To protect the well-being of children in child care programs, federal law mandates that states set minimum health and safety training requirements for providers. What if a program seeks to go beyond the minimum?
To protect the well-being of children in child care programs, federal law mandates that states set minimum health and safety training requirements for providers. What if a program seeks to go beyond the minimum?
Child Care Aware® of America is in full planning mode for our 2019 Leadership Institute - Exceeding the Vision, Expanding the Possibilities. This year our Institute will be held in beautiful Minneapolis, Minnesota, from October 6 – 9 at the Embassy Suites Hotel.
The Leadership Institute (formerly known as the State Network Leadership Institute / Membership Council Institute) was created to enhance the future of the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) community by developing the skills of current and future leaders in the industry. The Institute’s content and engagement activities are particularly relevant to CEOs, executive directors, program directors, leaders and emerging leaders at State CCR&R Networks, Local or Regional CCR&R agencies and CCR&R Parent Agencies. We encourage you to invite your key state and community partners to join you at the Institute to reflect on and plan for your joint work.
Since 2015, Child Care Aware® of America’s Health Policy Team has partnered with teams in 12 states to explore a broader definition of health in child care through our “Healthy Child Care, Healthy Communities” technical assistance project. Along with our state partners, we conducted research, communications and advocacy projects covering diverse health topics from nutrition and active play to injury prevention and inclusion. Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) played a pivotal role on nearly every state by connecting us to data, convening partners and lifting up provider and community voices to inform our understanding of healthy child care.
Even with early and careful planning, finding the right child care provider can be difficult for families. The challenges often seem overwhelming for parents searching for a provider that is qualified to care for a child with special needs.
Did you know that there are approximately 12.5 million children in some sort of regular child care arrangement? Yet there are communities across the country where the supply of child care doesn’t meet the need for child care. Child Care Aware® of America helped states quantify families’ child care needs through our Mapping the Gap™ project, and learned a lot about child care gaps across the US:
The problem: Providers recognize that significant environmental issues exist in some child care programs. However, identifying and addressing these issues can seem like an overwhelming task.
One solution: Safety and Environment: Protecting Kids from Hidden Hazards, a new e-book from CCAoA, which contains concrete actions that CCR&Rs and providers can take to reduce environmental hazards.
Wendy Nycz is a family advocate from Wisconsin who shared her experience after attending the 2019 Child Care Works Summit.
Earlier this month, Catey Rice and I had the honor of attending the 2019 Child Care Works Summit alongside 22 other Family Advocates and about 150 child care resource and referral professionals from 32 states, plus D.C. I was selected to attend because as a mother of 3 teens and a toddler, I have been involved in the childcare world for many years. Not only as a parent, but also as a professional. I currently live in the small town of Antigo, Wisconsin where my husband and I are both self employed and work from home in order to also care for our toddler. I made the decision to leave the professional workforce not long after my littlest one was born due to the cost and lack of quality care in our area.
It’s May and there have already been 704 cases of measles across the U.S. this year. That’s more than any single year since 1994. About one-quarter of this year’s cases have affected children under age 5. And nine times out of ten, the person who got sick was either unvaccinated or unsure if they were vaccinated.
In 2017, Early Learning Indiana (ELI), with the support of the Lilly Endowment, launched the Family Engagement Prize Competition. Recently completing their second year, this statewide prize competition highlights family engagement innovation and excellence in early care and education (ECE) programs. The Prize Competition celebrates the exemplary actions of ECE professionals to empower families’ in their role as their children’s first teachers! Over the past two years programs have been recognized for practices like, offering parenting classes, job placement, housing, and food and fuel assistance, as well as parent-child engagement materials to use at home.
Most child care providers have an on-site parking lot or driveway. This is a huge benefit for families and staff, making drop-off and pick-up a lot easier. But that benefit comes with some potentially big costs. Parking lots and driveways can present some serious risks to children’s health.
How can we get people to not only see the value of high-quality early education, but understand we’re all harmed when access is limited and take action so all children can take advantage?
At The Family Conservancy, like countless other organizations we work alongside, we have struggled with this challenge. It’s one thing to gain understanding and agreement on an issue, it’s a whole different matter to implement the radical changes that are needed.
