April showers bring May flowers, as well as our Child Care Aware® of America Policy Summit! It was wonderful seeing all of you for our recent board meetings and during this important event, where CCR&Rs, parents, and child care advocates gathered to discuss child care policy-related issues. We have many exciting initiatives to share with you, including our upcoming public policy research.
Below are some additional highlights from April.
Online and On-Air
2016 was a dynamic and successful year for CCAoA with many significant accomplishments, capping off nearly three decades of public policy and advocacy work focused exclusively on ensuring all families have access to quality, affordable child care. Explore our newly released annual report for more on our 2016 milestones, highlights, and financials.
It’s official! Child Care Aware® of America is 30 years old, and we plan to celebrate in style! Check out our 30th anniversary webpage for monthly updates on all of the festivities! And don’t forget to check out our NEW anniversary logo!
Michelle McCready, CCAoA’s Chief of Policy, recently spoke to The Preschool Podcast, a platform for leaders in early childhood education to share their experiences, thoughts and insights in the world of early learning. During this podcast, Michelle emphasized that it is crucial for educators to speak up and become the voice for better outcomes for children. The podcast is available here.
CCAoA’s Executive Director Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., and parent and family advocate Ali Dodd recently joined LiftBump for a Facebook Live discussion on the importance of high-quality, affordable child care. Ali and Lynette discussed the importance of parents making their voices heard by meeting with Congressional representatives through opportunities like CCAoA’s Family Advocacy Summit and Day on the Hill.
CCAoA Senior Director of Emergency Preparedness, Andy Roszak, was recently featured in The Hill with his piece, “Quality Child Care Provides Numerous Benefits — There Should Be Better Legislation.” The article, available here, describes recent advocacy efforts, including our 2017 Policy Summit.
Andy Roszak and Child Care Aware® of Kansas Executive Director Leadell Ediger participated in a podcast examining efforts to plan for children in disasters. The podcast was hosted by DomesticPreparedness.com and featured a panel of subject matter experts, including the immediate past deputy director of FEMA, Richard Serino. The podcast and accompanying article, “Legislation Protecting Children in Disasters,” can be found here.
Ensuring the safety of children in care settings is the most important job of child care professionals. Unfortunately, many parents are unsure of their child care provider’s emergency plans. A new resource, “Parents: Is Your Child Care Program Ready?,” is now available in English and Spanish as a helpful tool for parents to use as they evaluate child care programs and/or communicate with their child’s caregivers. Child care programs may also find that the publication is a good starting point for self-evaluation of their emergency plans and processes.
An article on “Applying an Equity Lens to the Child Care Setting” was recently published in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, featuring the work of authors Krista Scott, Anna Ayers Looby, Janie Simms Hipp, and Natasha Frost. This article examines systemic barriers to equity, and how the system's fragmentation leads to lower child care outcomes in some communities. It is imperative that we strategically focus attention on aligning systems in a way that decreases health inequities.
In May, CCAoA will begin piloting the Family Voices, Quality Choices resource suite—a collection of child care consumer information and outreach materials—at two child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agencies for a period of four months. Child Care Services Association in North Carolina and Child Care Aware® of Kansas have partnered with CCAoA to feature these materials in their consumer engagement efforts.
The Family Voices, Quality Choices Resource Suite aims to support families by addressing a diversity of child care information needs such as quality, family engagement, and supportive services, just to name a few. Content for the materials emerged from the perspectives shared by families during focus groups, a parent poll, and key informant interviews with CCR&R and health and human service professionals. Participating pilot sites will use the provided materials to bolster their work with families in innovative ways, particularly in their outreach to families and community stakeholders using digital media.
The resource suite is part of a larger Family Voices, Quality Choices initiative, generously funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, focused on family engagement and consumer education. Under this initiative, a group of family and professional stakeholders engage in discussions around child care and family engagement. A white paper, Family Voices Driving Quality Choices (coming soon), will introduce research findings that explore the child care information needs and preferences of low-income and otherwise vulnerable families. A collection of best-practice spotlights and webinars are planned and will feature cutting-edge approaches to child care consumer engagement and outreach.
Stay tuned for more updates about the Family Voices, Quality Choices initiative, including progress updates on the resource suite pilot. More information about our family engagement efforts is available here.
