Since 1995, TFC/LF has served as Larimer County’s only early childhood and family resource centers. Now one of 31 family resource centers in the state, TFC/LF provides high quality early childhood education (ECE) to more than 75 children whose parents work and attend school, extensive crisis and family strengthening services as well as leadership and policy opportunities to more than 400 families annually. With more than 30% of the staff at TFC/LF being native Spanish speakers and over half being bilingual, TFC/LF is a trusted and safe place for Latinx families and is looked to by the Fort Collins and surrounding community as a leader in racial equity work. El Nidito was opened in 2000, in response to the community’s desire for affordable and accessible early childhood education and remains one of only two nonprofit ECE centers in the County, bearing much of the financial and quality/classroom dynamic burdens of Larimer County’s 3+ year closed CCCAP waiting list. Nearly 90% of enrolled families receive some form of financial assistance for care. Because of the extensive needs of the children due to a myriad of factors, TFC/LF has been significantly investing in quality improvements including educational, social and emotional support interventions for children and staff over the past two years.
Adopted by the board of directors in 2018 with extensive input from staff, families and the community, the mission of The Family Center/La Familia (TFC/LF) is:
Working alongside diverse families we provide high quality childcare and supportive services, with an emphasis on cultural attunement with the Latinx community. This work is done with an explicit vision of creating a community in which all families are safe, supported, and thriving.
In addition to the mission and vision, there are six core values that guide the work and are clearly defined as follows:
Inspiring confidence and mutual respect creates a foundation for reliable support and good stewardship.
Every person has inherent dignity and is worthy of respect and empathy.
Non-dominant cultures, identities, perspectives, and experiences are celebrated, embraced, and inform direction.
The structural, cultural, and relational inequities experienced by oppressed groups must be courageously recognized and dismantled.
All people feel welcome, valued, and empowered to contribute to, and participate in, community.
Loving, healthy relationships are critical for children in the first five years of life and benefit the child, the family, and the entire community.
Three Pillars of Services:
These values and mission execution are accomplished through three primary pillars of services which are in direct alignment with Caring for Colorado Foundation’s focus areas and initiatives. As Larimer County’s only family resource and early care and education center, TFC/LF offers quality ECE programming and a full array of supportive services to over 1,000 individuals and over 400 families each year. In addition, beginning in 2017, TFC/LF began to play a lead role in upstream community efforts around policy advocacy and diverse community engagement for both affordable housing as well as access to affordable early childhood education.
El Nidito, TFC/LF’s state-licensed, Colorado Shines level 3 rated, early care and education program, providing a multicultural and bilingual experience for up to 75 children and families every day. TFC/LF partners with Poudre School District to provide the Colorado Preschool Program and Larimer County’s only center-based option for Early Head Start.
Culturally responsive family strengthening and support programs in the community. Utilizing a two-generation model of support for adults through the provision of specific programs like ESL, citizenship classes, parent education programs, and emergency assistance, TFC/LF provides responsive programming to our community’s most disparately affected and marginalized families, most of whom do not identify as English being their primary spoken language.
“Mi Voz”, funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Office of Health Equity, which utilizes community development strategies to advocate for the protection and preservation of mobile home parks in Larimer County. Through this project, additional work around resident advocacy and leadership training is emerging and TFC/LF is partnering with entities such as Colorado State University Extension, the City of Fort Collins, the Early Childhood Council of Larimer County, and others to both enhance leadership skills among communities of color as well as change existing systems that perpetuate oppression and prohibit diverse engagement in processes that lead to improved outcomes for children, youth and families.