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Caregiver Support Network

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Caregiver Support Network

San José Public Library

Education - Adults | 2021 | Top Innovator

Innovation Summary

San José Public Library’s FFN Caregiver Support Network serves historically under-recognized & under-resourced informal licensed exempt caregivers (FFNs) through essential professional development opportunities and holistic supports that enable them to provide stable, responsive and high-quality learning experiences for the children in their care.

Problem Statement

An estimated 80% of children age 0-2 and 40% of children age 0-5 in California are cared for by FFNs. Despite their essential roles, FFNs are historically unacknowledged as early educators and unsupported as childcare providers. Yet now more than ever, FFNs are supporting families as people return to work amidst licensed childcare site closures. The FFN Caregiver Support Network closes an immense service gap by providing FFNs with wraparound, individualized supports, learning opportunities and professional development.


  • Program participants co-create their learning experience and goals while being supported by one-on-one mentorship and a program framework and network of resources built explicitly around the voices of our community’s informal caregivers
  • Environmental scan data collected by staff revealed that caregivers prioritized networking opportunities and social connections to combat isolation
  • Individualized and customizable programming
  • The targeted removal of barriers for participants, many of whom are under-resourced BIPOC women


The program's first cohort reflected the high demand for services with 60 FFNs served in the six-month pilot launched in the pandemic, with an 89% program completion rate. Participants noted increased confidence in their role as caregivers, knowledge of child development, and health and safety practices. A second cohort launched in fall 2021 with 108 FFNs, representing a growth of 55% from Year 1 and over 600 children in SJ benefit from being in the care of trained high-quality child care providers.