September 2015 Footnotes

Footnotes-Blog-Header_FINAL-1200x400As we settle into our fall schedules and wait for the changing of the leaves here in Northern Virginia, I always feel a little nostalgic for the warm months of summer.

Looking back on the month of September, we were quite busy wrapping up our summer work and welcoming back Congress. Take a quick peek at some of what you may have missed here at Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) headquarters…

Around the Country

CCAoA’s Healthy Child Care, Healthy Communities project is currently reviewing applications and selecting participants. This Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-supported project provides two years of technical assistance from Child Care Aware® of America to 6 selected state groups on incorporating child health, nutrition and obesity prevention in child care plans. Participant selection is underway and will be announced in mid-October.

Child Care Aware® of America has enlisted individuals from diverse settings including national groups, Child Care Resource & Referral agencies, and higher education settings to serve on our new Research Advisory Group. Co-chaired by Dr. Dionne Dobbins, Senior Director of Research, CCAoA, and Dr. Kim Engelman, Senior Advisor and Director of Family and Community Engagement, CCAoA, this group will help us build a new research agenda that aligns with the needs of the child care community and positions our organization to address the challenges and leverage the opportunities in child care

We’re looking forward to our first meeting in November 2015. Stay tuned for more information.

CCAoA’s Bonnie Storm Senior Director, Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), attended the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Respite Council Working Group meeting in Washington, D.C. on September 15 and brought back a wealth of knowledge from other respite care workers and programs.

On the Hill

Child Care Aware® of America participated in the 2015 Biennial NICCA Conference at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. Members from the public policy team presented Capitol Hill advocacy strategies that included how to advocate and have successful meetings with members of Congress and staff. The team also provided support to NICCA and advocates for their ‘Day On The Hill’ to advocate for CCDBG funding.

NICCA

Jay Nichols, CCAoA’s director federal policy and governmental affairs, on the Hill with some of the dedicated NICCA advocates.

On September 30, CCAoA participated in a “Head Start Rally” on Capitol Hill sponsored by the National Head Start Association (NHSA). The event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Head Start program, and it included a number of Congressional speakers including:

  • Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
  • Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
  • Senator Time Kaine (D-VA)
  • Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN)
  • Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
  • Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD)

We were proud to stand alongside Head Start and other organizations supporting the early education of our children.

Online and On-Air

CCA-CCDBG-logo_WEBsmallOn September 29, CCAoA hosted its fourth CCDBG Implementation Station webinar highlighting the health, nutrition, and obesity prevention opportunities and mandates under the new law. The webinar was hosted by Jay Nichols and Krista Scott of CCAoA, and included Julie Shuell, Project Director, Nemours National Office of Policy and Prevention, and Beverly Lynn, Chief Executive Director of Programs for Parents, Inc. in New Jersey. More than 100 attendees participated in the webinar and discussion. If you missed it, don’t worry, you can watch it on our YouTube channel.

Member Connections

We hope to see you at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. April 4-6, 2016 for the 2016 Symposium: Celebrating Milestones, Collaborating for Results! Mark your calendars and be prepared to join in discussion on topics around policy, research, practice, and innovation.

RFPs for panel topics and discussions will be coming out soon – stay tuned for more information.

April Dodge-Ostendorf is joining the CCAoA team as our Family and Community Engagement intern so you may see more from her in the future. April is in her second and final year of a Master’s of Social Work program at the University of Missouri Kansas City. She has worked for the Missouri Children’s Division since 2004 where she has gained a wealth of on-the-ground experience related to foster care programming and child services. She has a heart for serving vulnerable children and families and is a remarkable, well-rounded and highly motivated person. April works remotely in the Kansas City area with Dr. Kim Engelman, Child Care Aware® of America’s Senior Advisor and Director of Family and Community Engagement. April’s internship with Child Care Aware of America will span the 2015-2016 academic year.

ICYMI: September in the News

MSN had an interesting article on how salary experts would calculate the value of stay-at-home mothers. Of course this includes the cost of child care, citing data from CCAoA’s 2014 Cost of Care Report. Check it out to see what else they included in their calculations.

