Acre was founded in 1988 in response to two related economic and community development needs: jobs and child care. Acre provides training programs in English, Spanish and Khmer that enable women to run licensed family child care businesses in their own homes. The program has an innovative ripple effect in the community: the family child care providers earn a living and are able to stay at home with their own young children; at the same time, they offer child care to the community so other parents may work or attend job training programs.
Community Impact, 2000-2008
- More than 1,750 children received child care services. Acre's staff of child care specialists conducted over 3,100 visits to the family child care homes to ensure the children received safe and developmentally-appropriate care.
- 100 family child care providers participated in Acre's training program. Additionally, Acre offered 620 hours of workshops and classes for professional development and continued learning opportunities.
- Over $125,000 in small business loans were made to family child care providers to help buy educational supplies, make improvements to child care spaces, and to enroll in college courses or attend professional child care conferences.
- In 2006, Acre was selected by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care to participate in a longitudinal study of a new early literacy curriculum specifically for family child care providers called Learningames. Acre is training providers to use the curriculum in their program and providing monthly technical assistance visits to model the program with the children. Researchers periodically evaluate the children to assess the children's early childhood development and readiness for kindergarten.
- Anita Moeller, Founding Director of Acre Family Child Care, was named the 2003 Massachusetts Home-Based Business Advocate by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
- Acre Family Child Care was awarded the Vision 2000 Model of Excellence Award from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). The Administrator of the SBA, Aida Alvarez, visited Lowell to present the award to our staff and child care providers and referred to our program as "a model for the nation."