Summer is my favorite time of year and I find that it’s hard to accomplish everything I hope to achieve before the season ends. Recently, I started to brainstorm my summer “to-do” list to help me prioritize and plan my summer adventures. I’m not sure what you usually set your sights on, but typically on my list are activities such as reading a best seller, taking a beach trip, and visiting family. This year, at the top of my list is crossing America’s longest swinging bridge. The Swinging Bridge to Prosperity stretches 335 feet (which is longer than a football field) and 70 feet above the east prong of the Little Pigeon River in Tennessee. Can you imagine?! This will take me outside of my comfort zone and challenge me more than some of the other items on my list, for sure!
When the Flint, MI water crisis hit the news in 2015, people around the world took notice. Hundreds of children across Flint had alarmingly high blood lead levels. Many still do. The problem was quickly traced back to lead contamination in the city’s water supply. The water that Flint’s families and caregivers used to cook, drink and bathe in was poisoning their children.
The Flint crisis highlights a problem that impacts millions of children in the United States. Children’s blood lead levels in places like Milwaukee, Baltimore and Philadelphia are actually much higher than in Flint. The poisoning happens because of lead in water, but also because of lead dust in buildings. And the children most in danger are children from families with low incomes and children of color.
Ray is a father, grandparent, kinship provider, and role model for children in his community. He is an advocate for healthy parent-child relationships, father engagement, and accessible community resources. Most recently, he was part of the team that produced the PBS documentary, Finding Fatherhood In Colorado.
Resources to Build and Retain the FCC Workforce
The problem: Across the nation, the supply of family child care providers is declining. What can be done to retain existing FCC providers, and attract new providers?
One solution: A suite of National Resources about Family Child Care, published on the website of the Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System (ECTTAS).
When we think about health and safety in child care, it’s often related to hazards we can see. For instance, are providers and children washing their hands properly? Have cleaners and medications been locked away? Are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors present and functional? These are things that can affect children’s wellbeing right now.
At Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), we’ve been thinking about health and safety in a new way. To create safe and healthy child care programs, we need to consider both hazards we can see and those we cannot. That means thinking about children’s health and wellness right now and in the future.
Achievement gaps start early for children in families with low incomes. Access to high-quality early care and education programs help young children develop social and emotional, language, and academic skills needed to succeed. In this blog, you will hear from Ashley, a family advocate who uses her personal experience to make the case for why it’s important for states and communities to invest in early care and learning programs as one strategy for ensuring the next generation has the skills they need to overcome poverty.
Keeping child care facilities clean and free of pests is one of the most important things we can do to prevent diseases from spreading. The challenge is that chemicals that providers use for cleaning and pest control are often toxic. And while that might be common knowledge for some, not everyone knows about the risks some cleaners can cause. Also, many of the cleaners that are more toxic are inexpensive, making them fast and easy choices for businesses and low-income families.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant has requirements around handing and storing hazardous materials. If providers are using ammonia to clean or rat poison to keep pests away, they need to make sure those chemicals are locked away and out of reach.
Child Care Resource Center (CCRC), serves California’s Northern Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. A few years ago, the agency was searching for an innovative way to provide parents, license-exempt providers, and family, friend and neighbor caregivers with early childhood support, information, and resources. CCRC also wanted a program that would strengthen their relationship with the community, while helping caregivers and families connect with each other. The goal was to promote the optimal development of the children within these often underserved caregiver settings.
Spring can’t come soon enough for you, right? On the heels of a winter that gifted us with the polar vortex and record amounts of snowfall across much of the country, spring flooding is now a reality in much of the Midwest. While those living in the northern tier of the country may be wishing for a quick spring warm up and the disappearance of snow, rapid snow melt is already producing record flooding.
Have you ever asked yourself “what am I doing here?” Why am I immersed in this situation? Sometimes we tend to just roll with life and end up with missed opportunity because we don’t fully realize our potential or purpose in a situation. Recently, I found myself in unfamiliar territory and couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing there, what contribution was I supposed to make?
The problem: Right now, there is widespread flu activity in 48 states and 11 states have reported outbreaks of the measles. How can adults talk to young children about what’s happening without scaring them?
One solution: A tip sheet published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) on Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks.
The life of a child care provider is never easy. Every day they wear a dozen hats—teacher, nurse, referee, social worker and more. Providers give their all to make sure the children in their care have all the tools they need to grow up happy, healthy and ready to learn. But the stress of doing it all, and for very little pay, can add up to big consequences for providers’ health and wellbeing.
