Family, Friends and Neighbors

Providing informal, in-home child care workers the skills and tools they need to ensure children are in a safe and healthy environment

Thirty-two informal caregivers commit to this two-year in-home coaching and training program to improve the quality and safety of care for more than 140 children in the Roaring Fork Valley.

FFNs receive two years of training and in-home coaching

Family, Friends and Neighbors: The next frontier of child care

The majority of low-income children in our country are being cared for by informal, unlicensed caregivers: family, friends, and neighbors. This type of care is usually free or inexpensive, and provides more flexibility than center-based care. Valley Settlement’s exploratory work in the community found many deficits in homes, and a community of FFNs who were eager to gain knowledge and skills in a profession that many have been engaging in for years. Recognizing this reality for many families, Valley Settlement built the FFN program to provide support and coaching to FFNs with the goal of improving safety, nutrition, and early childhood development for the children in their care.



Safety is Our Top Priority

Initial visits to FFN homes during our listening phase showed serious safety concerns. From a lack of emergency evacuation plans to missing parent contact information, there were basic safety issues that needed to be addressed right away. All of our FFNs receive training and certification in First Aid and CPR, and coaching on how to create emergency plans and address environmental safety concerns. Eighty-six percent of FFNs reported increased confidence in engaging in child safety behaviors from pre to post-program.


“I gained knowledge on how to take care of a child, and I understand that this is like a second home.”

Encouraging Behavior Change

Our FFN Home Visitors provide in-home, personalized coaching tailored to the particular FFN’s home environment and children’s needs. FFNs significantly improved on their program-specific goals, which include reading to children, practicing active listening, singing with the children, and engaging in creative activities. FFNs report that they use more community resources, are more engaged in their community, and are more confident in providing a healthy environment due to the program.


Broad Impact

The Colorado Children’s Campaign estimates that 57% of children in Colorado receive some type of FFN care. A disproportionate number of these children are from low-income families. The FFN care providers in our program care for approximately 120 – 180 children in the Roaring Fork Valley, depending on the season. Improving the quality of care in FFN homes will have a positive ripple effect on families, as future children receive this higher quality of care. FFN staff act as a bridge for isolated families, connecting children to early intervention services and access to preschool.