DES MOINES, Iowa – Childcare customs are different for people who have come to the United States as refugees, and one organization has a program to make it easier for childcare providers to give kids from their home countries the best start.
“Because the system was different back home, so I learn how to take care. I learn this system, those classes,” Beuline said through a translator.
Beuline is from the war-torn African country of Burundi, and came to Des Moines in 2008 after spending 13 years in a refugee camp. She’s one of 50 women in LSI’s childcare program for refugees.
“We help women to take classes about health and safety training, CPR, first aid, mandatory reporter training, teach them about childcare here in the United States, and talk about the differences between that and childcare back home,” said LSI’s Child Care Specialist Heather McNamara.
The Refugee Connection Center Childcare Program started five years ago, but it’s expanded recently to offer early literacy training. The childcare providers run their own businesses, but LSI helps with training in taxes, how to run a business, and how to register with the state.
“They’re registered Category A child development home provider through the state of Iowa, so that means they have 24 hours of mandated training every two-year term that they have to take things about nutrition, health and safety, topics about child development to help prepare the children for kindergarten,” said McNamara.
Beuline says it has helped her as she contributes to her household’s income while caring for kids.
LSI’s program includes providers from several African and southeast Asian countries. The program is funded through grants so training can be provided for free.