Engaging the Business Community in Advocacy
When you think of people who would be natural allies in advocating for the well-being of very young children, who do you think of? Almost certainly you think of other professionals in the early childhood field. But do you ever think about business people? Probably not, and yet members of the business community can be among the most influential and supportive allies of the early childhood field.
So how can we get business leaders involved in our advocacy efforts on behalf of infants and toddlers? The Pew Center on the States created a variety of resources to help advocates engage the business community, including Mobilizing Business Champions for Children: A Guide for Advocates, and a report on business leaders making a difference for children across the country. For additional ideas on partnering with the business community, you can also check out this article from the ZERO TO THREE Policy Network.
Download October's Developmental Milestone Advocacy Calendar
One of the greatest resources available to you as an advocate is other advocates. Connecting with like-minded professionals, parents and policymakers in your community will allow you to draw on each individual's skills and strengths and to create a strong, united and clear message on behalf of infants and toddlers. This month's advocacy challenge is to invite a speaker from a local early childhood advocacy organization to speak at your workplace. Download October's Developmental Milestone Advocacy Calendar Now!
Federal Policy Update
Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System: Congress Answers the Call
Back in May, a group of concerned children’s organizations issued A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers, urging policymakers and practitioners at all levels to adopt a developmental approach to caring for babies in the child welfare system. Last week, Congress answered the call. Both House and Senate passed and sent to the President the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (H.R. 2883, S. 1542), reauthorizing federal child welfare programs. One provision requires states to describe in their child welfare plans how they address the developmental needs of young children in their care—a first for federal legislation.
It is important that states view this new provision as a prime opportunity to reexamine the care they provide to the youngest, most vulnerable children. We urge states to use the Call to Action as a resource to think through the steps of a developmental approach to child welfare services. For ideas on getting started, please read our Federal Policy Baby Blog.
State Policy Update
Illinois Releases Application for Early Childhood Construction Grants
Illinois is offering a funding opportunity to assist early childhood centers with the renovation and expansion of their facilities. The Early Childhood Construction Grant program was established by the Illinois General Assembly last year to increase early childhood services in underserved areas. Grantees will be awarded up to $5 million to acquire or construct a new facility, purchase equipment, add on to an existing center, and/or make safety improvements. A 10% local match is required. Public school districts, Preschool for All programs, and licensed and license-exempt private nonprofit child care centers are eligible to apply. Grant applications will be rated based on community need, proposed program, and project readiness. Projects located in communities with the greatest underserved population of young children will be given priority. A total of $25 million is available in the first round of funding. Applications are due at the end of November.
Click here for the full state update and information more about how to apply for an Early Childhood Construction Grant!
Publications & Resources
New Paper on State Early Learning and Development Systems
A new paper from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), State Issues and Innovations in Creating Integrated Early Learning and Development Systems, examines efforts to build state-integrated early learning and development systems for children, across six themes: leadership; data usage; quality improvement; community partnerships; physical and behavioral integration; and children with multiple risks. It provides background information, state examples, and contact information on each issue, as well as numerous live links to state websites to help readers find out more.
Unofficial Part C Regulations Released
The US Department of Education released an unofficial version of the Part C Final Regulations earlier this month. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation, and governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Read the final regulations here.
Upcoming Conference on Developmental and Learning Disorders
The The Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders (ICDL) will hold its 15th annual conference on November 11-12, 2011 at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Hotel and Executive Meeting Center in Rockville, Maryland. This year's conference, "The DIR/Floortime Approach: Bridging Developmental Disabilities, Learning Differences & Mental Health," will feature panels on cutting edge research in autism spectrum disorders, promoting social-emotional capacities in the community, and lessons learned from children exposed to trauma. Click here for more information and to register.
Resources on Using Data to Build Early Care and Education Systems
Children's Defense Fund recently hosted a 2 day institute Data Driven Decisions: Separating Fact from Fiction in Building Early Care and Education Systems, a 2-day institute that brought together early childhood teams from Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina to discuss ways to effectively develop their state's early childhood data systems. This meeting was the first in a series of CDF sponsored events which will focus on the utilization of data to build early care and education systems for children birth through age 8, and was the beginning of an ongoing collaboration which aims to support the work of the state teams in designing early childhood data systems that guide decisions on resource allocation, advocacy issues, evaluation design, workforce development and parent/family engagement. See the meeting agenda and presentations here.