Are You LinkedIn?
The ZERO TO THREE Policy Network wants to meet you in our new LinkedIn group! Our LinkedIn group will provide a forum for Policy Network members to connect with other professionals in the early childhood field, exchange ideas, and start or continue important discussions with fellow advocates. To learn more about the group and to join, click here.
This month's advocacy challenge is to build your professional relationships by joining the new ZERO TO THREE Policy Network LinkedIn group. Download February's Advocacy Developmental Milestone calendar now and share it with your colleagues and friends!
Federal Policy Update
The second session of the 112th Congress is poised to get underway. The House returned last week, and the Senate comes back this week, in time for a joint session of Congress to hear President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 24. (Read the Baby Policy Blog after the speech to learn more about its implications for the youngest Americans.) Meanwhile, Congress must soon sort out several issues held over from the last session, including the expiration of programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the mandatory child care funding at the end of February. A speedy resolution is not expected. One issue that will be resolved without much fuss is the need once again to increase the debt ceiling. Last year, after debate over raising the government's borrowing limit took the country to the brink of default, the Budget Control Act (BCA) created a process by which the President could raise the debt ceiling unless both Houses of Congress opposed the increase. While the House did approve a resolution last week objecting to the President's request for the next increase built into the BCA, the Senate will almost certainly reject the resolution, meaning the borrowing limit will be raised quietly at the end of this week.
For the latest developments in federal policy affecting infants and toddlers, please read the Baby Policy Blog and subscribe to the RSS feed.
State Policy Update
North Carolina Develops Nationally Recognized Infant/Toddler Child Development Associate Credential
North Carolina collaborated with the Council for Professional Recognition (CDA Council) to develop the first state Infant/Toddler Child Development Associate (I/T CDA) credential that is nationally recognized. North Carolina's strong community college system laid the foundation for the effort. All 58 community colleges in the state use a common course library which allows students to search through all curriculum and continuing education courses offered by the community college system in one place. State leaders were able to crosswalk the common course library with the CDA competencies. The resulting I/T CDA requires 16-18 credit hours from a specified list of courses. North Carolina's common course library ensures the classes are available statewide and that students can combine credits from multiple community colleges to achieve the I/T CDA. The I/T CDA is integrated into the state's licensing and quality rating and improvement systems. It is also embedded in the state's professional development pathways. All of the courses required for the I/T CDA count toward an early childhood associate degree.
Read the full state policy update now!
Publications & Resources
America's Best Intergenerational Communities Award
Has your community done an outstanding job of connecting older generations with programs for infants and toddlers? Generations United and MetLife Foundation are looking for the "Best Intergenerational Communities" in America. Judges will select five communities based on standard criteria including a community's demographics, services, programs, and organizational structure. Applications are due January 31, 2012. Learn more here.
State Report Card on Child Homelessness
A new report card from the National Center on Family Homelessness, "America's Youngest Outcasts 2010: State Report Card on Child Homelessness", documents the numbers of homeless children in every state, their well-being, the risk for child homelessness, and state level planning and policy activities. Using these four criteria, states are ranked from 1 (best) to 50 (worst). The report offers proactive policy solutions that state and federal governments can use to help stabilize and support families with young children who are currently at risk or already are experiencing homelessness.
Op-Ed on Effects of Toxic Stress
In a recent op-ed, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof sheds light on the effects of toxic stress on infants and toddlers and the importance of early childhood interventions. Kristof summarizes a recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which warns that toxic stress can harm children for life. Toxic stress, which can arise from parental substance abuse or chronic neglect, impairs a child's development as early as conception. Read the article here.
Recession's Impact on Children
Although the recession is over, children in every state continue to be negatively impacted by its effects. First Focus and the Brookings Institute have updated a brief, "The Recession's Ongoing Impact on America's Children: Indicators of Children's Economic Well-Being Through 2011", to include three new economic indicators: children with an unemployed parent, individuals receiving nutrition assistance benefits, and child poverty rates. These indicators are tracked for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and include the author's predictions for child poverty in 2011.