The Child & Family Network Centershttps://cfnc-online.org
Forty years ago, mothers living in public housing in Alexandria’s Charles Houston Area discovered that 17 of their children would not be moving on from kindergarten to first grade. They immediately sprang into action, founding The Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC) to make sure this never happened again. They hired their first teacher, Barbara Mason, who led CFNC until 2011. Born out of necessity and the intense desire for their children to achieve academic success, CFNC’s first class was subsequently recognized as gifted by their public school. CFNC has never strayed from this vision; our work not only educates the child, but partners with families to locate resources for basic needs, remove barriers to success, and empower them to advocate for their children in school and beyond. Our mission and Racial Equity Vision (summarized above) inform our daily work and are designed to eliminate racial equity gaps, so our families will thrive.
CFNC builds power within our community—the same community that founded our organization. Our model is effective because it was created and is implemented by our families—including former parents and students who joined our staff. What sets us apart from other free preschools is three-fold. We:
(1) speak the languages our families speak. CFNC is the only nonprofit in the City of Alexandria that provides multilingual educational environments and wraparound family services. Our staff speak English and Spanish, Arabic, Amharic, and Dari to reflect the diverse languages spoken by our families.
(2) extend services to working families with low incomes and limited English proficiency who are ineligible for other programs, including families who have immigrated to the United States.
(3) purposefully locate classrooms in neighborhoods where our families live to eliminate transportation barriers. Our families can walk to our classrooms and our Family Support Workers meet them in their homes. CFNC goes to families and does not require families to take two buses or pay for transportation to come to us. Many CFNC teachers live in the same neighborhood as they teach.