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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.

It's All About Relationships!

ZERO TO THREE - National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families

   July 5, 2011 bm_joinbut  
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It's All About Relationships!
Parallels Between Infant-Toddler Development and the Public Policy Process


We know that working with infants, toddlers and their families is all about relationships. Yet relationship-building is also at the heart of effective policy and advocacy, making those of us in the early childhood community perfectly suited for policy work.

This article explores relationship-building in both early childhood and in the world of policy and advocacy. With a deeper understanding of relationships and how to build them, we can be stronger advocates for babies, toddlers and their families. Click here to download and read the article now!


Federal Policy Update

Take advantage of a great opportunity for early childhood professionals to weigh-in on how the federal government shapes the newest early learning initiative for states! The Department of Education released its initial description of how states can qualify for the Early Learning Challenge funds made available through the federal Race to the Top program. The money is to be used to increase access to high-quality early learning and development programs for high-need children, as well as build state systems for improving quality across early childhood settings. Depending on their size, states will each be able to apply for $50-$100 million of the total $500 million Early Learning Challenge funds.

The Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are using an informal, web-based process to obtain input from the field about the initial program description. Over the next week, infant-toddler advocates should read the summary and weigh in if they have comments about whether the needs of very young children could be better addressed in the program. ACT QUICKLY-comments will only be accepted until 5:00 pm EDT on Monday, July 11. Here's how it works: Go to the Department of Education website, where you will be able to download the draft executive summary of the Early Learning Challenge fund. Read through the description and post comments where you feel the needs of infants and toddlers could better be met.

After comments have closed on July 11, the Departments will begin considering all the input received as they develop the final request for proposals from states, which will be released later this summer.

Please read our Federal Policy Baby Blog for more details on this announcement.


State Policy Update
Kentucky Program Improves Outcomes for Substance-Abusing Parents Involved in the Child Welfare System and Their Children

Kentucky is engaged in cross-system collaboration to meet the needs of young children with substance-abusing parents involved with the child welfare system. The Kentucky Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Team (START) program uses an intensive intervention model that integrates addiction services, family preservation, community partnerships, and best practices in child welfare and substance abuse treatment. It is currently being implemented in four sites, three funded by the state and one funded by the Children's Bureau through a Regional Partnership Grant. Evaluation data show positive outcomes for participating parents and children. 67% percent of participating families have at least one parent who achieves and maintains sobriety, nearly double the 39% success rate in other treatment programs; and children in families served by START are 50% less likely to enter foster care when compared to similar children. A recent cost analysis found that for every $1 spent on START, the state avoids $2.52 in the cost of foster care.

Read the full state policy update now!


Publications & Resources

Resources on Mobilizing Business Champions for Children
Business leaders provide a powerful voice when it comes to advocating for sound investments in early childhood. As part of their toolkit designed to support business leaders, the organizations to which they belong, and the advocacy groups that can connect them to the issue, The Pew Center on the States' Partnership for America's Success released Mobilizing Business Champions for Children: A Guide for Advocates and Business Champions for Young Children.

New Factsheet on Child Maltreatment
The Child Welfare Information Gateway published a new factsheet summarizing information from Child Maltreatment 2009, the annual report of data collected from the States' child protective services (CPS) agencies via the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. The report showed that the youngest children continue to be the most vulnerable to maltreatment and children younger than 1 year have the highest rate of victimization.

Brief on Infants in Out-of-Home Care
Who Are the Infants in Out-of-Home Care? An Epidemiological and Developmental Snapshot, a new issue brief from Chapin Hall, argues that infants represent a distinctive subset of the out-of-home care population with unique needs and strengths. The brief distinguishes the infant population in out-of-home care from older children in terms of their incidence and duration of time spent in care, their experiences in care, and characteristics of the infants themselves and their birth families. The brief also discusses the developmental distinctiveness of infancy and the particular vulnerabilities infants in care face in terms of delays in cognitive, social, and emotional development.

New Report on State Budgets
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) released Early Care and Education State Budget Actions FY 2011, which reveals that from FY 2010 to FY 2011, state appropriations were generally stable, with increases to prekindergarten, home visiting and other early childhood initiatives and a 2% decrease to child care. The analysis is based on the overall picture of decisions made in child care subsidy programs, state prekindergarten programs, home visiting funding, and appropriations to any other early childhood initiatives that states identified.

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