The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and the Foundation's board and staff remain steadfast in their determination to make a difference in the lives of young children in Stark County.

The Quality Child Care Initiative (QCCI) is based on the belief that every child deserves a good start in life and that all families should have access to high-quality early education and care, regardless of their ability to pay.  The work of the QCCI has led to funding commitments of over $6 million from outside organizations.  

The QCCI was formally launched in June 1998, following nearly a year of research and planning about how best to improve local accreditation, professional development, support services, and public awareness efforts. This long-term, strategic initiative focuses on improving the quality of early education and care in Stark County by ensuring that Stark County's children, from birth through age eight, receive the finest early education and care in the country.  

The work of the QCCI led to grant funding of over four million dollars from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish a SPARK initiative (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) in Ohio. This kindergarten readiness program, which is rapidly spreading throughout Ohio, works with preschool-age children and their families to help prepare them for school. For more detailed information about SPARK visit

The Foundation is interested in improving the quality of the education and care provided in Stark County centers, preschools, and family child care homes. Requests for proposals are periodically issued to local nonprofit centers and preschools that are interested in pursuing accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In addition, support for the accreditation of family child care homes by the National Association of Family Child Care is provided through the Family Child Care Project at the Early Childhood Resource Center.

Professional Development

The Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) opened its doors in 2000. The ECRC was created to provide educational opportunities and supports for Stark County early childhood professionals working in all settings, including family child care homes, child care centers, Head Start programs, and school districts. Parents and professionals who serve young children also participate in ECRC programs and make use of ECRC resources. The ECRC provides on-site training programs, a state-of-the-art production lab, classrooms, and offices.

In collaboration with the Stark County District Library, the ECRC houses a lending library that contains a collection of children's fiction and non-fiction books, Big Books, videos, CDs, and tapes, along with a broad selection of parent/teacher resource books and professional videos.

For more information, call (330) 491-ECRC (3272) or visit

Support Services
Support services for child care centers and family child care providers are offered in response to needs identified through the Foundation's ongoing evaluation efforts. The Family Child Care Project was funded as a result of a 1999 independent survey of 1,000 Stark County households that showed that over half of the area’s children younger than five were being cared for in home-based settings. In response, the Foundation has provided funding to establish a comprehensive support program for family child care providers. Nearly 200 family child care providers have been served by this outreach program that provides resources, family child care accreditation support, scholarships, and training opportunities.

Public Awareness

The Foundation continually advocates for local, state, and national support of early education and care issues, and has committed financial and in-kind resources to ongoing advocacy efforts.

For more information on the Foundation’s early childhood initiatives, contact Foundation President Joni T. Close at

Sisters of Charity