COVID Underscored the Need for Early Childhood Education. Are Fundraisers Seeing More Support?

By CCAoA on January 12, 2022

Inside Philanthropy

At the Arlington, Virginia-based Child Care Aware of America (CCAA), an umbrella organization of child care resource and referral agencies, Deputy Executive Officer Michelle McCready...reports a big uptick in interest and an expanded pool of new foundations and funders from adjacent issues. Institutions with a traditional focus on disaster relief, economic security, women’s issues and K-12 education now all see common cause with ECE and are responding positively to requests for support.

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Federal Aid Is Propping Up Child Care. It Isn't a Long-Term Fix.

By CCAoA on January 12, 2022

Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts)

Many of the recent proposals will likely be funded by American Rescue Plan Act funds—even if governors aren’t making that explicit, said Anne Hedgepeth, deputy chief of policy for Child Care Aware of America, a nonprofit that works with child care resource and referral agencies and advocates for child care policies. 

“You see relief [funds] driving it,” she said. 

Some states have started distributing the federal child care funds, but others still are working on their plans for the money. 

That’s partly due to timing, Hedgepeth said. In some states, legislatures need to approve the spending and didn’t have time to do so last session.

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WATCH: Helms joins CCAoA Board of Directors

By CCAoA on January 04, 2022

Hot Springs Sentinel-Record (AR)

Terri Helms, program director of Child Care Aware West Central Arkansas at National Park College, will join the board of directors of Child Care Aware of America this month.

"It's an overwhelmingly humbling experience for me to be a part of a group that I so admire and respect," Helms said Monday.

"I've served on many committees, I've served on boards before, but never at this level in this capacity. The expectations are great and I like a good challenge. So I have to remind myself, be careful what I asked for because it is here," she said.

Read the full article and watch the video.

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Child care hiring crisis is closing programs and keeping parents out of workforce

By CCAoA on December 16, 2021

CNN.com

The average annual cost of child care nationwide is more than $10,000 per kid, according to Child Care Aware of America. For the average couple, that's roughly 10% of their income. For single parents, it's 35%.

President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill -- which passed the House in November but whose future is uncertain in the Senate -- would invest nearly $400 billion in child care, boosting worker wages, offering universal free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, and guaranteeing that middle-class families pay no more than 7% of their incomes on child care.

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Child Care Aware of America Launches Future of Quality Child Care Initiative

By CCAoA on December 01, 2021

Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) announced today that it is launching the Future of Quality Child Care Initiative, an in-depth examination of how child care quality can be improved when inequities are removed, parent preferences are affirmed, and all providers are valued equally.  

CCAoA approaches this topic with a level of curiosity and purpose in service to a moment where the transformation of the child care system is at hand. It is urgent and required for re-envisioning equity within a system that is currently inequitable. The initiative’s goal is to clarify what quality means for early childhood education across provider settings, including home-based care and care offered during non-traditional hours. It will include an analysis of the pandemic’s impact on care and will be informed by input from child care providers, educators, parents, children, employers and other organizations.  
 
CCAoA will publish policy, research and practice recommendations on professional development and learning, resource allocation, provider capacity building, quality rating and improvement, and licensure beginning in the summer of 2022. This work will help policymakers, advocates and providers better understand how to create measures of quality that are equitable and benefit both children and the child care field. 

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CCAoA Statement on House Passage of Build Back Better Act

By CCAoA on November 19, 2021

Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America, released the following statement in response to passage of the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives: 

Today we are one step closer to making an accessible, affordable child care system a reality for families and children across the country. To the Representatives that voted to advance the Build Back Better Act – thank you.  

High-quality child care and preschool support the well-being and economic security of our children, families and communities. Our future as a country – both immediate and long-term – requires a path forward towards a more equitable system of early learning that has robust support.  

The Build Back Better Act would put us on that path by investing long-term to make high-quality child care affordable and accessible for millions of families and ensure universal preschool is available for all 3- and 4-year-old children. 

As family budgets are stretched, there is urgency for Congress to act and get the Build Back Better Act across the finish line. It’s time to get this done.  

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How the pandemic has forced a new generation of latchkey kids

By CCAoA on November 15, 2021

TODAY Show (NBC)

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Overnight, millions of children became latchkey kids as after school programs shuttered, and remaining programs raised prices and reduced available slots.

"Having 7.7 million children in 2020 who don't have access to care and are left alone and unsupervised is certainly a concern," Dr. Lynette Fraga, CEO Child Care Aware, told TODAY Monday.

"So many of these programs shut down. And either temporarily, or unfortunately, many shut down permanently," Fraga said. "And this has really caused, of course, a tremendous challenge for parents who are accessing care."

Watch the story.

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CCAoA Statement on the Announcement of the Build Back Better Framework

By CCAoA on October 28, 2021

Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America, released the following statement in response to the Build Back Better Framework:  

Today, President Joe Biden announced the framework for the Build Back Better Act, which includes $400 billion for child care and early learning investments over 6 years. Child Care Aware of America applauds this monumental announcement to bring about transformative change for nearly every family with young children.  

The Build Back Better Act framework prioritizes child care and early learning alongside investments in climate and caregiving and will support our families and communities in the coming years. This demonstrates an understanding of the critical role child care and early learning play in the well-being and economic security of our families and communities. New, long-term programs to make high-quality child care affordable and accessible for millions of families and ensure universal preschool is available for all 3- and 4-year-old children, with funding provided for 6 years, will put us on the path to achieving a more equitable system of early learning. 

The negotiations in Congress were not without compromise. We will continue to push Congress to move forward with additional investments to support families, like paid leave.   

We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to make the historic Build Back Better framework a reality. Families and children cannot wait, as our child care and early learning system is in a precarious state. The Build Back Better Act will bring meaningful change to millions of children, setting them up for success and ensuring their families have support. 

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Biden's finishing what Obama started with early learning

By Mario Cardona on October 27, 2021

The Hill

Op-ed by Mario Cardona, CCAoA Chief of Policy and Practice

President Biden’s child care and universal preschool proposals have received a lot of attention, much of it focused on whether the proposals will survive negotiations in the Senate around what to maintain in the Build Back Better Act, the President’s “human infrastructure” bill. 

What has attracted less attention is how the policy design represents a distillation of some of the best thinking on how to create universal preschool and a child care entitlement that guarantees nearly every family access to affordable, accessible, high-quality early learning opportunities.

Read the full op-ed.

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Exacerbated by pandemic, child care crisis hampers economy

By CCAoA on October 27, 2021

Associated Press

“Early learning is no longer seen as just a women’s issue or a children’s issue. It’s really seen as an economic issue. It’s about workforce participation,” said Mario Cardona, policy chief for Child Care Aware of America. “It’s about employers who don’t have to worry about whether they’ll be able to rely upon employees.”

Child Care Aware of America estimates 9% of licensed child care programs have permanently closed since the pandemic began, based on its tally of nearly 16,000 shuttered centers and in-home day cares in 37 states between December 2019 and March 2021.

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