We hope you were able to join us for the Child Care Aware® of America Policy Summit. We were excited to have more than 300 attendees join us for this year’s event. The engaging policy-focused event included facilitated discussions, plenary sessions, deep-dive breakout sessions, keynote presentations, CCAoA’s 30th anniversary kick-off, and our Day on the Hill rally. We also celebrated our 30th anniversary kick-off, including the unveiling of our 30th anniversary logo. A video of the celebration is available on our Facebook page. We also invite you to visit our 30th anniversary webpage for monthly updates on all of the festivities. The Family Advocacy Summit was also a huge success! Advocates made 300 visits with elected officials and their staff to talk about the importance of child care to working families and children with three specific asks:
- Co-sponsor the PACE Act
- Co-sponsor the FAMILY Act
- $1.4 billion dollar increase to CCDBG funding, above FY 2016 levels
Did you miss Policy Summit? We invite you to save the date for our 2018 Symposium, which will take place April 17-21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Visit our website to learn more.
ICYMI: April in the News
CCAoA won Arlington’s Best Business Award for the nonprofit category as part of a special ceremony on May 2. This award, recognized by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, celebrates area businesses that deliver exceptional quality of service to their customers, are industry leaders, or offer a unique approach to delivery of goods and services.
April is the Month of the Military child, a time to celebrate our nation’s military connected children and youth and recognize the sacrifices and resilience required of them to be in a military family and support mission readiness. Since 2011, the Military Child Care Liaison project has supported state systems development to increase the accessibility of quality community-based child care for Guard and Reserve families. The average child in an active-duty military family will move six to nine times during a school career, and most military kids experience multiple deployments and other demands of military life. Quality child care is especially important in helping these children build the skills they need to meet the challenges. The strength and resiliency they build prepares them for their future. In fact, children
in military families are twice as likely as their civilian counterparts to join the military as adults. Among the challenges Guard and Reserve service members face is access to quality child care for mandatory drill weekends. Delaware stakeholders considered the need for this type of non-traditional hours of child care and created the Little Heroes Drill Weekend Child Care Project. Drill weekend child care is provided on the first weekend of each month at a Delaware Stars QRIS Level 5 community-based child care center. The funding is provider through a public/private partnership and serves 35-42 children monthly. As the CCAoA Military Child Care Liaison team continues to support state policy efforts to improve the lives of military families and their children, we thank those who serve our country for the sacrifices they make on our behalf! Read more on Month of the Military Child and stories from military children and families here.
Child care plays a vital role in the early education and care of our nation’s children. This is especially important given that the early years of a child’s life are the most critical for development. We know that children who receive high-quality child care benefit throughout their lives. However, despite the importance of high-quality child care, the child care workforce earns far less than they should, an average of $19,510 a year. On May 12, CCAoA will celebrate Provider Appreciation Day in conjunction with our partners, National Association of Family Child Care, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Head Start Association, and the National Indian Child Care Association. On Provider Appreciation Day, we honor those who nurture, teach, and care for children in multiple settings across the country; however, it is important that we recognize these individuals year-round for the critical role they serve in providing high-quality child care.
CCAoA has joined with partners to recognize the outstanding child care workforce on a monthly basis who exemplify extraordinary qualities and characteristics. Here are just a few of the child care providers who have been recognized as Provider of the Month over the past year:
- Julie Hume and Kind Hearts Day Care
- Tessie Ragan and Perfect Start Learning
- Tarra Stangl and The Growing Patch
Do you know an outstanding early childhood educator who is deserving of the Provider of the Month award? Visit www.providerappreciationday.org for details on how to nominate them, and help CCAoA and partner organizations honor those who go above and beyond every day!
Earlier this week, Congress and the Administration agreed to a FY 2017 omnibus spending bill that will fund the federal government through September 30. The bill, which is expected to pass and be signed into law in the next couple of days, includes nearly $5 billion in new funding for early education and health programs. With regard to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the program will receive a $95 million increase in FY 2017 ($2.856 billion), which is more than what was included in the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bills from last summer. While this increase is significant given the current legislative environment, it is still well short of what’s needed to meet gaps in child care coverage, as well as support states with their implementation needs. Learn more about this and other child care programs that received increases.
CCAoA is developing a comprehensive child care state licensing database to be launched for public use early summer 2017. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Miami, CCAoA is populating our database with data collected directly from state licensing manuals, providing for analysis to demonstrate each state’s child care regulatory alignment with Caring for Our Children Basics, considered to be the gold standard for child care practices. Users are encouraged to navigate from their state to a particular topic area for a brief overview of how their state is doing. Within each topic, each state receives a rating of “meets” or “does not meet” for each of more than 80 substandards for both child care centers and family child care homes. Through this database, users will also be able to download and print a two-page overview of a state’s ratings as well as access an ever-growing list of resources and advocacy tools.