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Circle of Security in the Community

Investing in Early Relational Health

Supporting Family Childcare in the United States

The Story of All Our Kin

All Our Kin is a nationally recognised nonprofit that supports and sustains family child care educators using a high-touch, strength-based approach. All Our Kin is based in Connecticut and New York in the northeastern region of the United States. A 2015 evaluation of the impact of COSP on All Our Kin educators found a significant increase in reported self-efficacy for dealing with challenging behaviors. Qualitatively, 94% of providers reported that participation decreased their stress level; 97% reported that they viewed the behavior of children in their care differently; and 94% reported that the behavior of children in their care "is better" or "is much better" following their participation in the program. Click here to read an article about the published study based on the All Our Kin experience.

To read the study itself, see: Gray, S. A. O. (2015). Widening the Circle of Security: A quasi-experimental evaluation of attachment-based professional development for family child care providers. Infant Mental Health Journal 36(3), 308-319. Click here to read the study.

Since 2013, All Our Kin has facilitated COSP groups for 117 family child care educators who collectively serve over 936 children. Bringing COSP to educators and families has been possible thanks to support from donors such as, United Way of Greater New Haven, the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, the Department of Social Services and the State of Connecticut, who have championed healthy attachment and social emotional learning for years. In addition to holding COSP groups for educators, with the support of the United Way of Greater New Haven, All Our Kin have also had over 40 parents/guardians participate in COSP groups.

A COSP group of educators sitting around a table

Inside a family child care educators COSP group. Six educators in this group went on to become facilitators themselves after receiving stipends from the Connecticut Dept. of Children and Families.

The Story Behind the Data by Marina Rodriguez

At All Our Kin, the story behind the data is best told in Circle terms. At each of All Our Kin sites, a majority of our staff are trained in COSP, from the office assistant to the directors. COSP is part of our culture, and many of its phrases - including "Being With," "fill your cup," and "Hands" - are all part of a common vocabulary. All Our Kin staff view themselves as the Hands for family child care educators. This allows educators to care for their children with a full cup as they are the hands for the families and children in their family child care programs.

One of the most amazing transformations I have ever witnessed in my career facilitating COSP has been to watch the change in perspective of an adult who early in the group spoke adamantly about infants being spoiled by adults who hold/carry them too much. By the end of the 8 weeks that same adult had completely changed their mind, especially after reflecting on their own upbringing and where their own emotions were neglected. By the end of group, this caregiver vows to engage with infants differently.

One of the reasons why All Our Kin brought COSP to family child care is because we believe that adults' behaviors change through reflection that happens in the context of a trusted relationship with another adult. The family child care educators who are part of the All Our Kin network trust All Our Kin and our staff. In turn, the educators feel comfortable being vulnerable while learning and trusting that the information that is being presented to them through the COSP program will help them become better adults in the lives of children. They come to the group, they listen, reflect, go to their programs, try it out and return to the group with deep stories about how they tried and many times succeeded in creating a better quality relationship with kids in their care.

For more on the application of COSP in the Classroom, start with our page on COSP with Carers and then head to our page on COSP in the Classroom.

One story that I will never forget was a story an educator told me about a young toddler who was having a really hard time at her program and cried a lot during a particular day. The educator told me how she felt her own "shark music" when the child cried and realized she was reacting to the "shark music." She put the child down, told the child to calm down, and in the middle of that reaction, she remembered our conversations during the COS group, and said, "Wait" to herself. She paused, breathed, and said to the baby, "I know you need me to comfort you, and you need me to hold you." She held the toddler and walked and talked to her. While she was walking her, the toddler calmed down. The educator said that prior to being part of COSP she would have let that child cry. This story and many like this one are common stories I have heard from educators that have joined our COSP groups. Hearing this and witnessing these shifts in adults who work directly with children are some of the most rewarding experiences in my professional career and in my life in general.

In the following video, Marina Rodriguez reflects on how COSP has impacted she and her colleagues at All Our Kin.

Click for closed captions (English and Spanish available).

More recently, with the support of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, we have supported family child care educators to become COSP facilitators themselves. Eleven All Our Kin educators have been trained as COSP facilitators. With All Our Kin's support they are facilitating COSP groups for the families they serve as well as their colleagues.

Family Child Care educators Maria Amado and Rosa Bodden posing with foster parents who have just completed a COSP group at All Our Kin.

Family Child Care educators Maria Amado and Rosa Bodden were trained as COSP facilitators: here they are posing with foster parents who have just completed a COSP group at All Our Kin.

A celebratory cake with Circle of Security artwork on the frosting