What Happens With Child Care When Children Go Back to School?

bus-878697_1280School buses are back on the roads again for most of the country, which means day time child care may not be an issue for many school-aged children right now. But what happens to children whose parents work long or irregular hours? Where do they go for care after school?

For many families in the U.S., after-school and transitional care are an important part of the child care equation, and something the media often overlooks when reporting about families and their child care needs.

According to a report from the Afterschool Alliance (PDF), 10.2 million children participate in an after school program – this leaves 11.3 million children on their own in the hours after school, and another 19.4 million children that would participate in an after school program if one was available to them.

The importance of these after school programs, including 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) which serve children living in high-poverty areas and attending low-performing schools, cannot be overstated.

While parents across the country continue to work long or nontraditional hours, after school programs are keeping their children safe, helping to improve academic performance and behavior, and supporting working families.

But millions of kids are still being left out: For each student enrolled in a program, two students who want to participate won’t be able to go back to after school this fall due to funding shortfalls in their state.

Learn more about the quality and importance of after school care from AMERICA AFTER 3PM in their latest survey on trends in after school program participation (PDF). And as we send our children back to school, let’s keep in mind the ones who need care after school hours as well.

Take a minute to support after school programs by contacting Congress and asking your elected officials to expand funding for after school and summer learning opportunities in ESEA using the Afterschool Alliance’s online action center!

2015 State Fact Sheets: Highlighting A Complex Early Care Landscape

SFS2Each week, millions of children are shuffled between child care providers due to unpredictable schedules and limited child care availability. The landscape for child care and early education is evolving as more families rely on two-parent incomes, and costs for early care increases. States have a pivotal role in implementing policies that aim to improve the quality of early care and ease of access for millions of families across the country.

The 2015 State Fact Sheets, released today, will provide community leaders and policymakers with important data regarding the state of quality child care and early learning in their respective states.

The fact sheets detail services provided by Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, costs, health and safety, the supply and demand of child care in individual states, as well as family characteristics related to the need of child care, and the child care workforce. These fact sheets are particularly important this year given the passage of the Child Care and Development Block Grant 2014 Reauthorization and as states plan for implementation of its requirements.

We at Child Care Aware® of America will continue to make the investment in data to improve and expand the quality of child care and early learning.

Please share the 2015 State Fact Sheets with those in your community!

_SB15778CCAofA Daycare 11.08.14

We Raise America

#WeRaiseAmerica

At Child Care Aware® of America we believe information sharing, advancing discussion, and taking action are critical to affecting positive change for our nation’s children and families. We want to spark the conversation about early childhood and the future of our nation, which is what The Raising of America series and associated public engagement campaign are all about.

The documentary series The Raising of America takes us inside the brain and brings to life recent scientific research that reveals how early experiences, beginning in the womb and continuing through early childhood, can alter brain architecture and developmental trajectories.

Through the stories of families, we discover how the lack of paid parental leave and high-quality affordable childcare, stagnant wages and overcrowded housing, depression and social exclusion, and perhaps most of all the time crunch, too often undermine the efforts of parents and child care providers struggling to create the nurturing environments all children need to thrive.

We’re also proud to highlight the work of Renee Boynton-Jarrett, M.D., Sc.D., pediatrician and Child Care Aware® of America board member. As a contributor to the series, Dr. Boynton-Jarrett adds her expertise on the importance of early growth and development as a precursor to future success, and as a member of our board, we’re excited to have her breadth of knowledge

Screenings are happening all over the country – find one near you and join in the discussion, or host one of your own!

As child care providers and advocates we know how important our work is to the growth and development of America’s children. So join in and share your thoughts with us on social media! We’ll be following the hashtag #WeRaiseAmerica on Twitter to see what you’re talking about.

Ask yourself: So how is it that children in the U.S. have worse outcomes on most measures of health, education and well-being than other rich nations? How can we do better?

Watch this short intro to the series and hear from some of the experts, including Boynton-Jarrett, who are advocating for more involvement in children’s health and growth in their earliest years.

