Camille Lachar-Lofar, Arizona AEYC board treasurer (left) and Susan Randolph (right) at her hosted Child Care Provider Appreciation Celebration Luncheon on May 6, 2023 (Photo credit: Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children)
In celebration of Child Care Provider Appreciation Day on May 12, DES recognizes the importance of Arizona’s child care provider network, as the Department contracts with more than 2,300 child care centers, homes and family providers statewide, as well as state and community agencies that support the child care community and families’ access to high-quality, early care and education settings for their children.
One of those providers is Susan Randolph, the owner of Nana’s House of Children in Maricopa. Not only is she a child care provider, she also serves as the representative for Arizona for the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC).
Susan hosted the first annual Child Care Provider Appreciation Luncheon on May 6.
The event celebrated the accomplishments and hard work of the family child care provider community, which serves families by caring for children in the providers’ homes. It hasn’t always been easy for this part of the child care community. The pandemic impacted many family child care providers heavily, and Susan said she feels like they are often unsung heroes, as parents are unable to work if they don’t have a place that can care for their children.
“We’ve lost so many child care homes, and we’ve lost centers too, but we’ve lost a lot more family child care providers in the last couple of years, and so hopefully this [event] will keep them excited about the work that they do, and encourage them to continue in the work,” said Susan.
Being a DES-contracted child care provider allows for Susan and her staff to care for up to 10 children at a time, and it also allows for income-eligible families to have support through DES to pay a portion of child care costs while they work, attend school or training programs, job search or other eligible qualifying activities.
“They know they’re getting a quality home that they can take their children to and that they’re going to be cared for, fed, things of that nature,” said Susan.
Susan started as an Arizona family child care provider in 2019, but she has been in the child care industry for about 40 years. It all started in a place about 6,000 miles away from Arizona - on a military base in Munich, Germany.
Susan Randolph with other members of the child care provider community during the Child Care Provider Appreciation Celebration Luncheon (Photo credit: Arizona AEYC)
In the late 1980s, her family moved to Germany as her then-husband was in the military. When Susan and her family arrived, she wanted to find a way to spend time with her children more often, and that’s when her passion for child care began.
“I didn’t want my children to be ‘latchkey kids’ in a country where they did not speak the language,” said Susan. “We moved to Munich, and I became a family child care provider on base there in order to be home with my children, to spend more time with them, and then I took in some of the other military families’ children, and that’s actually how I began working in this field.”
Fast forward to the present day, Susan is still supporting the child care community through all of her efforts with Nana’s House of Children and the NAFCC. For Child Care Provider Appreciation Day, she wants everyone to know, whether you’re a parent, a child care provider or someone looking to get into the field, that the difference a family child care provider can make on a child and a family is invaluable, and being a provider is one of the most rewarding experiences.
“This is valuable work that we do, and we put our mind, body and soul into nurturing children and trying to help shape their future,” said Susan. “Children truly appreciate what you’re doing for them, and you get a lot of parents that really appreciate what you’re doing, too.”
To find more information on child care opportunities, including how to become a child care provider, please visit the DES Division of Child Care web page.