CACFP Inspire: Tammy Rowland NW Arkansas Family Child Care Home Association
May 26, 2022
Tammy Rowland is the Administrator of the Northwest Arkansas Family Childcare Association (NWAFCA) which is the sponsoring agency for family childcare homes in Northwest Arkansas, overseeing between 29 and 42 home sites during the pandemic. Prior to assuming this administrative role, Tammy was a family childcare home provider.
Family childcare home support during the Covid crisis
During the pandemic shutdown and the most fearful times of the public health crisis, Tammy supported providers in using technology to order food and supplies online to keep them open and safe during the pandemic. She personally delivered PPE, cleaning supplies, and items essential so that family childcare homes could remain open. Tammy encouraged homes to participate in wellness training, finding virtual professional development options when choices were limited and safety was a concern. Tammy went above and beyond to assist Arkansas home childcare programs in serving children during pandemic times.
A solution for every problem
New information floods the childcare field all the time. From new state and federal guidance to cutting edge research, Tammy synthesizes and streamlines the information for her Arkansas providers. She teaches best practices for planning menus, preparing meals, and encouraging children to eat healthy. Tammy’s heart and love for the CACFP and her desire for a healthier generation of children is at the forefront of her daily work. A veritable encyclopedia, Tammy is the go-to person for all things related to the CACFP, family childcare, zoning requirements, childcare licensing, health and nutrition, professional development support, quality improvement and more. Additional supports Tammy offers her providers include:
- Licensing: Tammy assists new homes in set up, pre-licensing training, support with local city zoning regulations, fire codes, and health regulations in an attempt to increase family childcare homes in northwest Arkansas.
- Liaising with regulatory groups: Tammy collaborates with the local Child Care Aware office and informs them of any needs family childcare homes may have. She acts as a liaison to the Arkansas Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, Childcare Licensing Unit, local health departments, and even the business community. When pandemic related federal and state funds were released, there was a need to get the funds to family childcare homes who were eligible.. She worked tirelessly to ensure that all family childcare homes who wished to participate in these programs and receive the funds would have the opportunity to do so. .
- Remote provider support: Tammy walks family childcare home providers though the new systems that have been implemented by the Arkansas Division of Child Care and Early Childhood and the DHS requirements for background checks. She hosts a monthly Saturday meeting at the Child Care Aware office for childcare providers to utilize onsite technology and resources. Many Arkansas family childcare homes do not have access to the computers, Wi-Fi, internet, or printers they need as they operate in rural remote areas.
- Digitizing systems: Tammy piloted a program training family childcare home providers in the NWAFCA on digital menus and food program paperwork in order to streamline the dissemination of forms between homes and the sponsor.
- Facilitating quality care: Tammy was a supportive facilitator for a group of ten family childcare home providers in a yearlong cohort to train, apply, and be observed for national accreditation through the National Association for Family Child Care. Tammy attended all the trainings so that she was able to support individual providers as they worked through the rigorous accreditation process that assessed all elements of their programs.
During the pandemic, Tammy was a lifeline to all family childcare homes. Arkansas has experienced many challenges, and family childcare homes have been greatly impacted. However, they persevered with the assistance, guidance and support of Tammy, a star for all childcare providers in Arkansas.