The Raising of America Series – TRAILER (11min) from California Newsreel on Vimeo.

Celebrate the National Day of Summer Learning

The nationwide Day of Summer Learning is Friday, June 19, 2015! This is a national advocacy day led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and meant to show the importance of continuing learning, safety and wellness for children during the summer months.

While participation in summer learning programs has increased, there is still a tremendous unmet demand for more programs according to a new America After 3PM study, which shows that 33 percent of families say that at least one of their children participated in a summer program in 2013 while 51% of parents say they want their children in a summer program.

Some of the demographics of children in summer learning programs, according to the America After 3PM study:

  • 42% are African-American
  • 39% are Hispanic
  • 34% are in a federal free or reduced-price lunch program

According to NSLA:

Research shows that summers without quality learning opportunities put our nation’s youth at risk for falling behind – year after year – in core subjects like math and reading. The math and reading skills low-income students lose each summer are cumulative and contribute significantly to the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income kids.

Our children need support and resources to help close the achievement gap and give them a chance to move ahead, not play catch up! As a supporter of early education initiatives and childhood learning, Child Care Aware® of America would like to join NSLA in asking everyone to take the pledge to #KeepKidsLearning this the summer. You can find events around the country taking place on Friday, June 19!

AA3_summer-learning

Building Relationships with Exceptional Families

Editor’s note: This is a guest blog by Richard Schott, Senior Chief of National Programs at Child Care Aware® of America. Rich is a 25-year veteran and retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps.

Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of visiting Langley Air Force Base to take a deeper dive into Child Care Aware® of America’s U.S. Air Force Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).  For those of you not already familiar, the Air Force EFMP serves approximately 736 families stationed throughout the country in need of quality child care services. Many of these families have children diagnosed with moderate or severe special needs that require unique child care considerations and sometimes require specialized continuity of care. This program, free for eligible families, provides parents with brief, but vital relief from the daily tasks that come with a special needs child.

Upon arriving at Langley I met with Ursula Santiago, a U.S. Air Force EFMP-Family Support Liaison.  As an EFMP liaison, Ursula regularly attends Langley Air Force Base newcomer orientations with the responsibility of making parents aware of the EFMP program and encouraging eligible families to participate. Ursula showed a wealth of enthusiasm toward the work that she does.  As a mother of an EFMP child herself, Ursula understands first-hand how a little bit of time to yourself or with a spouse can make a world of difference.

“We try to fill in the gap and connect military families with what they need. I can honestly say that everyone involved has a heart to help. The Respite Care program gives families relief when they need it most.” said Santiago. “It has saved marriages.”

While at Langley, I also had the pleasure to meet with staff from The Planning Council, Child Care Aware® of America’s partner agency.  I visited their office and had a chance to speak with some of the case managers who work with EFMP child care providers, Air Force families at Langley, and Navy EFMP families in Norfolk, Virginia.  This dedicated group of individuals listen with intensity and work with sensitivity when connecting parents with their ideal provider.  The intake process may start with simple paperwork, but it moves quickly to over-the-phone conversations and in-person meetings between case managers and families. Case managers make every effort to completely understand the needs of the child, the capabilities of the provider, and the type of support both need to maintain such a close relationship for many years.

Everything I’d seen that day—from Ursula, to the case managers, to my own work—came together when I met Emma.  Emma is a child enrolled in the Navy Exceptional Family Member Program. She has a condition that requires her to wear a back brace.  I met Emma in her home, along with her mother and child care provider.  Emma’s happy interactions with them made it clear that her provider was more than an occasional caregiver, but a trusted partner in Emma’s care and a critical relationship in her development.  In one month, they would celebrate five years together. And those five years are what make the of the EFMP liaisons, The Planning Council, and everything that we do here at Child Care Aware® of America so inspiring. I returned home with a deeper sense of both pride and responsibility. The Exceptional Family Member Program is an invaluable system of support for families. To the providers, it’s more than just a job; it is about the relationships and the commitment to care. And to me, it’s a promise to building relationships that will positively impact the lives of children and families.