On March 17-23, we will celebrate National CACFP Week!
Why? Child care is a place where many young children have their first experiences with new foods. Child care programs—family child care homes and child care centers—play a big role in helping children eat well, so they can learn and play.The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is an important part of how many providers are able to put healthier foods on the table for young children. It provides rules and guidance that help participating programs create healthy meals.
Talk, Read, Play (TRP) is a unique education campaign that turns complex information about brain development in young children into a simple message parents can use to prepare their child for success in school and life: talk, read and play with your child every day.
It can happen suddenly—a job offer that starts next week, an injury, or news of expecting a baby are only a few of the situations that can leave a family suddenly searching for child care. Many families not only feel the pressure of their circumstances, but can become easily overwhelmed and struggle to understand the different options for child care in their community. Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions families make, which is why the role of Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies as a reliable source of information is so crucial. Quality consumer education and engagement practices reduce barriers families face when accessing quality child care by ensuring they receive trusted information that supports their roles as decision makers and advocates.
We are pleased to introduce our new Chief of Policy, Programs and Research, Ami Gadhia.
In January, we released a new report, “It’s About Time: Parents Who Work Nonstandard Hours Face Child Care Challenges,” where we highlighted the need for and the obstacles in accommodating nonstandard hours child care. We also highlighted groups who are doing it right! Here is one child care provider’s journey to provide nonstandard hours care in her community.
In February 2017, the Early Learning Coalition of Duval (ELCD) County, Florida joined forces with Jacksonville Journey, a comprehensive community-wide crime prevention initiative. For a decade, Jacksonville Journey has focused on positive youth development, neighborhood safety, truancy, and dropout prevention and intervention. Leaders at ELCD also saw a need within the initiative for early intervention and parent education services, and launched the Family Engagement and Early Literacy Support Program. It strives to help families by fostering strong parent-child relationships and encourage early learning activities in the home.
Living in the 24-hour news cycle can be exhausting and overwhelming for some. Still, many of us have important stories to tell and are experts in the field of child care and early education. At this year’s Child Care Works (CCW) Summit, we will have a media workshop where attendees will learn to embrace, rather than fear, the media. 2019 is a critical year for child care, so there’s no better time than now to make child care a central topic of conversation. One of the most valuable ways to do that is through earned media where we can use our stories and our expertise to center the narrative that all children and families deserve access to a high-quality child care system.
As we prepare for strategic planning for FY20-22, I have been reflecting on the great work we have done toward meeting our mission to advance a child care system that effectively serves all children and families. Every step we have taken gets us closer to fulfilling our vision: That every family in the United States has access to high-quality, affordable child care.Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) had a number of recent successes that will continue to propel us toward that future.
Engaging families meaningfully in child care advocacy has been central to Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA)’s mission for over a decade. The voices of families as they share their child care experiences are critically important to contextualizing the child care system challenges that we face nationwide. I have had the privilege of personally getting to know many of the family advocates that have partnered with CCAoA over the years. This year’s call for family advocate applicants has closed and notifications of acceptance have been sent to selected advocates. I adore being witness to the excitement as I see a flood of social media posts and personal notes from family advocates as they share proudly that they have been selected to join us for this year’s Child Care Works Summit.
Bright by Three is a Colorado-based organization that equips families with tools to promote their child’s healthy development through the most pivotal stages of growth during the earliest years of life. The organization partners with pediatricians, researchers and other child development experts to design program materials in English and Spanish, delivered to families through a visitation program and Bright by Text. Since its launch in 1995, Bright by Three has given early education and support to more than 200,000 families in Colorado. In 2012, the organization decided to look into how they could expand their reach to parents and caregivers not served by the visitation program.
The Power to the Profession task force recently released the Decision Cycles 345 + 6 draft document. See a high-level overview of the decision cycles by downloading our fourth e-book in our Power to the Profession series: Understanding the Recommendations from Decision Cycles 345 + 6. The goal of these Decision Cycles is to establish the very first unified framework of the early childhood education workforce that defines the professional preparation, responsibilities, scope of practice, specialization, and compensation needed to drive policy, funding, and systems change in our field.
