How Early Learning Challenge Grant Recipients are Targeting Infants & Toddlers
In December, nine states were awarded four-year Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (ELC) grants to improve their early learning and development systems. While all of the grant recipients' plans will positively impact infants and toddlers through a variety of broad strategies, some states targeted very young children specifically by including proposals focused on infants and toddlers. To learn more about how ELC grant recipients are targeting infants and toddlers, read the full article here.
Download January's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar
It's January and the start of a new year! On New Year's Day, the nation often recognizes and celebrates the birth of the first baby born in the New Year. As infant toddler professionals, you celebrate the birth of babies year-round. Your challenge this month is to promote the healthy development of all babies by ensuring they receive proper developmental screenings. Download January's Advocacy Developmental Milestone calendar now!
Your Advocacy Made a Difference!
Last month, we alerted you to the fact that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Final Rule to stop covering the reimbursement of developmental screening services. After lots of advocacy and public outcry, including from many members of the ZERO TO THREE Policy Network, CMS released a new bulletin which clarified that CPT 96110 can continue to be used by Medicaid and private payers for developmental screening. Read more about the new decision here. Thank you to Policy Network members for speaking up on behalf of vulnerable infants, toddlers, and families!
Federal Policy Update
Last year ended with Congress completing the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations process, resulting in an increase for Head Start and Early Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and other programs vital to the healthy development of infants and toddlers. As calendar year 2012 (and the second session of the 112th Congress) begins, we are looking ahead to... you guessed it-- babies and the budget! Congress will soon be back in session, and funding decisions will once again need to be made for the many programs important to infants and toddlers that are funded through the annual appropriations process. What is unique this year, unlike previous years, is the effect of the 2011 agreement on the Budget Control Act-- reducing annual appropriations by nearly $1 trillion over ten years when compared to the current level of spending. To learn more, read the Federal Policy Baby Blog.
Publications & Resources
Article about Play for Children in Poverty
Research has found that free unstructured play contributes to one's social and emotional growth. A new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics titled "The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining a Strong Parent-Child Bond: Focus on Children in Poverty" addresses the issues that may deprive children who live in poverty from gaining the maximum benefit from play. The report offers guidance on how pediatricians can advocate for children by helping families, school systems, and communities consider how to ensure play is protected and promoted.
Webinar Presents Toolkit for Part C Services
In response to federal requirements that states use Part C funds as Payor of Last Resort, the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) partnered with other organizations to support states in finding alternative resources for Part C services. This webinar recording presents information and a "toolkit" of resources to help states understand Medicaid's Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) Program and how it can be used to provide services for infants, toddlers and children with disabilities.
New Head Start and Early Head Start Fact Sheets
Based on findings from the 2010 Head Start Program Information Report (PIR), CLASP recently released two new fact sheets providing a look at the Head Start and Early Head Start programs in the 2009-2010 program year. These fact sheets look at the characteristics of enrolled children and their families, as well as the programs children attended and their staff. The 2010 PIR data examined in this brief is the first year of data that includes American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funds. The Early Head Start fact sheets and the Head Start fact sheets are available on CLASP's website.