Best Start for Kids – Youth & Family Homelessness Prevention
We help youth or family at risk of becoming homeless to receive the support needed to resolve their housing crisis quickly, and to empower households to maintain stable housing for the future.
This program is part of coordinated system of addressing homelessness throughout King County, working to resolve housing crisis before they result in a housing loss. We focus on addressing the immediate issues placing the family or youth at risk of homelessness. We can help negotiate payments plans with your landlord, connect you to additional supports, and limited assistance with rent and housing costs in combination with case management.
Youth and young adults (12-24) and families with children under the age of 24.
Households must be at imminent risk of homelessness and considered highly vulnerable to becoming homeless without assistance
Family cannot stabilize without help (example: higher wage, lower rent, social supports).
History of homelessness and evictions
Bere Sanchez, YFHPI Case Manager
Bere has over 10 years of experience working in social services. She has a passion for working with large diverse communities in King County.
This is not a rental assistance program and we cannot provide an ongoing rental subsidy.
Can my Case Manager pay my rent?
If there is rental debt associated with your current situation and you are at risk of becoming literally homeless, your case manager will discuss options with you. Some rental assistance may be available. If you are already being evicted, we have other programs to help.
Home visiting program to empower parents to be their child’s first teacher
Our program focuses on helping parents to develop skills and build their confidence using the Parents As Teacher curriculum. The program has different components that allow the families to explore in different environments: group sessions, home visits, assessments and resources. All of these customized to the family’s needs.
This program is focused on serving low-income, non-English speaking, immigrant or homeless families
King County Residents
Pablo is an engineer by profession, but has a passion for working with children and families. He has experience employing different approaches to children’s development.
Alejandrina is a Parent Educator with many years of experience in the field of education. She brings skills in the field of family well-being and instructional design.
Romina’s education in psychology means she puts a strong emphasis on mental health and family integrity. She has dedicated this part of her career to working with families and children.
Camila is a highly experienced paraeducator as an academic support professional. She worked for many years in school districts serving diverse children and families.
Please call Pablo for more information or to get involved!
Corazoncito is a Social Emotional Learning Program that includes academics to help young scholars succeed in school and in life. We do this by providing caregivers with resources they can practice at home in our monthly workshops and in our 1:2 academic 1-hour coaching sessions.
Attend Sunnycrest Elementary School
From a refugee/ immigrant family and/or
Isabel Crisostomo, Corazoncito Case Manager
Isabel is a University of Washington Alumni and daughter of migrant parents from the Mexican state of Michoacan. She has over six years of experience in education.
To get started, please apply via our interest form!
My child attends a different school; can they still be part of Corazoncito?
Preference is given to Sunnycrest students, but other children from other schools will be considered depending on program space.
Do I need to attend all the workshops and 1:2 coaching sessions?
We highly encourage you to be an engaged caregiver to benefit from the program to the fullest. However, we understand life happens. Please communicate your needs with the Case Manager so she can best support you.
Can more than one of my children be in the program?
Yes, if they meet the requirements. We have programs available for other ages as well.
We support low-income pregnant people or parents of kids under two years old.
We help pregnant people and/or parents of young children access the resources they need to keep them healthy and happy. These include:
Accompanying you during prenatal care visits
Child development support
Hybrid Visits (one home visit and one virtual)
Vroom activities and support for families
Help finding Resources and Referrals
Our monthly educational workshop, “Comadres”
King County or Federal Way resident
Accommodate 1-hour visits twice a month
Elisa has worked as a home visitor with El Centro de la Raza for more than five years. She is very passionate about her work and the families she serves. One of her favorite things about her job is being able to see the accomplishments of the families she works with. Elisa is also the mother of two beautiful children. Her family enjoys hiking and going out to try new food at new restaurants.
Home Visiting program that supports parents and children in their early stages of life.
The ParentChild+ program is part of the Early Learning Home Visiting department of El Centro de la Raza. ParentChild+ is a national model that aims to ensure that all children regardless of race, socioeconomic status or where they live have an equal chance from the beginning. Our Early Learning Specialists visit families twice a week to work with books and educational toys that we provide to families. We also offer comprehensive support to participants and connect them with community resources.
16-30 months old at enrollment
Not a previous/current ECE program participation
Income below 300% of the federal poverty guidelines
Priority to Latinx families, and families that are experiencing hardship
Omeury Arias, ParentChild+ Supervisor
Omeury supports the ParentChild+ team with learning opportunities, coaching, and enrolls families in the program. She loves working hands-on with the children, watching them explore creatively and seeing the world through their eyes.
Maria Perez, Early Learning Specialist
Maria loves to explore books and toys with the children and have them interact with the materials. That way she can observe which activities they are most engaged in and focus on those activities. She values our families, their time, and the great work they do with their children.
Daniela Diaz Vega, Early Learning Specialist
Daniela enjoy reading to the children and discovering new things and colors with them. She gives our participants resources from our community, connecting them with opportunities and other programs at El Centro de la Raza.
Deicy Perez, Early Learning Specialist
Deicy focuses on getting to know each family she works with. If they have any doubts, questions, or need help, she supports them by establishing a strong relationship founded in trust and respect.
