January has certainly gotten 2016 off to a running start! Child Care Aware® of America staff have been working in Arlington and across the country to launch new initiatives, educate and advocate on behalf of the child care community, and support the field.
We’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished already in January, and I think this is just the beginning of an exciting and productive year for Child Care Aware® of America!
Around the Country
Emergency preparedness staff attended a resiliency meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, where they discussed recovery issues with partners from the Salvation Army, Red Cross, and many other organizations.
Our emergency preparedness program grew a little in the month of January - we welcomed Holly Nett as the new Manager of Community Resilience. Holly previously served as assistant program director for Child Care Aware® of North Dakota. Join us in welcoming Holly to the team.
The Navy Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Respite team at CCAoA conducted a training in San Diego, Calif. for partner agencies, and the CCAoA Army transition team, assigned to handle the newly returned Army Fee Assistance Program, traveled to San Antonio, Texas to meet with Army leadership.
One attendee had some great things to say about the program:
"EMPF respite care is such a marvelous program that provides so much to ones who provide so much to all in our nation. Families are so grateful. They are a pleasure and blessing to assist. It is our honor to be an EFMP respite care location. Jacksonville is very proud. Thank you again for the San Diego conference and all you do for us and the Navy families."
In January we announced some new initiatives on behalf of the organization, including the ten sites selected to participate in the Vroom rollout with the Bezos Family Foundation, and the launch of a new effort with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help families find quality child care.
Most of you are probably aware of the record-breaking snowstorm that hit a large portion of the East coast in January, dumping nearly 30 inches on the Washington, D.C. area. CCAoA’s Senior Director of Emergency Preparedness, Andy Roszak sent out a winter warning alert to our CCR&Rs in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia with the hope that they had time to prepare for the storm in advance.
The Healthy Child Care, Healthy Communities Project developed resources to help educate and inform the public about the opportunity to include health, nutrition, and wellness in state child care plans. The toolkit that includes recommended language for state plans, social media messages, public hearing tips and a sample letter to the editor, all focused on increasing the visibility of health and wellness in CCDF plans.
CCAoA’s research department has made a New Year’s Resolution - is to clean up our data collection and distribution so it is useful and relevant to our members and states. The team began that work by requesting feedback on the survey we use to inform our key annual publications -- The "State Child Care Fact Sheets" and the "Parents and the High Cost of Child Care" report. The feedback we received from our members has been incredibly helpful and we look forward to collecting important child care data with our revised survey tool.
The EFMP Respite Care team participated in the ARCH Advisory Committee meeting for the Lifespan Respite on January 19, 2016. The committee goal is to ensure that family caregivers have access to quality respite services options, providers, and funding sources in their communities and to ensure that state and community service networks, including Lifespan Respite grantees and their partners, have access to training and technical support to enhance their capacity to provide respite for individuals of all ages and conditions.
ICYMI: January in the News
Dr. Dionne Dobbins, our Senior Director of Research, was quoted in an article that is part of a series on the Mississippi child care crisis. In response to questions regarding the appropriateness of exacting fines on child care centers that violate regulations, she called for technical assistance for struggling centers over fines, “In my mind, it makes better sense to think about it on the other end — to provide those carrots, those resources and support.” You can read the full article from The Hechinger Report online here.
Online and On-Air
On January 28, Child Care Aware® of America held a webinar to brief members on the recently published Child Care and Development Block Grant “Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking” by the Administration for Children and Families. The webinar was hosted by Michelle McCready, CCAoA Deputy Chief of Policy, and Stephanie Monroe, Senior Advisor to CCAoA and Founder of the Wrenwood Group, LLC.
The discussion included a summary of the rulemaking process and a series of questions on accessing child care quality, training of inspectors, changes in a state plan, and consumer education (including the creation of a national website, and QRIS).
We have a great line up of speakers, sessions, and special events for Symposium 2016! We just recently added Wendy Davis, former State Senator from Texas, to the Wednesday morning plenary spot. She’ll be kicking off our Family Advocacy day on the Hill and firing us up before heading to the Hill.