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Promising Practices: Reaching Underserved Families and Caregivers

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on February 15, 2019

 

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.

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Ideas CCR&Rs can use to Strategically Prepare for Workforce Recommendations

By Mindy Bennett on February 14, 2019

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.

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Dr. Edward Zigler: Gone Now but His Legacy Lives On

By Dionne Dobbins, Ph.D. on February 12, 2019

 

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!

Topics: Workforce
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Elevating Dual Language Learners During DLL Shine Celebration Week

By Allyson Dean, Ed.D. on February 12, 2019

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? 

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Ringing in the New Year: Celebrating 35 Years of Service to Essex County

By Sara Diamond on February 11, 2019

 

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.

 

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Now Accepting Proposals! Health/Safety Training Opportunity for CCR&Rs

By Krista Scott on February 7, 2019

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).

  • Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery
  • Another required health and safety topic of the CCR&R’s choosing

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.

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Why You Should Attend CCAoA’s Child Care Works Summit in April

By Jillian Doody on February 6, 2019

 

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.

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Examining Child Care Supply and Demand Gaps for Babies in Your Community

By Maggie Norton on January 30, 2019

 

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.

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Healthy Child Care, Healthy Communities: Supporting Diverse Health Issues

By Jessica Rose-Malm on January 29, 2019

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.

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It’s About Time! What You Can Do About Nonstandard Hours Child Care Challenges

By Jessica Tercha on January 24, 2019

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.  

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5 Ways Poverty Impacts Early Brain Development and How You Can Help

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on January 17, 2019

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.

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Promising Practices: Using Spanish Radio to Share Child Care Resources

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on January 11, 2019

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.

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Krista Scott Joins the Division for Early Childhood Board

By Rae Pickett on January 2, 2019

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. 

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Let’s Welcome Our Newest Board Members

By Steve Rohde on December 27, 2018

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.

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Why 2019 Is a Critical Year for Child Care

By Jacob Stewart on December 21, 2018

 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.

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‘Tis The Season of Giving: How One CCR&R Won a $25K Grant

By Adina Young on December 20, 2018

 

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!

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Fee Assistance Programs: Serving and Supporting Our Military Families

By Christine LaPlaca on December 17, 2018

 

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.

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New Website Design, New Resources for Consumer Education

By Mindy Bennett on November 29, 2018

 

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.

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How CCR&Rs Can Improve Access to Healthy Living in Their Community

By Krista Scott on November 23, 2018

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.

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How to Tie In Giving Tuesday to Your Fundraising Efforts

By Bea Trapasso Dermer on November 20, 2018

 

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.  

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Agents of Change: Introducing a Familiar Face as Deputy Executive Director

By Brenda Zedlitz on November 13, 2018

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.

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Child Care Resource & Referral: The Secret Solution

By Jen Bump on November 9, 2018

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.

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Fundraising Resources in Your Community and Online

By Bea Trapasso Dermer on November 8, 2018

    

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.

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Get Ready for Vroom Week 2018!

By Patience Hill on October 31, 2018

 

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!

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Why I Chose Family, Friend and Neighbor (FFN) Care

By Guest Blogger on October 30, 2018

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?

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The Cost of Child Care 2018: a Burden for Families across the Country

By Chrisi West on October 22, 2018

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.

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Introducing: Member Meet Ups

By Sara Diamond on October 18, 2018

 

Dear Diary,

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.

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5 Key Elements for CCR&Rs Providing Post-Disaster Support

By Guest Blogger on October 17, 2018

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.

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Shape the Future in Child Care: Submit Your Nomination for the Board of Directors

By Steve Rohde on September 25, 2018

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.

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New Consumer Education Tools & Resources Created with the CCR&R in Mind

By April Dodge-Ostendorf on September 21, 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:

  1. Inform and engage early care and education professionals, families and community stakeholders using best-practices;
  2. Share content that speaks to an array of family experiences, especially those outlined in Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG); and
  3. Reach families at various points in their journeys, when they will benefit from it the most.

 

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Data Management for CCR&Rs

By Liz Pettit on September 19, 2018

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.

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Success in Massachusetts: A Little Help on Advocacy Can Help Secure Big Funding

By Chrisi West on September 17, 2018

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.

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CCR&Rs and Eligibility Workers

By Brenda Zedlitz on September 13, 2018

 

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. 

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Brain-Building Partnership: Apply for this Vroom Opportunity

By Patience Hill on September 12, 2018

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. 

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10 Ways CCR&Rs Can Engage the Community around Power to the Profession

By Karen Ruprecht on September 10, 2018

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?

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7 Steps for Successful Succession Planning

By Mindy Bennett on September 6, 2018

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.

Topics: Workforce
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3 Ways to Improve Your Agency's Facebook Page

By Meghan Cornwell on September 6, 2018

“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:

  • How often do you post on it?
  • Do you have a content schedule?
  • What’s been your most engaging post in the last few months?
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Encouraging Child Care Providers to Include Emergency Planning on Their Back-to-School Checklists

By Holly Nett on September 4, 2018

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.

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Using the State Fact Sheets for Advocacy

By Jessica Tercha on August 30, 2018

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.

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What Is Leadership Institute?

By Mindy Bennett on August 27, 2018

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.

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6 Ways to Get Your Staff Involved with Power to the Profession

By Karen Ruprecht on August 22, 2018

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.

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Resource and Referral’s Role in Supporting Breastfeeding

By Krista Scott on August 7, 2018

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.  

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Top 10 Things CCR&Rs Need to Know about Power to the Profession

By Karen Ruprecht on August 7, 2018

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.  

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Using Paid Advertising to Market Your CCR&R Agency

By Meghan Cornwell on August 6, 2018

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.

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