She loves interacting with the children by playing with play-doh, drawing pictures and getting creative by finding materials to recycle for art.
The visits are hybrid, that is, one in person at a previously established location and another virtual, it can be held on WhatsApp, Facetime or Zoom—we are flexible. The first visit of the week is focused on introducing the new book or toy. The second visit is a review of the toy or book with further exploration of concepts and themes through additional activities.
What are the benefits of the program?
This program has so many benefits! During visits, our Early Learning Specialists help the child explore ways to read a book and stimulate imagination. The toys target different areas of children’s development, such as fine/gross motor coordination. Our Early Learning Specialists conduct on-going assessments to see how the children are developing and provide resources to families as needed. Families watch their children grow in their learning—data shows us that children who participate in ParentChild+ are more successful in school than a child in the same situation who did not participate. ParentChild+ helps families create a stable foundation so that their children can be successful in all areas of their lives.
Luis Alfonso Velásquez Flores After School Program
Mentoring and tutoring for elementary students ages 5-12
As a continuation of the José Martí Child Development Center, the Luis Alfonso Velásquez Flores After School Program promotes children’s dual-language development in Spanish and English, social justice awareness and cultural appreciation. The program supports students to improve academic success and positive interaction with students of all backgrounds through bilingual, multicultural mentoring and tutoring to improve school attendance, homework completion and academic performance. We offer before and/or after school care for students ages 5-12, and full-time care during the summer when students participate in fun and educational activities and field trips with changing themes throughout the weeks, to continue learning year-round and maintain grade-level proficiency.
The After School Program’s three main goals are:
Academic achievement, through homework assistance in both L1 (first language) and L2 (second language)
We work directly with the Seattle Public Schools to support the students’ education and to obtain necessary resources for families. We also encourage family involvement to ensure a holistic approach to a child’s academic success. Other components of the program include:
Academic enrichment activities
Cultural environment and event
Family support and resources
Social emotional development emphasizing emotion management, empathy, teamwork, responsibility, initiative and problem solving
The Luis Alfonso Velasquez After School Program partners with School’s Out Washington (SOWA), and based on evaluations by the Center for Youth Program Quality, they have been named a high quality center. In 2018, former After School Coordinator Maria Rico was honored by SOWA as an Expanded Learning Opportunity Champion. A teacher for over 22 years, Mari has been dedicated to providing an engaging and supportive environment to help children feel proud of their identity and culture, believe in themselves and build critical leadership skills. Her work exemplifies the positive impact that high quality programs can have on elevating opportunities for children and setting up them up for success. Maria now serves at the Director of our child development center at Cedar Crossing. Please click the link below to view highlights of the quality work done by Mari and the After School Program:
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I enroll my child in the After School Program at El Centro de la Raza?
The After School Program serves a maximum of 24 students ages 5-12. Due to this wide age range, we have very limited openings each year. We give priority to siblings of currently enrolled students and graduates of our José Martí Child Development, so students from these populations generally fill any openings we have. If you would like to join the waitlist, you can email Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you provide transportation?
Yes, we provide transportation from Beacon Hill International School and Kimball Elementary School to El Centro de la Raza. For students at any other schools, the parents are responsible for dropping their children off at the program.
High quality dual-language early learning education for children ages 1-5
Our José Martí Child Development Center (JMCDC) is a community-based program that serves children ages 15 months to 5 years old. Our bilingual, bicultural curriculum emphasizes cultural diversity, social justice and family involvement in order to develop children’s self-awareness, cultural pride, and self-esteem, which is combined with age-appropriate developmental activities in the four domain areas of development (cognitive, social/emotional, physical and language) to adequately prepare children for kindergarten. JMCDC was founded in 1972 with the inception of El Centro de la Raza.
The José Martí Child Development Center has three locations with several other sites opening over the next few years. The main location is on Beacon Hill in our historic schoolhouse building and the adjacent Plaza Roberto Maestas facility. Our satellite locations are in the International District at Hirabayashi Place and in the Roosevelt Neighborhood at Cedar Crossing. Please keep reading to learn more about each individual site. If you are interested in joining the waitlist for any of our sites, please see how below.
“It is for the children that we work, for they are the ones who know how to love, for they are the hope of the world.”
~José Martí (1853-1895)
The JMCDC curriculum is comprised of four main components:
Creative Curriculum 5th edition
Soy Bilingüe curriculum
themes of the month, and
social justice and community involvement.
The José Martí Child Development Centers on both Beacon Hill and at Hirabayashi Place have been rated as high quality Centers of Excellence through Early Achievers. Early Achievers is Washington’s quality rating and improvement system and provides a common set of expectations and standards to define and measure the quality of early learning settings. The Early Achievers Quality Standards promote and support comprehensive facility quality and help ensure that quality practices are having direct impact on individual children’s progress. This achievement is largely due to our caring and experienced staff, who maintain high quality instruction and classroom environments; all staff also regularly participates in ongoing professional development and health and safety trainings.
