Union County Shared Services Alliance
Community Coordinated Child Care of Union County has been working towards creating a Shared Services Alliance for childcare providers in Union County. Beginning in the Summer of 2022, we began our work by gathering information from community childcare providers to determine interest and to identify some challenges which could be addressed using the Shared Services Alliance model.
An Early Childhood Shared Services Alliance is a collaborative effort between multiple early childhood programs to share resources,reduce costs, and provide quality services to young children and their families. Shared Alliances typically provide such services as professional development, purchasing, financial management, and administrative support.
What are the benefits of a Shared Services Alliance?
By joining forces, members of an alliance can benefit from economies of scale and enhance expertise. This leads to improved program quality, increased efficiency, and reduced operating costs. Additionally, a Shared Service Alliance can provide a forum for members to network and collaborate, leading to a stronger early childhood community overall.
What have we done so far?
We utilized an interest survey, focus groups and interviews to identify some of the challenges childcare providers experience and how they can be addressed by joining a Shared Services Alliance. This work involved gathering feedback from childcare providers in Union County. The focus groups and interview discussions covered common pedological and business issues in childcare such as enrollment, recruiting qualified staff, and billing and collections. A Shared Services interest survey was distributed to childcare providers and we used four focus groups and two interviews. A series of questions were used for the focus groups and interviews.
What is a summary of this work?
The results of the surveys, focus groups and interviews point to the following potential issues:
• Recruiting and maintaining qualified and talented staff.
• Getting the best prices on food items, cleaning supplies, etc.
• Affording and providing staff benefits like health insurance and retirement.
• Staying fully enrolled.
• Having teaching substitutes available.
What will happen next?
Community individuals from a variety of fields will be asked to participate in a Shared Services Advisory Committee. They will become a resource for problem-solving suggestions and may include solutions from business and industry. Childcare providers will be invited to become part of the Shared Services Alliance, and the work begins to look at common challenges and solutions to support the pedagogical and financial components of childcare.
Janice Szarko holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Kean University, as well as a Master of Theological Studies degree from Drew Theological School. With more than four decades of experience, she has worked as a teacher and director in childcare settings, as well as an instructor of adult learners. For several years, she has also served as an adjunct instructor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY in New York City.
Currently, Szarko works as the Shared Services Alliance Coordinator at Community Coordinated Child Care of Union County.
To contact her, please call 973-923-1433 ext. 136.