This week, we lost a pioneer in early childhood education, Dr. Edward F. Zigler. Dr. Zigler, who founded Yale’s Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, was a strong advocate for children and believed that even the poorest child deserved the best start. Head Start, the small summer program he helped plan, now serves over a million children and families with low incomes every year around the country!
Denise is a family child care provider who just enrolled a family who recently immigrated to the United States from El Salvador. Although the family speaks some English, their home language is Spanish and 3-year-old Jorge, their son, communicates solely in Spanish. Jorge has transitioned well into the program and enjoys playing with the other children in the program but struggles to communicate verbally with his English-speaking peers. Denise wants to help Jorge fully participate in the program, but she is unsure how to best support him since she does not speak Spanish. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Dr. Beverly Lynn, CEO of Programs for Parents in Newark, New Jersey, wanted to do something really special to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of their non-profit organization, which serves as the principal advocate for child care services in Essex County and offers a full range of services, including professional development, technical assistance and parent education.
On January 3rd, 2019, she was joined by board members, parents, and providers to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Lynn to learn more about this amazing honor.
The National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (NCECHW) is funding an initiative through Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) to provide CCR&Rs with critical health and safety trainings. Successful applicants will receive training curricula and resources on two topics required by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).
As part of this initiative, CCAoA will select two CCR&Rs, in different states, for a two-year partnership. Agencies that are committed to working with programs that reach underserved children and families are encouraged to apply.
This year, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) will host our first Child Care Works (CCW) Summit in Washington, DC on April 3-4. The summit is an abridged version of our regular biannual Symposium and will welcome Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency staff, child care providers, family advocates and other partners for a full day of trainings and sessions followed by our annual Day on the Hill event.
For decades, Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies have prioritized tracking child care supply and demand in order to better serve the children, families and child care providers in their area. With the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant in 2014, states are now required to do this, and CCR&Rs are written into the law as experts in tracking child care supply and demand. For most state agencies or CCR&Rs, this means tracking the number of licensed child care spaces for children available at licensed child care providers. But, in recent times we’ve seen challenges with only being able to track the total number of children in a program, not the number of child care spaces by age group.
Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) has a strong history in advocating for policies that protect the health of children. Background checks, health and safety training, and monitoring visits from the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) state agency are a few of the many recommendations that CCAoA has supported as foundational for protecting children in child care. With generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), we launched the Healthy Child Care, Healthy Communities technical assistance project to expand and explore a broader definition of health in child care.
An astounding 6.7 million children live in a single-parent household with a nonstandard hours (NSH) schedule. These workers are the fuel keeping our 24/7 economy running; they power the services that keep businesses running. Workers with NSH schedules don’t just keep things moving, but they also work nights and weekends to deliver services, care for us, keep us safe, and are prepared to step in when disaster strikes. Some NSH workers are student-parents and many work more than one job just to pay the bills and provide for their own families. So as CCAoA advocates for all families to have access to quality, affordable child care, we know that this is an especially tall order for families working a NSH schedule.
Numerous studies show the foundation for lifelong learning is established during the first five years of brain development. Parents, child care providers and other adults providing care to children are instrumental in encouraging minds to grow healthy and strong. In fact, during these early years, more than one million new neural connections form every second. Thanks to new technology, neuroscientists have even been able to capture images that show how a child’s brain “lights up” during positive interactions with responsive caregivers.
This story begins in 2008, with Romilia Schlueter—a respected leader in the Dane County, Wisconsin Latina/o community, with decades of experience in the family support and early childhood fields. At the time, she was working at a family resource center that was a member of Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA), Wisconsin’s statewide child care resource and referral agency. The center had a long list of Spanish-speaking families waiting to be accepted into their early childhood home visitation program. Seeing an opportunity to help meet that need, Romilia came up with the idea of delivering early childhood information to families and caregivers via a weekly Spanish-language radio program. Before long Romilia and La Movida, a popular Spanish radio station in Madison, launched Aprendiendo Juntos Fortalecemos la Familia (Learning Together We Strengthen the Family), with Romilia as the host. This initial program evolved into Apoyando Familias, Aprendiendo Juntos (Supporting Families, Learning Together) when Romilia took a position with SFTA in 2011. The radio program was reformatted and its website added a blog, where audio recordings and scripts of more than 300 programs are archived.
