New Resources: Including and Expanding Early Head Start in State Early Childhood Systems
In April 2011, the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center hosted a second meeting with state teams to discuss ways that Early Head Start could be included and expanded in state early childhood systems. This year's meeting included teams from Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Mississippi and Hawaii.
The goals for both meetings were to:
Highlight innovative state models and strategies for including and expanding EHS in state early childhood systems.
Assist participating states in moving forward to integrate EHS and their developing early childhood systems so that more infants and toddlers receive high quality services.
Develop state action plans for next steps and preliminary ideas for using an on-site technical assistance visit to deal with a specific challenge around inclusion or expansion of EHS in the state’s early childhood system.
Promote relationships and continued collaborative work among participants.
Click here for information about the two meetings, with notes from each session and links to presentations and other resources shared with participants.
Download August's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar
It's summer, which means time for lazy days in the sun, and what better time to catch up on your infant-toddler reading list! Your advocacy challenge this month is to pick three resources to read, and share that reading list with friends and colleagues. Download August's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar Now!
Federal Policy Update
Over the weekend, the President and bipartisan congressional leaders reached an agreement to raise the federal debt limit and reduce deficits over the next ten years. The House is expected to vote on the bipartisan deal later this evening, and, assuming that the measure passes the House, a Senate vote will be held tomorrow. Although the passage of this deal would prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt, the deficit reduction measures contained in the plan threaten funding for vital programs and services that protect and support young children's healthy development.
The deficit reduction component of the deal will come from drastic cuts to federal spending. While revenue increases will be considered in the future, they are not included in the current deal. In total, the deal would raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, allowing the U.S. to continue to pay its bills into 2013, and reduce the deficit by at least $2.1 trillion over the course of a decade. The plan would be implemented in two parts, each with its own set of implications for infants, toddlers, and families. While we do not yet know to what extent these cuts will impact individual programs that support low-income infants, toddlers, and their families, it is clear that achieving at least $2.1 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years would require deep cuts to programs across the board. Although the agreement provides potential short-term relief from an already dire budget atmosphere, the needs of our nation's youngest and most vulnerable children must not be ignored.
For a detailed description of the deal, as well as its potential impact on infants, toddlers, and their families, please read our Federal Policy Baby Blog.
State Policy Update
North Carolina Judge Rules that Early Education is Vital to a Child's Right to Basic Education
On July 18, North Carolina Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. issued the first court ruling that acknowledges the pivotal role early education plays in allowing at-risk children to avail themselves of their right to a sound basic education. Judge Manning called specific attention to the benefits of at-risk children participating in Smart Start, the state's early childhood system, and the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten (NCPK) program, formerly known as More at Four. The ruling is part of the long-running Leandro school quality lawsuit and addressed legal challenges to the 2011 budget bill, which among other things established a 20% cap on the number of at-risk children that could be served by NCPK. Judge Manning's order prohibits the state from implementing this cap or any other barrier that would deny eligible at-risk four-year-olds admission to NCPK. The implications of the ruling are still unclear, but it has been received as a major victory for at-risk young children in the state.
Read the full state policy update now!
Publications & Resources
Launch of National Movement for America’s Children
A group of child advocacy organizations, spearheaded by Prevent Child Abuse America, have launched a nationwide pledge, listening tour, and crowd-sourcing tool designed to develop a national strategy for the healthy growth and development of every child. The National Movement for America’s Children (The Movement) is founded on the basic principle that all of our children deserve nurturing environments that support healthy brain development so they are prepared to learn in school, grow into productive, contributing adults, and help their community, and our country, be prosperous and competitive in the global economy.
ZERO TO THREE is a founding partner in The Movement and hopes it will energize grassroots support for policies and actions that give every baby a good start in life. Read more about The Movement on our Federal Policy Baby Blog.
New Reports on Federal Investment in Children
Two new reports analyze federal spending on children. First Focus released Children's Budget 2011, the latest edition of the First Focus Children's Budget series, which provides an analysis of the over 180 federally funded programs aimed at enhancing the well-being of children, and how their appropriations levels have changed over the past five years. Kids' Share 2011: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2010 from The Urban Institute looks comprehensively at trends over the past 50 years in federal spending and tax expenditures on children. Key findings suggest that the size and composition of expenditures on children have changed considerably, but children have not been a budget priority.
Information on Linking Home-based Care and State-funded Preschool
Linking Home-Based Child Care And State-Funded Preschool: The Community Connections Preschool Program (Illinois Action for Children) presents findings from the implementation study conducted by Child Trends and National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) of the Illinois Action for Children's Community Connections Preschool Program in Cook County, Illinois, which connects children in licensed and license-exempt home-based child care to public preschool classrooms.
Report on How QRIS Support Early Childhood Workforce Quality
The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California at Berkeley published, Staff Preparation, Reward, and Support: Are Quality Rating and Improvement Systems Addressing All of the Key Ingredients Necessary for Change?, a research brief that looks at the extent to which QRIS include key elements that support or improve early childhood workforce quality, especially in the areas of staff qualifications, professional development, compensation and benefits, and workplace environment.