Little Kids, Big Questions is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.
We’re challenging you to take part in a photo caption contest! Send us your most clever captions describing the photo above in a public policy context. The winning caption will be shared in the next issue of The Baby Monitor and on the ZERO TO THREE Policy Network’s Facebook page.
Submit your best caption ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, July 26. Be sure to include "Photo Caption Contest Entry" in the e-mail subject line.
Federal Policy Update
Harvest of Shame: Cuts to SNAP Leave Young Children in Limbo
Although we have had some signs of progress in Washington, DC, on early learning, the House of Representatives recently took steps that could reduce the access of many children to nutritious food as essential to healthy brain and physical development as reading Green Eggs and Ham. First, the House defeated the bipartisan Farm Bill, which authorizes both farm subsidies and nutrition programs for low-income households. Then, in an unprecedented action, the House severed these two historically mutually-supportive interests, voting to approve only the farm subsidy portion of the bill. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) for people with low incomes, including many young children, was left in limbo. What will be the harvest if the seeds of these decisions take hold? Read the rest here in the Baby Policy Blog.
State Policy Update
Budget Victories in the States for Infants and Toddlers
Several states recently passed FY2014 budgets that include additional funding for services that support infants, toddlers, and their families. States are primarily using funds to increase the number of income-eligible families receiving child care subsidies and raise reimbursement rates for providers serving these children. Funds are also being used to expand home visiting services, offer quality improvement grants to child care providers participating in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), and lower caseloads for child welfare workers. Though some states still have far to go before they are back to pre-recession funding levels, these increases are a major victory for young children. Click here to learn more about some of the states (AZ, CA, CO, MA, ME, MN, NE, NM, OR, and WA) that enhanced funding for services benefiting infants and toddlers. Read more here.
Publications & Resources Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families Child Trends released a new brief on the risks facing young children in military families as a result of the ongoing wars. The report, Home Front Alert: The Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families, looks at how the long and multiple deployments among active duty military and the high incidence of mental health disorders from returning service members can impact young children, given their susceptibility to stress. It also provides some recommendations for areas of support to address this issue, given that there are now 500,000 young children being raised in military families. Check out related resources from ZERO TO THREE’s Military Family Projects here.
Strengthening Safety Nets for America’s Children First Focus and the Foundation for Child Development recently released a report entitled A Stronger Safety Net For America’s Children. The report analyzes eleven federal safety net initiatives (eight benefit programs and three tax credits) and identifies three gaps in the safety net for children. It concludes with recommendations for state and federal policymakers to prevent children from falling through the cracks.
Examining Trends within the Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce In a recent paper, the Stanford University Center for Education Policy Analysis examines changes within the early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce from 1990 to 2010. The report found that average educational attainment and compensation increased, while turnover decreased. The study also shows a shift of the ECCE workforce towards center-based and away from home-based settings. Click here to read the paper.