If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Krista Scott, she is the senior director of child care health policy here at Child Care Aware® of America. And recently, we are proud to announce that she was appointed to the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) executive board as the Member-at-Large.
As we approach the end of an exciting year, I am pleased to share that several individuals will be joining the Child Care Aware® of America Board of Directors. Their addition to the board will help to better position the organization as a critical leader in service to children and families. They will be key in implementing the strategic plan for the coming year, engaging in the 2019 strategic planning process and in shaping the Child Care Works Summit in April 2019.
This past year was huge for child care.
In February, Congress finally reached a bipartisan agreement on the federal budget. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 not only provided billions in “new” discretionary funding for the next two fiscal years but specifically pledged to double investments for child care.
In March, Congress then passed the FY2018 Omnibus bill, which included a historic $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Six months later, Congress provided an additional $50 million to CCDBG while simultaneously increasing funding for other key programs like Head Start ($200 million).
These wins in early childhood funding should certainly be celebrated. But this celebration also needs a caveat: that for FY2020, we need to ensure this funding remains a priority for the 116th Congress.
This year on Giving Tuesday, the unspoken “kick-off” to many holiday giving campaigns, Child Care Aware® of Missouri, decided to do something a little different. They threw their hat in the ring with over 160 other organizations, for a $25,000 Wells Fargo grant that focused on community building—and were one of 10 chosen grantees!
Deployments, trainings, frequent moves, new schools…our nation’s military families endure a high amount of stress and change. Finding child care is yet another challenge that military families face. Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) partners with the Armed Forces and other Department of Defense (DoD) Agencies to make life a little easier for these families and their children by administering child care fee assistance programs.
As a Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency, you play a critical role within your state and community. The work that you do every day to help families learn about and locate quality child care for their unique family needs is not only important to that specific family but to the community at large. Equally important is the work that you do with early childhood educators and potential educators. You spend countless hours working to build the supply of quality child care either by providing professional development opportunities and coaching to existing child care programs or seeking out and helping individuals open new child care programs. It is important that you have the resources that you need to help with this work.
All children deserve to live their healthiest life, but not all children have access to the things they need to do so. At Child Care Aware® of America, we know the importance of you, the child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies—how you shape the way parents engage with providers and provide the child care workforce with training that supports children and families. That’s why we’re providing the tools you need to advocate, innovate and create healthier communities. We want to ensure that children who may not have access to healthy food or active play at home, still have the chance to get that access elsewhere in their community.
Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is an international day of philanthropy, and for many charities, serves as the informal “kick-off” to their holiday giving campaigns. In 2017, over $300 million was raised online and 2.5 million people worldwide participated by making a gift.
The official Giving Tuesday website provides some examples of how local nonprofits used Giving Tuesday to successfully raise funds. For Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies, Giving Tuesday represents a wonderful opportunity to reach out to parents and others in the community to raise awareness of the many services you provide beyond referrals.
I am often asked what we “do” at Child Care Aware® Across America. My favorite answer is, “we change the world for children and those who care about and for them.” This audacious statement inevitably leads to a deeper conversation about children, families and the critical issue of child care in our nation.
With a vision and mission statement that “ensure[s] every family in the United States has access to a high-quality, affordable child care system” and to “advance a child care system that effectively serves all children and families”, we have to approach our work with a boldness that comes from a deep understanding of why we do what we do.
Knowing our “why” equips us to become agents of change who will make the vision and mission at Child Care Aware® of America, a reality.
Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a series on CCR&Rs that is meant to be shared with policy makers, government administrators and other new and prospective investors who may not understand the opportunities CCR&Rs offer when addressing America’s child care challenges. Please leave us your insights and feedback in the comments below. We will take your feedback, and then turn these blog posts into an e-book that you can then use as a tool to describe the nature, capabilities and benefits of the CCR&R system.
Child Care Resource and Referral (CC&R&) Agencies are among the most important non-profit agencies in communities, connecting parents with needed services, building capacity in the child care market, and educating businesses and elected officials on child care needs. Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) wants to support your efforts in connecting with the broader non-profit and philanthropic community. Here are a few organizations that you may want to connect with—in person and online—to jumpstart fundraising activities.
Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) is preparing to celebrate brain building for children birth to five with their annual Vroom Week November 26 – 30. Vroom is an early learning initiative that empowers parents, families and child care providers to turn everyday moments into brain-building moments with children up to 5 years old. Vroom is based on the latest science and designed to fit into every day routines.