Our concept of language acquisition emphasizes learning in the context of daily life rather than through formal lessons. Our program is conducted in both Spanish and English, as well as English and Mandarin at Hirabayashi, on a daily basis, and our bilingual staff ensures that the customs and traditions of the Latino and Asian communities are reflected in the classrooms and curriculum, as well as the cultures of all students in the classroom. Using a pluralistic approach, we strive to promote and strengthen each child’s first language and culture while supporting the development of their second language and instilling an understanding and appreciation for diversity; all languages, cultures and traditions are validated. This bicultural programming fosters growth and development in a culturally-sensitive environment.
Our bilingual programming is based on elements of the Soy Bilingüe curriculum, which supports the development of both Spanish and English, or Mandarin and English, and provides strategies for small and large group time. We utilize strategies such as TPR (total physical response), where translation is not required and dual-language development is achieved using props, actions, gestures, motions, songs, poems and/or demonstrations. Other vital components include: unconditional love for all children, respect for cultural diversity, the cultivation of expression and creativity, family collaboration, a commitment to fairness and undoing bias, a child-centered and socially oriented approach, documentation and accountability to learning, and specialized skills in first and second language and literacy development. Each classroom utilizes these strategies to create their own learning plan to meet the needs of their individual students.
Dual language development is further supported through our themes of the month, which outline goals and vocabulary in both languages and are supplemented with relevant cultural and community events to provide authentic and valuable experiences. We also utilize our themes of the month to incorporate important values, as well as social justice and community involvement activities. The children are taught to appreciate and respect diversity by participating in each other’s cultures, which is achieved by incorporating different national celebrations, holidays, festivals, events and cooking into our daily curriculum. We are able to incorporate many guests and artists into our scheduled activities because our program is sponsored by El Centro de la Raza. These community events are introduced at the children’s level and expose the children to dance, music, art and civil rights activities. Involving our children in these activities teaches them that they have a responsibility to something larger than just themselves. Involvement in community-based activities creates respect for others and fosters in our children a sense of “unity within diversity.”
Through the research-based Creative Curriculum, we emphasize learning in the four main areas of development: cognitive, social/emotional, physical and language. We implement age-appropriate activities, which stimulate each child’s innate curiosity and desire to learn, and we support each child’s specific developmental needs through Individual Learning Plans. We evaluate the children’s development and progress using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire and the Teaching Strategies Gold assessment. TSG tracks children’s progress in 38 goals and objectives across the four main areas of development plus five content areas (literacy, math, science & technology, social studies, and the arts), as well as second language acquisition. This is all with goal for children to acquire the skills they will need to be successful in kindergarten in beyond.
Lastly, JMCDC utilizes only positive guidance and discipline policies, and we provide supports for any children with special needs. We work with families on the referral process or to connect with any other resources they may need.
Join the Childcare Waitlist
Please complete this online form; or send an email to Jessica at email@example.com with the complete information listed below:
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the waitlist?
The length of the waitlist varies by site and child’s age, so you will need to speak with the staff at each site to get a more accurate estimate. All sites and classes do have a waitlist, though, so in general, it won’t be possible for immediate enrollment, and most waits will be a minimum of one year or more.
We do also have some enrollment priorities including children who already have siblings enrolled in the program, participants of El Centro de la Raza’s other programs, and residents of the apartment buildings located above our centers (Plaza Roberto Maestas, Hirabayashi Place and Cedar Crossing). In addition, due to our goals of supporting diversity and maintaining 35% first language (other than English) in the classrooms, we may give priority to immigrant communities and families of color, and students who qualify for subsidy/low-income programs.
Are there only certain times of the year that you enroll kids?
We do enrollments year-round, whenever a space opens up. However, most of our openings become available each year between June through September, as our students graduating to kindergarten leave the program and other students do class-to-class transitions. For any mid-school year openings, we would generally find out about 30 days in advance before a space came available, and these are mostly dependent on if a family withdraws from the program.
Are meals included, or do we have to bring our own meals from home?
Breakfast, lunch and a snack are served each day and included in your tuition! We participate in the USDA program which provides funding for meals, so a nutritionist helps us plan healthy and nutritious meals. For any children with allergies or other dietary restrictions, we will work with families so the kitchen can make appropriate substitutions as necessary. Because of our funding through USDA, families are not allowed to bring their own food.
Is naptime required?
A rest time is offered in all classrooms and for all age groups. Children are not required to sleep, but the teachers will encourage all children to rest their bodies for at least 20-30 minutes. If children are still awake after that time, the teachers can provide quiet activities such as drawing, books, puzzles, etc. However, the teachers cannot intervene to keep children awake if they do fall asleep during the rest period.
Do you offer part time or part day care?
We are a full time program and do not offer part time or part day options. There is a set, monthly tuition for five days per week up to 10 hours per day, so it is possible to not attend every day or to attend shorter days, but there are no tuition discounts if you choose to do so.
The one exception is at the Beacon Hill site where we have one part-time class which is open from 9 am – 12 pm or 1:30 – 4:30 pm, September through June. Most of the spaces in this class are reserved for low-income students who qualify for the ECEAP program, but we have a limited amount of “private pay” spaces available each year as well.