A History of Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C)
In the late 1960’s, the U.S. Department of Health and Welfare, Office of Child Development, began 24 pilot projects in various cities across the country with each project’s goal being the development of a comprehensive approach to coordinating child care services in its local community. These projects became known as 4-C agencies - Community Coordinated Child Care.
4-C in Louisville was one of the 24 pilot projects. The first planning meeting was held October 28, 1969. Minx Auerbach chaired both the planning committee and the new agency’s Board of Directors when it was incorporated in 1971. The initial $10,000 grant from the Office of Child Development was matched locally with funding from the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) - Louisville Section, and the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation.
The new agency was then, as it is now, dedicated to the development, improvement and coordination of high quality child care in the hope that every child in our community may have the opportunity to achieve his/her maximum potential.
The 4-C office was located in the Education Building on the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus with David Whealdan serving as the Executive Director. The first project was the development of a child care directory, which unfortunately, was out of date by the time it was published.
In 1970, the Kentucky Department of Economic Security contracted with 4-C to develop and expand child care services for economically disadvantaged children. As a result eight child care centers in low-income areas were developed and/or expanded by 1972. Child care subsidy as well as social and health screenings (requirements of the Title XX child care funds) were also provided under this contract. Matching funds were provided by United Way, NCJW, and the Junior League of Louisville.
In 1972, 4-C received United Way member agency status, and Pat Murrell was hired as the next Executive Director. The agency moved to 1355 S. Third Street to accommodate the expansion of programs and staff. 4-C became a child care training source by offering workshops for child care providers. (Today, 4-C provides training to over 3,000 child care staff each year.)
In 1977, 4-C was selected as a pilot site by the KY Department of Education, Division of School Food Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop an umbrella sponsorship model for child care center participation in the federal Child Care Food Program. In 1980, 4-C added sponsorship of family child care homes. Today, 4-C’s sponsorship of child care centers is one of the largest in the country.
Throughout the years, 4-C continued to grow and became active in the training of CETA child care workers and operating purchase of child care programs funded first by the City of Louisville and Jefferson County Fiscal Court. In the 1990’s, United Way began funding a purchase of child care program through 4-C. Early Intervention services for children with developmental disabilities and pre-school placements were also added in the mid-80’s.
In 1982, Elizabeth Grever became Executive Director, and continued the 4-C tradition of identifying and meeting community child care needs. One of the most notable was the recruitment and training of child care providers. In 1990, a $50,000 challenge grant from the City of Louisville was matched by the Fund for Women, NCJW, and 4-C memberships. This pilot project enabled 4-C to obtain a three year $260,000 grant from Target Stores and the Dayton Hudson Foundation to recruit and provide a comprehensive training program for family child care providers. Additional funding partners were Jefferson County Fiscal Court, NCJW, the Junior League of Louisville and United Way.
In 1987, with funding from the Jefferson County Fiscal Court and the Louisville Board of Aldermen, 4-C purchased the building at 1215 South Third St., which housed the agency until 2021.
In 1986, 4-C established a pro-active public policy program, with the goal of influencing local, state and national child care policies. 4-C was instrumental in passing state legislation in 1992 which established the current family child care system, the state-wide resource and referral network, and the training requirements for child care staff in centers and homes. In 1994, state legislation promoted by 4-C banned corporal punishment in child care and in 1996, banned concealed weapons in child care programs. At the national level, 4-C was instrumental in getting Congress to allow children in Kentucky child care centers, both non-profit and private, to participate in the federal Child Care Food Program.
The mid to late 1980’s saw national corporations beginning to view child care as an economic issue. 4-C assisted local businesses with child care issues, and developed and operated child care centers for the Courier-Journal and Capital Holding Corporation. 4-C currently administers employer sponsored subsidy programs, information and referral programs, and on-site seminars for employees of several local businesses.
In 1992, the Kentucky Cabinet for Human Resources, as a result of new state legislation and with federal Child Care and Development Block Grant funding, established the Kentucky Child Care Resource and Referral Network. Eleven new referral agencies were funded, bringing the total to 15. In 1993, 4-C opened a satellite office in Radcliff, KY, serving as the resource and referral agency for the Lincoln Trail AD District.
In 1993, 4-C expanded services in Indiana, contracting with the Indiana of Family and Social Services Administration to oversee state and federal child care subsidy funds in Floyd County. In late 1996, services were expanded to Clark County, Indiana. In 1997, 4-C received the contract to also serve these counties as the resource and referral agency, and established satellite offices in both Clark and Floyd counties.
In 1995, Susan Vessels became 4-C’s Executive Director, and continued to develop and promote services to improve the availability and quality of child care in the local area.
In January, 1998 4-C was selected by the Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children as the service agent for Jefferson and surrounding counties as well as the Lincoln Trail AD District, a total of 16 counties. As the service agent, 4-C became responsible for administering all state and federal child care subsidy funds in these areas for all eligible families. Staffing grew from 35 to over 90. Offices were established to administer the subsidy funds at the L & N Building in Louisville, Shelbyville, Bullitt County and several part-week locations in the Lincoln Trail counties.
In 2001, 4-C as well as other Kentucky R&R’s played a large role in the KIDS NOW Initiative. Governor Paul Patton’s Early Childhood Initiative funded additional personnel in R&R’s to provide technical assistance for a voluntary quality rating system (STARS) and assistance with professional development within the scholarship program. Local early childhood councils were also established. The administration of the STARS and Early Childhood Scholarship program of KIDS NOW was transferred to the University of Kentucky in 2003.
In 2011, 4-C partnered with MUW and Lift a Life to create the Excellence Academy.
In 2012, the Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children elected to award the child care subsidy administration services to a single provider in Lexington. Due to this change, 4-C staffing reduced from over 90 to 20 and the outlying office locations were closed. 4-C returned to its roots and continued to concentrate on providing quality services to children and families. 4-C obtained the license for KY Shared Services, an online platform, providing access to thousands of business and educational resources designed for child care providers.
In 2015, Janet Masterson became 4-C’s Executive Director after serving as the Assistant Director for many years prior and continued to carry out the agency’s mission.
In 2016, 4-C held the first annual Heart Centered Teaching Institute.
In 2017, Cori Gadansky became the 4-C Executive Director and brought with her years of agency knowledge from working with 4-C in her prior roles at our partner agency Metro United Way.
In 2019, 4-C partnered with Family and Children's Place and Shine Early Learning to begin Greater Louisville Head Start.
In 2021, 4-C adopted a new mission and vision as a part of the strategic planning process. Western Kentucky University received a contract from Cabinet to form the Family Child Network of Kentucky. 4-C became one of four agencies selected to join the network and began to serve Jefferson region.
In 2022, 4-C launched an online learning management system and a new option for providers to obtain their Child Development Associate credential.
Throughout the years, 4-C has been blessed by outstanding and committed leadership from volunteers, staff and board members. While the Board and staff leadership have changed over the past years, the purpose of the agency remains constant. 4-C has supported and enhanced quality child care over the years, and will continue in its tradition of supporting families by coordinating an evolving vision of an early childhood system for the 21st century.