Maria's Journey: A Champion in Family Child Care Advocacy

March 28, 2024 / 5 mins read

In a powerful display of solidarity, educators, parents, and child care advocates across Connecticut will come together next week for the 3rd Morning Without Child Care. This event serves as a platform for the community to rally with a shared voice, calling on legislators to create a child care system that meets the needs of every family and educator.

Among those helping to drive this movement forward in Hartford is Maria Amado, who is leading efforts in Hartford. As a dedicated family child care educator who partners with All Our Kin, Maria’s active involvement in events like Morning Without Child Care has propelled her into a pivotal role in reshaping the child care landscape.

Maria with fellow educators at Morning Without Child Care in March 2023

Maria’s family child care journey began almost a decade ago, when she faced the challenges of juggling the responsibilities of motherhood, being a foster parent and having full-time employment. “ I needed to leave my job, and a social worker noticed that I have a special way with children,” she recalls. This encouragement prompted Maria to take the leap, becoming the proud owner of Green World Family Child Care in Hartford, Connecticut.

Since then, Maria has poured her heart into creating a nurturing environment where children not only learn, but thrive. Through her dedication, Maria has facilitated a Circle of Security series, one of the workshops she took with All Our Kin, which is geared toward improving the emotional well-being of educators and children. Her leadership has not only opened doors for Maria with the Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health, but has also positioned her to lead their Infant Mental Health series.

Green World Family Child Care has become more than just a program — it’s “a place that fosters a supportive community and serves as a beautiful healing space for both families and children,” shares Marina Rodriguez, All Our Kin’s Educational Mentor Coach.

Maria pictured with her children at Green World Family Child Care

Her dedication to advocacy and leadership have earned Maria great success and recognition. She was recently honored as the National Association for Family Child Care’s Accredited Provider of the Year, while her collaborative work with educators and organizations across the state has led to an increase in Care4Kids funding. At a grassroots level, Maria spearheaded the Hartford Family Child Care Educator’s Community, which has recently evolved into a 501c3 nonprofit organization. She also represented fellow educators on Capitol Hill, amplifying their voices in critical discussions about child care issues, in addition to other advocacy efforts.

“There are so many overlooked aspects of family child care – the dedication to studying after work, the absence of fixed schedules and the roles educators play beyond teaching.” These truths are what fuel Maria’s fight.

It is Maria’s passion and advocacy that brought Gov. Ned Lamont and Beth Bye, Commissioner of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, to Maria’s program last December to announce the launch of a paid apprenticeship program. This initiative provides essential support to home-based providers, expanding options for child care across the state. “When you walk in there, that's every bit as educational as a center-based preschool or a center-based child care program,” Bye told local media after her visit.

Maria’s journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of passion, dedication and commitment in shaping a system that embodies inclusivity, support and opportunity for every child and educator. As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we honor Maria, whose invaluable contributions are not only shaping history but also paving the way for a brighter future for family child care.