The core programs of the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama are child care, CATCH, SRBWI, Civic Engagement and AOP.
- Child care training, technical assistance, advocacy, organizing, and leadership development: improving, supporting, and promoting accessible licensed child care in homes and centers throughout the state. Activities include regional and state workshops and meetings, and community meetings, to educate both child care providers and parents about child care funding and policy, and organize them to advocate for change. FOCAL has been involved in every major policy practice and decision regarding child care in Alabama since 1972. During the past decade, FOCAL’s attention has been on the quality and funding of child care in Alabama, in both home settings and centers.
- Community development using FOCAL’s MCTT™ (More Is Caught Than Taught) and CATCH™ (Communities Act to Create Hope); Out of its work in communities, FOCAL has created two effective and replicable processes: More is Caught than Taught (MCTT™) and Communities Act to Create Hope (CATCH™) . MCTT™ builds on the reality that children absorb and internalize messages from their environment about their worth and prospects for success and prosper in circumstances where adults challenge their own internalized oppression, relate to each other with respect and appreciation and experience their power to bring about change. MCTT™ is tailored to the concerns of community-centered child care. CATCH™ adapts MCTT™ for a broader array of community organizations and groups. A unique component of CATCH™ is its direct approach to facing the external and interior barriers to community action. The process guides people to examine their own lives courageously and free themselves from perceptions of inadequacy and powerlessness. The process transforms people and communities from the inside. Hope emerges as people experience new models of cooperation and power sharing. Hope generates responsibility, action and change.
- Dismantling Racism: Through all its programs FOCAL addresses racism from the systemic to the personal levels. FOCAL’s Raising the Curtain on Race conference in April, 2013 was a long-awaited and much needed conversation about race and its impact on our communities. Dr. Shakti Butler utilized her film “Cracking the Codes” as a tool to deepen individual’s thinking around racial disparities. Participants were encouraged to take the time to have much needed conversations acknowledging that there are open wounds of racism and inequities that are being constantly repeated. She shared several resources to participants to aid them in moving the conversations forward in their communities. Many participants confirmed that this conversation gave them the courage and the tools to have a discussion in their local communities. As a result of this conference, many participants returned to their communities and initiated discussions on race with community members.
- Civic Engagement: FOCAL’s aim is to inform and develop community members to be strong advocates for themselves and for the issues they want to address.
- Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (adults and young women): advancing economic and social justice for women and young women in the Black Belt counties of Alabama. Activities are conducted to attain improvement in economic and social conditions by organizing, educating and building community projects.
- Alabama Organizing Project: FOCAL collaborates with five other Alabama grassroots organizations in implementing a Grassroots Leadership Development program and a community liaison program for emerging local community leaders. AOP partners effectively strategize, organize, and advocate for policy change, particularly in child care, transportation, health care reform and constitutional and tax reform.
- Alabama Child Care Alliance: guiding and supporting the growth and development of a coalition of agencies, organizations, child care facilities and parents that is committed to ensuring that every child in Alabama has access to early care and education environments that are designed and inspected to be safe, healthy, and supportive of the well-being of children.
- Center for Community Change: FOCAL trained civic engagement fellows to hold town hall meetings in their communities and to inform community members about retirement security issues and the links with poverty and fair and just wages.