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The Child Care Resource & Referral Agency at East Central University has raised the bar for delivering information and referrals to families seeking child care in south central Oklahoma. The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) has announced that ECU's Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (ECU CCRRA) has attained Child Care Aware® Quality Assurance, national recognition for its high-quality family services.

The Child Care Aware® Consumer Education Quality Assurance Program -- a national voluntary certification for Child Care Resource & Referral agencies -- is designed to ensure that families across the nation have access to consistent, high-quality services that support them in making informed child care choices.

"We are very proud to have achieved Quality Assurance for our child care resource and referral services," said Cheryl Bell, ECU coordinator. "Since 1998, we have been helping families navigate the complex early care and education system in Oklahoma and assist them in identifying high-quality child care. This national seal of approval ensures that families are receiving the best possible information in regard to child care."

ECU CCRRA's referral specialists provide parents with information they need to make wise child care decisions. With a specialist's help, Bell said, parents are better prepared to know what to look for to ensure that their child care program is high-quality; identify the ideal child care program that meets their needs; determine if they should stay home or return to work after having a new baby; and more.

Before being granted Quality Assurance, ECU CCRRA was required to take part in a rigorous year-long application process, guided by a quality assurance specialist that offered one-on-one training and support. ECU CCRRA was evaluated by a validation panel that reviewed its application and conducted a series of "secret shopper" calls and interviews of key staff.

"ECU CCRRA's achievement places it in the top quarter of the nation's CCR&Rs for their consumer education and referral services," said Linda K. Smith, executive director of NACCRRA, which includes the Child Care Aware® program. "ECU CCRRA has proven itself to be one of the best resources in south central Oklahoma for parents seeking information about child care."

In addition to helping families find child care and other parenting resources, ECU CCRRA also has child care consultants on staff to assist area child care providers with training requirements and on-site technical assistance and offers two lending libraries, one at ECU and one in Shawnee.

Services are offered for 11 counties in south central Oklahoma including Carter, Garvin, Johnston, Love, Marshall, Murray, McClain, Okfuskee, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie and Seminole. All services for parents and providers are free. To learn more, visit or contact the agency at 1-800-862-5593 or

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