Michelle Saint Hilarie Invited to Join Early Childhood Innovation Network

Michelle Saint Hilarie, the Senior Statewide Director of the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) network, operated by Child & Family Resources, was selected this past July to join OpenIDEO’s new Early Childhood Innovation Network. As a founding member of this network, Saint Hilarie will help guide the development and direction of this new resource.

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Building Bright Futures Wins Losos Prize for Excellence

Building Bright Futures Wins Losos Prize for Excellence

Members of Child and Family Resources Building Bright Futures program team were recently honored by the Parents as Teachers national center (the accrediting agency for Building Bright Futures) with a Losos Prize for Excellence. The Parents as Teachers national center recognizes two exemplary affiliates each year through the Losos Prize. One affiliate is awarded the Losos Prize for Excellence and another affiliate is awarded the Losos Prize for Innovation. These affiliates are honored at the Parents as Teachers national conference, and receive a $5,000 award to support activities that further their work.   

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Congrats to our 2016 Project BEST Grads

We are so proud to celebrate Project BEST graduates! On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, the Brictha and Child & Family Resources cohorts gathered for a small ceremony to showcase their student projects and honor a year of hard work.

At Project BEST, students who are already working in the child care profession spend a year doing college-level coursework, and individualized coaching. They are going above and beyond to learn more about how to meet the fundamental needs of infants and toddlers in group care settings through six essential program policies: primary care; small groups; continuity of care; individualized schedules and routines; inclusion; and cultural sensitivity and responsiveness. 

The ceremony included Speakers Naomi Karp, Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, Families and Communities as well as Keynote speaker, Judy Jablon, Author & National Speaker.

Here are our 2016 Graduates:

Brictha Cohort

  • Bina Alam
  • Rita Alegria
  • Jamie Caruth
  • Lucy Mendez
  • Mireya Santibanez

Child & Family Resources Cohort

  • Ana Luisa Arvizu
  • Kimberly Carlson
  • Francisca “Liz” Casanova
  • Gloria de los Rios
  • Cassandra Fernandez
  • Patricia Grogan
  • Cindy Miller
  • Paula Lopez
  • Margot Sandoval
  • Maria Valenzuela

We would like to thank Naomi Karp and Heidi Elizondo from United Way for continuing to believe in the changes that Project BEST is creating in the early childhood community; Judy Jablon for take time to speak to our graduates; Amber Jones, Early Education Consultant, for her work on the grant this year; Tiffany Simon for being overall amazing, and particularly helpful on graduation day; and Diane Fellows and Connie Espinoza for their continued support of Project BEST.

Corner Office: Imagine a Future

We just wrapped up our 7th annual Champions for Children & Families fundraising luncheon. Many of you joined us to celebrate to support families and honor the champions in our community.

The theme of our event was Imagine a Future. We want to extend that some vision with you, right now. Let’s do that …

Imagine a future where all children enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed. At Child & Family Resources we use proven, cost effective strategies to increase the numbers of young children who have the skills to thrive. Professionals talk about the importance of Kindergarten readiness and the ability to read by third grade. If a child can’t read by third grade he or she is statistically far more likely to be a high school dropout, be on welfare as an adult, get arrested, get divorced, and develop problems with drugs or alcohol. Apparently some private prison companies use regional third grade reading scores to help determine where to build more prisons for future customers!

Imagine a future where all young children, especially those living in poverty, have a chance to attend a quality preschool. Today just one in six Pima County toddlers does so. At Child and Family Resources we partner with early childhood educators and preschools/child care centers to increase quality, provide needed support and incentives, and build a stronger early childhood education system. The sooner our society can learn that public investment in education and school needs to begin long before Kindergarten, the sooner we will catch up with the many countries of the world with education outcomes and success vastly better than ours. American society continues to promote this antiquated notion that school is meant to begin at age five. Compare us to the many European and Asian countries whose average high school test scores are significantly better than ours. They invest in the first five years of life, and support early childhood education!

Imagine a future where all families are provided the tools, encouragement, and techniques to promote their children’s positive development and well being. At Child and Family Resources, we invite parents of newborn infants and toddlers, particularly those who come from backgrounds of poverty, violence, or substance abuse, to work with our trained counselors. These home visitors partner with parents, providing services in family’s homes, to promote healthy child development, effective nurturing, and rewarding parenting. Investing in home visitation programs is a far more cost effective way to promote literacy and school success than remediation programs that public schools offer.

Imagine a future where children with disabilities or developmental delays have every chance to reach their potential. At Child and Family Resources, our staff- physical therapists, speech pathologists, and counselors partner with parents of young children with special needs to teach them strategies to promote optimal development.

Imagine that future … and now let’s make it so. Join us in efforts to make these things possible! Sign up for our quarterly newsletter, support our efforts, and vote for changes that support families.

Together, we can make this future a reality. 

Corner Office: Critical Years for Childhood Education

A letter from Eric Schindler, President and CEO 


We all know, and much scientific research confirms, the fact that early childhood education is one of the most important experiences to ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to succeed.  This is particularly true for children who grow up in poverty or in other traumatic environments.  Yet, fewer than one in three Arizona children attend preschool, and only around 16% are in settings that have been found to be of high quality!

We have to shift our thinking about when to start schooling children.

If 90% of critical brain development occurs in the first five years of a child’s life, then providing high-quality education during those formative years can have a dramatic, long-term positive effect. 

Right now, in Arizona there is public funding to support K-12 public educations systems. We need to make those investments sooner in a child’s life.  Other developed countries in the world are ahead of the United States on this issue. These countries have realized that funding early childhood education leads to better outcomes for society, and actually saves money, when prison, welfare, and other downstream costs are reduced.  Their children’s test scores and academic performance are better than ours. 

Tulsa, Oklahoma invested over 10 years ago in pre-k education, and while full results are pending, early indicators are promising.  In other parts of the U.S., that awareness is dawning.  New York City is now offering universal preschool.  Several other cities, including Phoenix are working on proposals to raise taxes in different ways to pay for preschool for more children.

Here in Tucson, Child & Family Resources is joining forces with members from Children’s Action Alliance, Outer Limits Preschool, United Way of Southern Arizona, Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, the IDEA School, and Easter Seals Blake Foundation as Strong Start Tucson.  With our pooled expertise in early childhood we will work on advocacy issues and seek ways to raise more funds for early childhood education. 

As we as a community are able to ensure that more children, particularly those at risk, are able to attend preschool, we will move the needle on high school graduation rates and poverty reduction. 

Please, stay tuned for future opportunities to affect legislation and direct support to children.  

If you are interested in finding high-quality care and education for your child, you can visit our Child Care Resource & Referral – ARIZONA page.  


Eric Schinder, Ph.D.
President and CEO

Since 2005, Dr. Eric Schindler has been the President and Chief Executive Officer  for Child & Family Resources, Inc.  Dr. Schindler received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona in 1982. After internship training in child and family psychology at U.C. Davis, and postdoctoral training in pediatric psychology in Chicago, he has spent over 30 years working in Tucson community settings as an administrator, director, teacher and practitioner.  A licensed psychologist since 1984, he also served as an adjunct instructor in Family Studies at the University of Arizona for many years. 

Previously, Dr. Schindler served for nine years as the Director of Clinical Services for La Frontera Center, Inc., a comprehensive community behavioral healthcare organization, where he was also the Director of Training for the APA approved Southern Arizona Psychology Internship Consortium. He maintained a  private practice in psychotherapy for 20 years prior to assuming the leadership of Child & Family Resources.