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.
Celebrating Head Start Awareness Month Thirty-one years ago, President Reagan proclaimed October National Head Start Awareness Month. In commemoration, we celebrate and raise visibility of the impact of Head Start and Early Head Start (EHS) programs on millions of low-income children and their families:
On October 2nd, hundreds of Head Start and EHS supporters kicked off the month as they rallied in Washington, DC to “Stop the Cuts” to Head Start/EHS programs caused by sequestration. Click here for a recap of the rally.
Events are continuing to happen throughout October, both in your state and online. Check the National Head Start Association’s website for a list of activities.
ZERO TO THREE is tweeting facts about Head Start and EHS all month long. Follow us on Twitter (@ZEROTOTHREE) to read the latest tweets.
Federal Policy Update
Congress Continues to Debate as Debt Deadline Closes In
Like paddlers in a boat frantically trying to avoid going over a waterfall, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have been negotiating to reach a deal to reopen the government and stave off defaulting on our nation’s debt. Federal programs that support children and families struggle to continue benefits with cobbled-together funding. Meanwhile, only two days remain before the country’s ability to borrow money ends. Although signs point to the Senate drawing close to a final deal, the outcome depends on the House of Representatives. The outline of the prospective Senate deal—funding the government through January 15 and extending the ability to borrow to cover debts and payments until February 7—found opposition in the House, where Members indicated they would insist on including changes to the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA). The insistence on defunding ACA precipitated the government shutdown, now entering its third week. As the Baby Monitor goes out, the situation on Capitol Hill is still in flux.
The American people as well as the rest of the world are watching as the House and Senate engage in counter proposals. Babies’ development can’t shut down when programs are closed and the nation’s economic security hangs in the balance. Please make your voices heard and continue advocating to both the Senate and the House to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, with no strings attached. You can find information on how to reach your Members of Congress here.
For the latest update on the status of programs for infants, toddlers, and families during the shutdown, read the Baby Policy Blog.
State Policy Update
Colorado Announces $3 Million in Infant and Toddler Quality and Availability Grants
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) recently announced the first awardees of the new Colorado Infant and Toddler Quality and Availability Grant Program. Twenty counties and 11 Early Childhood Councils (ECC) will receive nearly $3 million to increase access to high-quality child care for low-income infants and toddlers. The program was created in May with the successful passage of HB 12-1291. ECCs and counties jointly applied for funds. They will work collaboratively to initiate tiered reimbursement for high-quality early childhood programs serving young children receiving child care subsidies and provide supports, including professional development and materials, to child care programs to assist them in improving the quality of care they provide. Read the CDHS press release here.
Publications & Resources
Report: Raising Smart, Healthy Kids Raising Smart, Healthy Kids In Every State, a collaborative report by nine early childhood and public health organizations, details the early childhood and health benefits of the President’s initiative to expand early education through an increase in federal tobacco taxes. According to the report, enacting this proposal with an increase in federal tobacco taxes would eventually provide two million children a year with access to high-quality preschool and prevent 1.7 million kids from becoming smokers. Read the full report here.
A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy A new brief from the National Governors Association (NGA) provides state leaders a policy framework to improve language and literacy outcomes in a research-based and comprehensive way. A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting All Students Reading by Third Grade examines the gap between research and policy and describes five policy actions that governors can take to ensure all children read at grade level by the end of third grade.
Webinar: Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework On Wednesday, October 23 from 3:00-4:00 pm EDT, join the Alliance for Early Success and Child Trends for a webinar about the importance of health, family support, and learning policies in promoting the development of young children birth through age 8. The webinar will preview a new Child Trends report examining data that supports the Alliance’s policy options for its State Policy Framework. Click here to register.