hills/East New York, and on CHCCC’s staff and families. The neighborhoods have had high rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths, and many local families are suffering financial distress. During the pandemic, CHCCC’s Head Start and Child Care Center educators continued to teach remotely, even during periods of facility closures due to the COVID-19. Our Head Start Family Workers touched base with parents at least once a week to offer words of comfort and support, make service referrals, share resources, and help with emergency food supplies. Many CHCCC families lost their income and did not qualify for federal relief. To meet their needs, we used private funding and donations to provide stipends in the form of supermarket certificates so they could purchase groceries, diapers, and other household necessities. We have distributed a total of $33,625 in stipends to families in the local community.