Meet Valeria

Valeria arrived in the United States five years ago when she was 28 years old. She had left the Dominican Republic with her husband and three children to build a new life in New York City. But with just a high school education, she didn’t have many choices for employment.

Luckily, she found Union Settlement’s Family Child Care Network.

“I never expected to have a job taking care of children, but I am really happy I do,” says Valeria. “Providing child care out of my home allows me to have my own business and also care for my children when they come home from school.”

Union Settlement’s Family Child Care Network (FCCN) trains qualified neighborhood residents to set up their own licensed home-based early child care centers.

We provide oversight and administrative support for all sites within the Network. Each provider is given training on implementing a research-based curriculum that supports children’s development and learning throughout the year. Staff members serve as an additional resource to ensure all children are cared for in licensed homes that are educationally sound, safe and healthy. Today, over 200 infants and toddlers attend about 60 home-based child care centers throughout East Harlem and in nearby communities.

Valeria, along with her husband, currently cares for a group of children, all approximately two years old. The children are dropped off as early as 8 am and often stay in Valeria’s care until 6 pm.

Valeria is able to provide a safe and nurturing environment, while encouraging the children’s developmental growth. Her services allow parents to attend school or work to support their own families. 

One of the children in Valeria’s care has developmental delays, so she is also responsible for arranging for therapists to come to her home to provide special services for the child. 

“It’s a long day, but I really love my work,” says Valeria. “We are like a big family.”

Valeria is just one of the 10,000 East Harlem residents who are helped each year by Union Settlement, which provides education, wellness and community-building programs to children, youth
and adults in East Harlem, one of New York’s most underserved

For over a century, we have been a beacon of hope and opportunity for immigrants and their families from all over the world.  In these troubling times, we will continue to ensure our community is a welcoming one.

Please contribute generously so we can continue to provide critical programs to the East Harlem community.

Learn more on how to support Valeria, and the other 9,999 residents of East Harlem that Union Settlement supports each year.