During Vroom Week CCAoA will post daily Vroom tips with suggested activities for parents/families/child care providers to engage in with children for each themed day. Here are the daily themes and a brain-building tip to go with each day. You can use these exact activities or let the theme of the day inspire you to come up with your own game!
Twenty-two years ago I began the difficult quest of finding a child care provider that I could trust for my six-month-old son. Center-based care for Diego was out of the question. I wanted him in a “homey” place with a provider who could offer a seamless transition from home to child care in a location that was convenient to my work schedule as a social worker, which often included evenings.
I finally settled on my neighbor down the street, whom I’ll call Teresita for this post. Teresita was the prototype of a good family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) provider. She was warm and loving, spoke Spanish, cooked the pupusas and black beans that my son loved, and even had a granddaughter who was a little older than Diego, who became his “more knowledgeable other.” Teresita was wonderful and our families became close.
When my son turned two, feeling like he needed more stimulation—more educational toys, more “quality”—I moved him to a licensed Family Child Care (FCC) provider. She was great, but my son suffered because his new provider only spoke English. He also wasn’t used to the peanut butter sandwiches she provided or to being the only brown child. I started to ask myself questions like, What is quality? Why should I have to sacrifice culture and language, which meant a great deal to my family and my child, for “early childhood quality.”
As a parent, shouldn’t I be able to have both? What if I could help Teresita gain knowledge of early childhood education strategies that she could implement with my son? Wouldn’t that be the ideal situation?
Every single day in the United States families are faced with not having affordable child care. One of the highlights of our 2018 report, The US and the High Cost of Child Care, is the regional examination that takes a critical look at this issue of equity in child care.
When I’m attending a conference for work, I’m usually so tired from attending sessions all day that I just grab a quick bite from the hotel’s restaurant and crash in the evening. Plus, I hate eating alone in public. It’s so boring!
But today was different. Tonight, I was invited to meet up with a few other members of Child Care Aware® of America, an organization that I joined a while back. Until now, I’ve not really had an opportunity to meet anyone who works there or network with other members. I was a little unsure of what to expect, but everyone was friendly, and the conversation was good! It was wonderful to meet others with the passion for quality care for children and great to meet other people like me. Now that I think about it, I would have never had conversations with members from other states, and I learned so much! It was insightful and a good time all around.
One year later, memories of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey are grey and hazy, much like the lingering autumn skies that dropped trillions of gallons of water across Greater Houston. Before the flood waters receded, Collaborative for Children, the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency for the 13-county Greater Houston region, faced a critical challenge; With so many child care providers reaching out to report damage and rising concern that the storm had destabilized the entire child care network, we made the decision to step forward.
Right now, we are in a critical time to support access to a high-quality and affordable child care system for all families. You can contribute to this critical mission by nominating yourself or others to be considered for a board position with Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA). The call for Board of Directors nominations is open from September 19 through October 19, 2018.
As a Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency, you play an important role in ensuring consumers receive quality information and are engaged around early care and education topics. That’s why Child Care Aware® of America created a new section of our website devoted to information and materials that can help you:
As a Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R), you are in the important (and messy) business of getting, using, and reporting data of all kinds. Data is critical to helping CCR&Rs serve providers and families with the most up-to-date information. Capturing this data over time also helps us understand trends in child care so we can target limited funding and services for the greatest impact.
But we all know there are many challenges with managing data. So how do we make sure everyone has the tools to be able to contribute to high-quality data? A little investment in developing your organization’s data literacy and creating an intentional data culture can go a long way. Try the strategies below and comment or email us if there are other steps you’ve taken that have helped you.
Massachusetts was in search of more funding for its Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies after a massive cut to their budget line in 2010. Since then, CCR&Rs in the state have had to continue to do their critical work of managing cases, providing referrals and subsidies and more, despite a 16% increase in workload and decreased funding.
Child Care Aware® of America’s (CCAoA) advocacy team worked with our friends at the Massachusetts CCR&R to help them launch a new digital action center on their network website and come up with an actionable alert and email to share with their appropriate email list. Their goal was to restore the previous funding cut and bring the budget line item for CCR&R work back up to full funding.
