Maui News

Family Child Care Providers Achieve National Recognition

February 13, 2018, 10:13 AM HST
* Updated February 13, 10:15 AM
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Pegeen Echavaria (Learn, Play, Pray Daycare) worked with Windward Community College’s Learning to Grow Project and their NAFCC Accreditation Facilitation Project to earn this prestigious accreditation. Photo Courtesy Department of Human Services

Helen McComber and Pegeen Echavaria are the first two home-based child care providers in Hawai‘i to achieve national accreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care.

The Department of Human Services and Windward Community College’s Learning to Grow Project collaborated to provide funding and technical assistance so providers like McComber and Echavaria could achieve accreditation.

NAFCC sponsors the only nationally recognized accreditation system designed specifically for family child care providers. Accreditation is awarded to providers who meet the requirements and quality standards in five main content areas: focusing on relationships, the environment, developmental learning activities, health and safety, and professional business practices.

“Our vision is for Hawai‘i residents to thrive. The success of our keiki ages 0 to 5 is integral to their future and the well-being of their families. Ensuring children have access to safe, quality early childhood learning opportunities translates into better outcomes for kids and their families for years down the line,” said Department of Human Services Director Pankaj Bhanot.

McComber (Nā Pua Learning Academy) and Echavaria (Learn, Play, Pray Daycare) worked with Windward Community College’s Learning to Grow Project and their NAFCC Accreditation Facilitation Project to earn this prestigious accreditation.


The Learning to Grow Project, funded by DHS, supports providers to increase their capacity and quality with monthly training sessions, home visits, observations, and one-to-one coaching sessions as they move toward accreditation.


Echavaria appreciates what the accreditation project gave her: “a chance to network and talk to others in my profession, to look at things that I’m already doing, but in a different way. [It] also confirms the good work that we are doing—sometimes you need reminders that we are making a difference and our work is important.”

“This national accreditation award presented to Helen and Pegeen honors the hard work and dedication that they promote and execute on a daily basis to provide a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for the young children in their home care programs. We are so proud of them,” said Mary Ann Nemoto, Learning to Grow’s project administrator.

Collaboration between Learning to Grow, the State of Hawai‘i DHS, and child care providers pays dividends for families. With more accredited providers, parents in Hawai‘i will have more opportunities to expose their children to high quality early learning experiences.


“Being a parent myself, I understood that mākua (parents) truly want the best for their keiki in all aspects of their lives, especially education,” said McComber. “To meet this need I worked to obtain accreditation demonstrating my commitment to students, their families, and the level of education provided at Nā Pua Learning Academy. As families trust their keiki’s most fundamental years of learning and growth, we have a kuleana, both a responsibility and privilege, to provide the best education possible which is demonstrated through accreditation,” she added.

Currently, there are 349 DHS-registered family child care providers in Hawai‘i.

Registered family child care is defined as a single person, providing child care in his or her own home, for no more than six children at any given time.

For more information about the Learning to Grow Project, call 462-4700 or click here.

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