Every child deserves the chance to eat healthy food and play every day. Because 60 % children under age 6 spend much of their time in care outside of their homes, early care and education (ECE) settings are important places for children to build healthy habits.
To make sure that happens, groups around the country are advocating for healthier schools, communities and ECE. The Voices for Healthy Kids initiative has funding available to support this advocacy—and if you are ready to make the case that ECE should be accessible, affordable and provide spaces for children to learn healthy habits, we want you to consider leading a Voices for Healthy Kids campaign.
Voices for Healthy Kids is a joint funding initiative of the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aims to promote healthier environments where children can learn, play and grow. In the past 6 years, Voices for Healthy Kids has helped change over 140 state and local policies affecting more than 167 million people. On April 13, 2020, Voices will release a new call for Letters of Intent to run state and local policy campaigns, including campaigns for ECE policy change.
The ECE community must lead the charge for healthier ECE standards. Working with partners in public health, health equity, nutrition and other fields, early childhood advocates can make sure that all children have access to healthy ECE environments—and ensure that these campaigns are run with us, not for us. They can also make sure that ECE providers get the support they need to meet new, healthier standards.
In 2015, leaders in the ECE community capitalized on an opportunity to update child care licensing rules in Colorado. Funding from Voices for Healthy Kids supported coalition-building and advocacy to put new nutrition, beverage, active play and screen time standards into place. Now the more than 100,000 children in Colorado child care have an even-healthier place to learn and grow. Recent victories in Alabama, Washington and Texas are giving children in those states a healthier start. Could your state be next?
Letters of Intent for this round of funding are due May 15, 2020. Voices is particularly interested in funding community-based organizations, so please share with your partners and colleagues to get the word out. Child Care Aware of America is here to answer questions you have about the application process.
Explore the grant opportunities and begin an online application at https://voicesforhealthykids.org/campaign-resources/grants.