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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.

Encouraging Parents to Advocate for Young Children

The Baby Monitor

August 6, 2012

Encouraging Parents to Advocate for Young Children

The voices of advocates come in many forms. As a member of the ZERO TO THREE Policy Network, you know how important it is for professionals in the early childhood field to be involved in the public policy process. Parents can also be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to influencing policy decisions for infants and toddlers—if they are provided the right tools and encouragement. This article, Encouraging Parents to be a Big Voice for Little KidsTM, is intended to help early childhood professionals engage and encourage parents to advocate on behalf of young children and families. 

Federal Policy Update

Early Agreement Reached on Continued Government Funding

Before heading home last week for the August district work period, Congress reached an agreement on the basic provisions of a long-term Continuing Resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2013 funding. The agreement would extend funding for discretionary programs, including many important to infants and toddlers, until the end of March 2013  at $1.047 trillion (the amount agreed upon in last year’s Budget Control Act). This early agreement on a long-term CR forestalls the annual threat of a government shutdown as Congress maneuvers on funding levels almost to the stroke of midnight.

One reason Congress avoided the usual last-minute drama over keeping the government running was the need following the election to tackle two budgetary issues that are much bigger and less easily addressed. The first is the across-the-board cuts, or sequester, on January 1, 2013 required by last year’s Budget Control Act. These cuts will reduce discretionary spending by over a trillion dollars over 10 years and must be divided equally between defense and non-defense spending. The other big issue is the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts which would occur on that same day, meaning all individuals would be looking at higher taxes for the year. Both of these issues are wrapped up in the larger debate over controlling deficits and setting funding priorities.

For more information on the Continuing Resolution agreement, read the Baby Policy Blog. Follow the blog over the next few weeks to learn more about the important decisions that will affect programs that support infant-toddler development.

State Policy Update

Massachusetts Distributes All Babies Cry Resource

In an effort to promote healthy parenting behaviors and prevent child abuse in the first year of life, the Children’s Trust Fund of Massachusetts is distributing All Babies Cry to programs working with new parents. All Babies Cry is an evidence-based intervention that empowers new mothers and fathers with practical demonstrations of infant soothing and clear strategies for managing normal stress in parenting. It includes an 11 minute introductory video designed to be shown to parents in the hospital; a DVD for families to take home focusing on understanding what is normal about crying, comforting a baby, caring for themselves as parents, and coping with colic; and a booklet with checklists, activities, and links to additional resources. Vida Health Communications Inc. produced All Babies Cry and is currently working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and five regional hospitals to evaluate it. Read the full state policy update now.

Publications & Resources

New KIDS COUNT Data Book
The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released the 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book, which provides a detailed picture of how children are faring in the U.S. The data book ranks states on overall child well-being in four key areas: Economic Well-being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. The data is also presented by state and region using an interactive data wheel.

Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness
The Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE), a project established to provide an assessment of the evidence of effectiveness for home visiting program models, has identified new models that meet criteria established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read the report here.

Outcomes for Children Served Through IDEA
Using data from 2010-2011 state Part C and Part B preschool programs, the Early Childhood Outcomes Center has released a summary sheet detailing outcomes for young children with disabilities or delays who received services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This summary can be viewed here.

National Indicators of Child Well-Being
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a working group of 22 Federal agencies, has released the 2012 America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being. The report features statistics on children and families in the U.S. across a range of areas, including family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education and health.

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ZERO TO THREE · National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families
1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350 · Washington, DC 20037 · www.zerotothree.org

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