Child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies are sometimes well-kept secrets in the world just peripheral to child care. We recently found this to be true when my colleagues, Courtnie Wheeless, Florida Office of Early Learning, Marlana Kelly and Lei Kendale, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAOA) External Affairs, and I accepted an invitation to present at the 2018 NEW PATHS Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Our goal was simple: To share resources and knowledge to increase effectiveness of services to children and families in the areas of early child education and child care. Our objectives were to provide an overview of the work and mission of CCAoA and the Florida Office of Early Learning, to introduce CCR&Rs as a resource for eligibility workers, to provide practical application for a child care search, and, finally, to learn from the field of eligibility workers how our work intersects.
In August, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) announced the renewal of our partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation on supporting early care and education professionals as brain builders through Vroom. Now we are accepting applications from State and local CCR&R agencies interested in a nine-month family engagement project through the Vroom Partnership.
As a part of this opportunity, CCAoA will select 10 additional CCR&Rs to be part of a fully-supported training, outreach and promotional initiative to inspire the full potential of brain-building moments with young children based on the strength of their applications.
Now that you understand how important Power to the Profession is for the early childhood education and how you can best prepare your staff, it’s time to think about how you can engage the community in conversations about the initiative. But where should you start?
Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) was originally known as the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). It was founded in 1987 by a group of dedicated child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agency leaders that banded together to create a national membership agency to help them advance their collective mission. Child care across the nation has come a long way in the past thirty years thanks to the dedicated leaders that began the CCR&R field.
“We have a Facebook page but we don’t get a lot of engagement on it.”
I’ve heard this sentiment time and time again while helping CCR&Rs and providers with their social media marketing strategy. Each time I hear that, I ask the following questions:
As child care providers prepare for young learners to return to their classrooms, it’s important that they add an emergency plan to their program. It’s unfortunate that we have to think about dangerous situations—natural disasters, fires, bomb threats and dangerous intruders—but it’s necessary to have a plan in place. Through effective preparation, CCR&Rs can help providers prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency situations.
Do the child care providers you work with have emergency plans? We hope they do, but if not, here are some critical first steps.
One of the most exciting things about working for Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) is the incredible emphasis put on research to drive policy “asks” and advocacy efforts. We spend a lot of time hashing out the best language to use to be sure that our messaging is relevant, appropriate, and research-informed. For the research team, there’s nothing like knowing that the reports and analyses we put a lot of effort into are actually being read. However, the tremendous network of advocates who go to CCAoA for resources do more than read—they take action!
For this post, research is collaborating with Child Care Works to give you some ideas on how to use CCAoA’s most recent, research-based resource, the 2018 State Fact Sheets to advocate for change.
Child Care Aware® of America’s 2018 Leadership Institute is just a little over a month away and I cannot wait! This year’s Institute is being held in beautiful Denver, Colorado, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel from Sunday, September 30th to Wednesday, October 3rd. As a child care resource and referral (CCR&R) professional working in Indiana, Leadership Institute was always my favorite event of the year. It was the one time of year where I could meet up with CCR&R leaders from across the nation, learn about their successes and their struggles, and pick the brains of some of the brightest people in the field.
Power to the Profession is a big deal for CCR&R agencies. By establishing a unifying framework for the early childhood profession—including career pathways, qualifications, and compensation—this national collaboration holds the potential to impact how CCR&R agencies conduct business in the future. It’s important to be prepared, but where do you even start?
We’ve compiled a few ideas for involving staff in conversations about Power to the Profession.
Some families where breast milk is milk of choice don’t always rely on the mother to handle feeding. Sometimes, the mom pumps milk so that co-parents or other family members participate in the feeding process—and sometimes provide breast milk to child care providers to feed infants too.
If you’re like most CCR&R professionals out there, you’ve likely heard about the Power to the Profession initiative, but you might not know much about it. Maybe you know the initiative was started to transform the early childhood field but aren’t sure what that really means or entails. Maybe you’re already excited about Power to the Profession but you’re still unclear what it has to do with you as a CCR&R or what you can do to get involved.
If you're like most child care resource and referral agencies, you want to get the word out about your agency so that providers, families, and community partners know about your agency and the services you provide, but you have just a small advertising budget to work with. Paid online advertising is a great place to start. Jumping into paid ads can seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. In this post, we’ll break down the two main kinds of paid advertising—paid search and paid social—to help you decide where to begin.