Established in 1995 with start-up funds from The Rhode Island Foundation, Connecting for Children and Families (CCF) has been working diligently for the last 18 years to improve the quality of family and community life in Woonsocket.
As one of Rhode Island’s core urban cities, Woonsocket has many challenging risk factors: the highest rate of child abuse in the state; 36% of children under the age of 6 live in poverty; 46% of households headed by a single parent; 22% high school dropout rate (highest in the state); 2nd highest births to teens, ages 15-19; and a 13% unemployment rate.
We believe that a good education is the best road out of poverty, and, as a result, CCF continues to build its capacity to support young people so they will be successful in school and in life. According to national research, “every dollar invested in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on.”
CCF offers high-quality childcare for toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children in our 4-star BrightStars-rated Hope Street Childcare Center. Highly trained and certified staff engages young children in developing the necessary skills needed for school success, using a nationally recognized curriculum Opening the World of Learning. Additionally, CCF partners with the Woonsocket Special Education Department to offer an integrated classroom for special needs children at our center. Speech, occupational therapy and resource teachers are on site to provide these children the services they need to thrive.
CCF is now in the process of upgrading its 4-star-rating to a 5-star designation (highest status available). As such, our teachers will soon be participating in professional development on the Rhode Island Early Learning and Development Standards. We have also hired two lead teachers with Early Childhood degrees and will be hiring a 3rd soon. As part of the upgrade process, teachers are now getting ready for a classroom environmental assessment, making sure classrooms are set up for the best learning conditions. And recently, we starting using a United Way-endorsed assessment called Teaching Strategies Gold, which tracks student progress and can be used to support all types of learners, including children with special needs and children with advanced knowledge and skills.
We also offer the nationally recognized Parents As Teachers Program (PAT), a home visiting program designed to help children get a good start in life so they can enter school ready to learn. Certified parent educators assist families with the following: accessing healthcare, ensuring children are up-to-date with immunizations; conducting developmental screenings; including Ages & Stages, and making referrals to specialized services, such as Early Intervention or Child Outreach.