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.
1) Ignite! Our Members as a Catalyst for Progress and Innovation
In 2018, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), launched the Ignite Initiative to engage and ignite the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) field. As a result, the functional landscape of state CCR&R Networks was completed, inclusive of interviews.
2) Member News & Blog: Getting the Word Out
In May 2018, we debuted our new member newsletter that goes out monthly. It was a hit! And, it remains one of our most read newsletters. We also wanted to provide a place where CCR&Rs could get helpful tips and resources for running their businesses. So, in August of 2018, we launched our CCR&R blog specifically for our members. Here, we provide CCR&Rs with resources for business operations, systems building, professional development, and we celebrate our members’ wins. We LOVE hearing from the field about your successes.
3) Child Care Aware® Across America: The Strength of Relationships
In an effort to learn more about and build relationships between our members, state administrators, and funders, we toured the nation through our Child Care Aware® Across America (CCAAA) program. We visited states such as Hawaii, New Jersey, Michigan, Alaska, and more. We are happy to be a resource to our members and are hoping to continue this great work. If you’d like to learn more about the impact of these visits and for us to come to your state, please contact our Partner Success team.
4) Events Supporting and Elevating the Great Work of CCR&Rs
We were absolutely thrilled to have almost 400 attendees from 41 states join us for last spring’s Child Care Aware® of America 2018 Symposium in Washington, D.C. In celebrating 30 years of our shared commitment to children and families, we brought new and exciting opportunities including one-on-one technical assistance support for our members along with our many engaging sessions. A highlight was our 30th Anniversary Gala with our Master of Ceremonies, Sasheer Zamata, where we proudly presented the Bezos Foundation with our Children’s Champion Award.
This year, we are looking forward to hosting our Child Care Works Summit in Washington, D.C.
In the fall, we held our annual Leadership Institute, in Denver. There we equipped more than 130 CCR&Rs to Lead Boldly and Accelerate Change within their communities and states. This year’s Institute will be just as exciting. Stay tuned for more details being announced in early summer.
5) Alignment of Leadership with Our Organizational Goals
New Internal Role: Deputy Executive Director
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, CCAoA has been reflecting on and our current strategic plan and gearing ourselves up for the new planning year. In November, we announced Michelle McCready as our organization’s Deputy Executive Director. For the past 8 years, Michelle has worked tirelessly to advance the work of Child Care Aware® of America as the Chief of Policy and Research. In Michelle’s new role, she will work with the executive team to oversee operations, set measurable goals and establish policies that promote CCAoA’s culture and mission.
New Board Members & President
We also welcomed three new board members, chosen by our membership. They are key in creating and implementing the strategic plan for the coming year:
- Stephanie Berglund, Chief Executive Officer of thread, Alaska’s Child Care Resource and Referral Network.
- Lynne Borden, professor at the University of Minnesota
- Dan Harris, Executive Director of the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA)
The Board of Directors also elected Dr. Walter Gilliam as our new Board President. Dr. Gilliam’s dedication to early childhood education research and analysis alongside his exception leadership in the fields of child psychiatry and psychology made him a sought-after expert.
6) Strengthening Engagement through Research and Policy
Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
In our 2018 Policy Agenda, we recommended at least a $1 billion increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) over FY 2018. In March 2018, Congress passed the FY2018 Omnibus bill, which included a historic $2.37 billion increase. Six months later, Congress provided an additional $50 million to CCDBG while simultaneously increasing funding for other key programs like Head Start ($200 million). This was an incredibly exciting moment for the field and it wouldn’t have happened without the parents, members and advocates involved in this work.
Recognizing that CCR&Rs are uniquely positioned to influence their respective state’s child care preprint plan due in August 2018, we provided technical assistance (TA) and resources on all-things CCDBG. We fielded 80+ requests for TA between June and August and we provided support to all of them— whether it was for advocacy support, disaster relief and preparedness or research and mapping.
The US and the High Cost of Care Report
Our annual Cost of Child Care report arrived early this year and had a new name. The report, formerly called Parents and the High Cost of Child Care, is now called the US and the High Cost of Child Care: A Review of Prices and Proposed Solutions for a Broken System and was released in October 2018. While parents bear the majority of expenditures for child care (and families with lower incomes spend a significantly larger fraction of their income on child care), we believe that parents shouldn’t have to take on this burden alone. It is the responsibility of all of US, to develop solutions to finance the high cost of child care.
Video: Why Do Parents Spend So Much on Child Care, Yet Early Childhood Educators Earn So Little?
We often get the question, “Why is child care so expensive?” Going hand-in-hand most times is the question, “Why are child care providers paid so little?” In order to answer this, we collaborated with and the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment to provide an answer via a video, “Why Do Parents Spend So Much on Child Care, Yet Early Childhood Educators Earn So Little?”
Without a doubt, families have a voice in the child care system. In fact, our families were key in bringing about federal funding victories such as CCDBG, CCAMPIS, and Head Start/Early Head Start. They led conversations on the Hill, in their states and in their communities through events like Baby’s First Town Hall. More than 30 advocates from 15 states participated at our Symposium, where they joined forces with system professionals to meet with more than 400 lawmakers/Hill staffers. During these scheduled visits, our families advocated for the prioritization of child care and early childhood education supports.
8) Initiating and Supporting Connections between Families, Providers and CCR&Rs
Consumer Education Hotline
The Office of Child Care (OCC) funding for the Parent Services’ Consumer Education Hotline ended Sept. 29. However, CCAoA is proud to carry on the good work as we continue to provide access to child care consumer education. Each quarter, about 2,000 calls come in from providers and families, over 1,000 instant chats with individuals are opened and over 30,000 electronic referrals are provided to CCR&Rs. This is priority work toward our mission of ensuring all families have access the quality child care they deserve.
New Vroom Ambassadors
Our partnership with Vroom continues. We were excited to announce the second cohort of Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Vroom ambassadors in early December 2018. These selected agencies will strategically embed Vroom brain-building tips and materials in their local family and community outreach services.
Emergency Preparedness and Response Training
Throughout 2018, the emergency preparedness team conducted six webinars to individuals across the nation. Webinar topics included radiation emergencies, post disaster food safety and mold remediation, active shooter basics, planning for emergencies, and child care emergency supply kit assembly. All webinars are archived.
New Consumer Engagement Tools
In July 2018, we shared new tools and resources to help CCR&Rs empower families as advocates and decision-makers. These tools include: a social media guide, a SMART Suite with ready-to-use social media content and information on servicing families experiencing homelessness, to name a few.
We continue the good work laid out in our current strategic plan and we look forward to working with the board, staff, members, partners, and stakeholders to create our FY2020-2023 Strategic Plan. We anticipate sharing that plan with you later this year. So, together, let’s get ready for more WINS FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES!
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