Philly Childcare Collective (PCC) provides free and donation-based childcare for grassroots organizing meetings and events. We partner with groups led by low income and/or of color parents and families organizing for economic and racial justice in their communities. Our goal is to make it possible for parents, caregivers, and children to participate in social movements. We engage kids in activities and discussions to broaden their understandings of the world and catalyze them to think about justice and liberation. We see childcare as a political act, and we are excited about supporting organizations working towards racial and economic justice.
PCC has historically been an all volunteer organization. In 2023, as a practice of racial and economic justice, we will begin to offer stipends to members who need them.
All members provide childcare at meetings and community events. A smaller group of volunteers also act as coordinators. Coordinators communicate with groups requesting childcare, meet and train new volunteers, arrange toy pick-ups, provide information about PCC to the public, and generally ensure PCC is running smoothly.
The Philly Childcare Collective (PCC) was established in Spring 2008 by co-founders Ash Robbins and Chaska Sofia after seeing a need for childcare at events in their communities. PCC’s first event was a Bread & Roses Community Fund dinner honoring grantee organizations in Philly. Several of the organizations in attendance requested support from PCC, which led to our first partnerships. Some of the first groups PCC worked with are JUNTOS, Media Mobilizing Project (now Movement Alliance Project) and ACT UP Philly.
We believe childcare is a political act. PCC was founded by queer and trans BIPOC anarchists to provide solidarity and mutual aid to low income parent organizers and community members.
Mutual aid is people supporting each other without dependence on the government or the non-profit industrial complex.
We believe that whole communities are needed to care for children. We believe parents and caregivers are a crucial part of our liberation movements, and that no one should be limited in their participation in these movements because they don’t have access to childcare.
We prioritize working with organizations led by Black, Indigenous, POC, queer, and poor and working class Philadelphians. In our work with children, we aim to provide childcare that is joyful, friendly, and safe, and meets kids where they are. We believe children are powerful and creative human beings with rights. We uphold these values in the care and work we do.
Our Points of Unity
Points of Unity (& How We Practice Them)
We believe people of all ages, and the people who care for them, are crucial to our liberation movements. No one should be excluded from these movements because of their age or access to childcare.
1. Children are powerful and creative autonomous beings.
a. Working with kids: We recognize that young people are unique, with their own experiences, needs, interests, and behavior. We communicate with kids and their caregivers about what they might like to do, we attend to different abilities and developmental needs, and we work collaboratively with kids to solve problems.
b. Working with our partners: We strive to engage kids in activities, games, and discussions that are not only fun and safe, but also broaden their understanding of the world and catalyze them to think about justice and liberation.
c. Working within our collective: While many of the decisions in the collective are made by adults, we work to center and remind each other of young peoples’ autonomy and power in our decision making spaces. Collectively, we strive to inquire into and unlearn adultism.
2. Care is a collective responsibility.
a. Working with kids: We resist racial capitalist individualist notions of childcare
which function to alienate families/children/caregivers from communities. We recognize ourselves, and whole communities, as responsible for caring for children.
b. Working with our partners: We provide free and donation-based childcare for meetings and events to support liberation movements.
c. Working within our collective: We work to care for each other’s needs by asking and communicating about our needs and boundaries, and matching our capacity so that no one pushes past their limits.
3. We value collaborative, non-hierarchical, intergenerational, and long-term relationships.
a. Working with kids: We work collaboratively with kids to solve problems and create change.
b. Working with our partners: We collaborate with grassroots groups, taking leadership from our partners in offering childcare while maintaining our values. We recognize providing childcare as a mutual aid effort.
c. Working within our collective: We value the insights, expertise, and experiences each of our collective members bring to this work. We arrive at decisions carefully and through collective decision making. We share labor in a way that makes sense for the collective and individual needs/boundaries for the group and value no role above another.
4. We approach our work through the frameworks of disability justice, economic justice, gender justice, and racial justice.
a. Working with kids: We use playful, engaging activities to introduce children to liberatory concepts. We are mindful of how different children's identities may affect their needs. We work to attend to children’s different needs and abilities.
b. Working with our partners: We prioritize working with organizations led by Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer, and poor and working class Philadelphians. Recognizing that care labor routinely falls on people of marginalized genders, we work to compensate this labor and highlight its value as well as better distribute this labor among people of all genders.
c. Working within our collective: We are cultivating a multiracial, mixed-ability, mixed-income space, and we seek to make the collective accessible to a diverse group of members, for example by providing stipends to those who need them.
5. We reject punishment, policing, and controlling behavior in all its forms.
a. Working with kids: We do not ask about, or require clearances, or require our members to be mandated reporters, in recognition of the violence that these systems cause to young people and their communities. We work proactively to cultivate environments that promote safety and accountability, and when safety issues come up, we work collaboratively with those involved and impacted to support healing, safety, and accountability. We resist controlling children’s behavior and do not employ punishment or reward in our interactions with children.
b. Working with our partners: We work with many abolitionist groups and operate within an abolitionist framework. When possible, we support our partner organizations in moving away from punitive and policing practices.
c. Working within our collective: We give each other grace. As members and volunteers we recognize that mistakes and harm are inevitable, and we maintain systems and practices to hold ourselves accountable.
6. We cultivate spaces that prioritize joy, play, and safety.
a. Working with kids: We meet kids where they are, bring toys and games when possible, proactively work to resolve disputes, and seek to provide childcare that is joyful, friendly, and safe.
b. Working with our partners: We seek to nurture ongoing relationships with movements that are based in care, safety, joy, and liberation.
c. Working within our collective: We value connection and play! We build practices of care and play into all of our meetings. We also have systems and practices in place to keep ourselves accountable to our values, our partners, our communities, and each other.