A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers
A group of leading child welfare and early childhood development organizations that includes American Humane Association, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Welfare League of America, Children's Defense Fund, and ZERO TO THREE, is releasing a new policy agenda for infants and toddlers in the child welfare system. The policy agenda represents these organizations' collective vision on the essential steps that should be taken in policies, programs, and practices to address the needs of these vulnerable infants and toddlers, who are at risk for a host of developmental problems that could follow them throughout their lives.
As an advocate for infants and toddlers, you can use this paper with policymakers as a starting point for creating a response to the special needs of young children in the child welfare system. Read the agenda now to learn about the compelling evidence on the effect of maltreatment on the development of infants and toddlers, and use it to engage policymakers in important conversations on revising policies to protect the youngest children in the child welfare system.
Federal Policy Update
Congress has returned to Washington, and negotiations continue in an attempt to reach agreement on a debt reduction plan to accompany an increase in the debt limit. Some lawmakers are insisting that a plan for cutting the federal deficit be in place before they will vote to raise the limit on the amount the U.S. can borrow to pay its bills; the catch is that no consensus on methods for attacking the deficit problem is at hand. Meanwhile, the regular annual budget process is creeping along, and the Senate Budget Committee may reveal its take on the federal budget this week.
In the midst of this foggy landscape, babies and toddlers remain at risk. Stringent caps on federal spending would most likely require deep cuts in domestic funding-both discretionary and mandatory-including Medicaid as well as programs such as Early Head Start, child care, and early intervention. Policymakers need to hear from infant-toddler advocates that cuts should not be blindly targeted, with the result that our fiscal deficit is replaced with a human one. Any approach for reducing the deficit should protect programs for vulnerable children and families as well as look at remedies in both the spending and revenue sides of the budget.
Read our Federal Policy Baby Blog and continue checking it this week for more information on raising awareness during this budget fog about the need to protect vulnerable children and families.
State Policy Update
Maryland Implements Extended IFSP Option
In 2009 the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) received a $14.4 million incentive grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money offered MSDE the opportunity to build a seamless system of comprehensive and coordinated early intervention and preschool special education services for children birth through five. With this vision, Maryland implemented an Extended Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) Option, giving parents of eligible children the choice to remain on an IFSP after age three. The Extended IFSP Option combines family education, service coordination, and year-round services with special instruction to promote school readiness. Families are eligible for the Extended IFSP Option if the child has a current IFSP and is determined eligible for preschool special education services. Since implementation on February 1, 2010, approximately 70% of families of eligible children have chosen an Extended IFSP. A significant achievement of the program is the increased percentage of children three years of age receiving services at home or in community early childhood environments. To date, 92% of three and four year-old children in the Option receive services in the natural environment.
Read the full state policy update now!
Publications & Resources
Report on State Leadership in Building Early Childhood Systems
The report, A Framework for State Leadership and Action in Building the Components of an Early Childhood System, prepared for BUILD by Charlie Bruner, contains practical examples of successfully-applied policies within and across early childhood systems, and is intended as a resource for systems builders and members of state advisory councils as they consider and refine the delivery of comprehensive services to young children and families.
New Data on Maltreatment of Infants and Toddlers
Child Trends' latest Early Childhood Highlights brief, Young and Vulnerable: Children Five and Under Experience High Maltreatment Rates, found that infants and children up to age 5 are disproportionately reported for abuse and neglect. This brief contains national and state tables of maltreatment rates.
Early Intervention Fact Sheet
The Importance of Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and their Families fact sheet from NECTAC provides a brief overview of the Part C program and quick facts from the research on early brain development, the importance of intervening early, the benefits of early intervention, and current unmet needs. It is meant to be used as a tool to communicate with policymakers, pediatricians, families, and community leaders about the importance of high quality services for infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental delays and their families.
New Training and Technical Assistance Glossary
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) released Early Childhood Education Professional Development: Training and Technical Assistance Glossary, intended to serve as a guide for states to adapt to meet their specific needs. The definitions are also designed to provide common understandings, or starting points, for research and national or cross-state discussions. The definitions were developed for those who provide professional development, state policy makers, early education advocates, and program administrators working to connect professional development activities and initiatives into an integrated system.
Early Childhood Advisory Council State Profiles
State profiles on the early childhood advisory councils are now available on the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) website. In partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, the NGA Center developed profiles for the 45 states and five territories receiving federal grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that provide overviews of each state council, including its administering agency, history, membership, activities, and priorities for the ARRA grant, and communication strategies.