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Recent Media Coverage of AlmaCare

  • PHCCPA 2002 CONFERENCE September 27-28, 2002, HERSHEY, PA 
  • Mayor assesses childhood initiative 
    Thursday, September 7, 2000 S

    In a ceremony marking creation of a Child Care Health and Safety Fund, he told how grants were used.

    By Monica Yant Kinney

    While Mayor Street talks of spending $1 billion on sports stadiums and millions more to demolish abandoned buildings, a ceremony yesterday in City Hall showed just how far a few dollars can be stretched when it comes to providing safe, healthy child care.

    In one of his first acts as mayor, Street proclaimed 2000 to be the "Year of the Child." Yesterday, he talked about some results: $150,000 worth of grants that have gone to 83 family day-care providers and child-care centers.

    A mere $800 helped one Mount Airy woman buy fencing and a canopy to protect the backyard where children play. A $1,000 grant allowed a Germantown woman to install safe stairs in her home, while $5,000 bought a Chinatown day-care center a new sink.

    "Taking care of our children, who really are the most vulnerable among us, is no less important than anything else we do," Street said at a ceremony yesterday for the newly established Child Care Health and Safety Fund. "If this city is going to make progress, we really need to make children a priority."

    The goal is to help people in the child-care business stay afloat, and in compliance with city and state regulations.

    "We were concerned that people were having too hard a time meeting health and safety requirements. We didn't want people going out of business," said Harriet Dichter, the city's director of children's policy.

    Half the money came from the city, the other half from Child Care Matters, a privately funded regional initiative on child-care quality. A third of the grants tackled fire-safety issues; a quarter were directed at outdoor safety. The rest of the money was used for everything from lead-paint removal to purchasing educational materials and nutrition guides.

    Grants averaged $740 to individuals caring for up to six children in their homes; $2,500 for group day-care homes serving up to 12 children; and $4,700 for larger child-care centers.

    At Woodland Academy in Southwest Philadelphia, the $5,000 grant was used to replace old, rusty doors and to add security cameras and a new intercom system.

    "The neighborhood we have is kind of deserted. It's very dark," said Sandra Pollard, who runs the center in a converted shower-door factory at 54th Street and Grays Avenue. "The security cameras make the staff and parents feel more secure."

    In Mount Airy, Alma Doumbouya used $800 to erect a six-foot fence around her property, repair concrete, and install a canopy and indoor/outdoor carpeting to better protect the four children she watches at her home.

    "Our most enjoyable time is usually outdoors," Doumbouya said. "We have riding toys out there, games we play. Sometimes we do our reading and our snacks out there."

    This spring, Children's Village in Chinatown had a state grant to open a new toddler classroom. Missing were funds to add a pint-sized sink.

    A $5,000 grant helped pay the $8,300 bill, said the center's executive director, Mary Graham.

    "Some people get excited about new books and computers. Our teachers were so excited about a sink," said Graham, whose center cares for 168 children, including 40 toddlers. "It means a lot easier supervision of children. And it means health and safety."

    An additional $200,000 has been allocated for the next round of grants, which will likely go to 114 applicants whose requests were deferred this summer.

    Monica Yant Kinney's e-mail address is



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