Working in ECEC

Valerie Collins

Valerie Collins: Home Visitor, Family Child Care Connections, St. John’s, Newfoundland

Valerie Collins is a people person—a key requirement for being a home visitor in family child care.

Collins is one of two home visitors at Family Child Care Connections, a family resource centre and home child care agency in St. John’s. She recruits, supports and monitors the agency’s licensed providers who look after children in their own homes. She also helps parents who are looking for child care.

"We get up to five calls a day from parents," she says. "They are usually first-time mothers and we talk to them about what quality child care is and what to look for when interviewing a provider."

Collins’ work days are varied and include making home visits, filling out reports and dealing with any issues providers have.

The agency has a toy and equipment lending library that providers can use for specific themes in their programs. As well, Collins and the agency’s other home visitor organize and give family child care training (Level 1) once a year for new providers. They also organize sessions and teachers for advanced training (Level 3) for providers who have been with the agency for a number of years.

"I think the providers appreciate the support," says Collins. "They are so isolated and don't get to see many adults. They are comfortable calling us if they have any issues and if they need us on short notice we can go and see them."

Collins was a primary school teacher who took time out to stay home with her children before going back to the workforce as a home visitor. She got her child care certification through distance education courses at the College of the North Atlantic, which, combined with her teaching degree, gave her a level 3 certification.

Collins enjoys her job, but says one of the most frustrating aspects is that there is little regulated child care in Newfoundland. "Our spaces fill up really quickly. It’s frustrating because parents are left having to scramble to find child care."