All Our Kin: Building High-Quality, Sustainable Family Child Care Businesses
By building sustainable family childcare businesses, AOK creates opportunities for both caregivers and parents to thrive.
I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
I am over 18 years of age
My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States
Where are you making a difference?
Connecticut: Bridgeport, New Haven, Danbury, Stamford, Norwalk I New York: New York City
Focus Areas (required)
Business & Social Enterprise
Children & Youth
Development & Prosperity
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)
Website or social media URL(s) (optional)
1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.
I came to law school determined to make a difference for children, and quickly saw that our broken childcare system placed incredible burdens on parents, children, and caregivers. Welfare reform was just taking hold; as parents were forced to move into jobs or lose cash support, the problem worsened. My aha: to create a lab school where parents who wanted to be with their young children could train for careers in early childhood, open childcare businesses, and enable other parents to enter the workforce, while giving young children critically-important early learning experiences. This idea evolved into the organization we now call All Our Kin.
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Childcare is in short supply, tremendously expensive, and often low-quality. In response to the need, family childcare providers operate small, home-¬based programs that are the primary source of childcare for infants and toddlers in low-¬income neighborhoods. They have tremendous potential and dedication, but are underpaid and lack resources, training, and support, which hampers their ability to run quality, sustainable childcare programs.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
At All Our Kin, we recognize family child are providers’ strong potential to create transformative change in their communities, and we have developed a highly successful, data-driven model for supporting family child care providers in exercising and fully reaching that potential. The All Our Kin model is based in best practice and research in the field; it is rooted in a strength-based approach; it is informed by over 15 years of experience working directly with family childcare providers; and it invests in family childcare providers at every stage of their development, from parents and caregivers to professional educators and businesspeople. Our model is a triple-win: childcare providers have access to training and education opportunities, livable wages and benefits, and respect for a hard job done well. Parents are honored and supported in their difficult work of caring for children, and have safe, loving, educational child care options when they go to work. And children, regardless of where they live, their racial or ethnic background, or how much their parents earn, begin their lives with all the advantages, tools, and experiences that we, as a society, are capable of giving.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.
Check out this true story about All Our Kin's impact on the lives of one extraordinary family: http://www.allourkin.org/remedios-story
5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?
We work for and with childcare providers, parents, and children who are often excluded from or lack knowledge of financial services. 90% of the childcare providers we work with are women of color, 70% percent are immigrants, and 65% are English-language learners. Most of them are low-income. The parents they serve are demographically similar. Many are poor, several are single heads of households, and a substantial number are teen parents.
5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:
6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
All Our Kin partners with agencies across the country engaged in the important and difficult work of supporting family childcare providers, children, and families; our strength-based, relational, holistic approach, and our strong track record of impact set us apart. Our impact on communities is deep and multifaceted: we increase the supply of childcare, we increase the quality of childcare, and we increase caregiver earnings, thus profoundly impacting the quality of life of children, parents, and childcare providers.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
All Our Kin reaches 400 caregivers and 2,000 children each year. Our providers score over 50% higher than non-All Our Kin participants on research-based measures of quality, scoring highest in the areas that most influence children’s learning and growth. The children in our programs score higher on measures of cognitive and social-emotional development. All Our Kin increases provider revenue; nearly 60% of participants earn at least $5,000 more the first year after licensure, and outearn industry counterparts. We increase the supply of child care: each provider we license makes it possible for 4-5 parents to enter or remain in the workforce. And All Our Kin generates significant economic returns for communities. According to the University of Connecticut, for every $1 spent by All Our Kin in the Tool Kit Licensing Program, $15-20 is returned to society in terms of macroeconomic benefits.
8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?
We have 3 strategies. (1) Direct replication of our high-touch model: We plan to create 3-5 more sites, reaching an additional 2,000-3,000 children, in the next 5 years;. (2) Technical assistance: We plan to train agencies across the country in how to build a high-functioning family childcare network, with special focus on our educational and business curricula. (3) Policy. We are using our stories and data to advocate for a childcare system that meets the needs of children, families, and providers, through higher reimbursement rates, quality supports, and expanded options for families.
8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?
Lobbying, Policy Change
9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?
Our model is built on a mix of private philanthropy and government funding. All Our Kin's own work relies heavily on private philanthropy, while our family childcare providers receive payment for the children they serve through a mix of private-pay clients and children subsidized by the government (primarily the latter). Our new technical assistance initiative presents an opportunity to diversify our revenue, attracting funds from state and local government and for-profit institutions.
10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
All Our Kin's central team--myself (attorney), Chief Learning Officer (educator), and COO (trained in education and business), together with back-office functions--provides support to the All Our Kin sites, each of which is staffed with a team of 4-6 mission-driven coaches and trainers skilled in child development, adult learning, and AOK's strength-based, relationships-first approach. Our board of policy and business leaders provides oversight and strategic guidance.
How did you hear about this challenge?
All Our Kin
Program Design Clarity
All Our Kin has three main programs. (1) We support informal caregivers in navigating the childcare licensing process, enabling them to open professional home-based childcare businesses. (2) We then provide educational support, including coaching, ongoing professional development, and scholarships. (3) We offer a 10-session series specifically designed to train family childcare entrepreneurs, together with 1-on-1 coaching in business practices.
Approach to financial wellbeing: does your project focus on creating financial wellbeing through innovating on any of the following?
education / literacy
Innovation type: Please select which of the following types of innovation best characterize your work
Process innovation (execution of a new or considerably improved production or delivery method)
Partnerships in detail: tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.
In each community that All Our Kin serves, we build relationships with a wide range of partners, leveraging as many resources and opportunities as we can to enhance our work with family childcare providers, children, and families in low-income communities. Key partners include: community-based organizations – including schools, family resource centers, agencies serving immigrants and refugees, faith-based organizations, and workforce development programs – which link All Our Kin to potential and
If you won the Unlocking ₵hange Challenge, how would you invest the prize money of $50,000?
As we grow, we need to upgrade our technology to support our increasingly mobile staff. Laptops, cell phones, and videoconferencing supports will enable us to communicate more effectively with each other and with providers, while an updated website will enable us to communicate with the wider world.
Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions has the project received?
U.S. Small Business Administration Women in Business Champion Award; Roslyn S. Jaffe Award Grand Prize; Ashoka Changemakers "Champions of Children's Wellbeing"; CT Women's Hall of Fame; highlighted by the federal Office of Child Care, Stanford Social Innovation Review, New America, Harvard's Center on the Developing Child; Pahara-Aspen Fellows (CEO, COO, and CLO); Ashoka Fellow (CEO).