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.
A parade of small children pulling wagonloads of boxes marched into the White House this afternoon to deliver more than 30,000 messages to thank President Obama for his Early Learning Initiative. Many of you sent letters and photos that helped fill those boxes. ZERO TO THREE and other early childhood advocates joined the children in showing appreciation for the President’s leadership on early childhood issues. Cecilia Munoz (shown above with the children), Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, received the messages on behalf of the President. These handmade missives—which included photos, drawings from young children, and letters from early childhood professionals—spoke louder than any words to convey the commitment of people across the country to young children and their quality early experiences.
We send a great big thank you to all of you who wrote heartfelt comments, photoshopped pictures with messages from your kids, and sent in children’s artwork to show the importance of early learning for the youngest children. But we’re just getting started on making the vision of expanding high quality early care and learning a reality. Now we need to take action.
We urge you to join ZERO TO THREE and other children’s organizations around the country in the Strong Start for Children campaign, a coalition united to support a significant expansion of high-quality early learning opportunities to achieve better education health, social and economic outcomes for all. You can join the campaign by clicking here. The more organizations that join the campaign, the stronger the message that the time is now to give young children more and better early learning opportunities. Then, stay tuned for more information about what you can do in your communities as well as the Strong Start campaign’s Day of Action on May 29!
State Policy Update New Mexico Increases Funding for Early Childhood and Passes Home Visiting Accountability Act
Last month New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed into law a bill that provides $9.75 million in tobacco settlement dollars for early childhood services. The money will be divided: $2 million to home visiting; $2 million to increase child care assistance rates for 3-, 4-, and 5-STAR early care and education programs; and $5.75 million to New Mexico PreK. An analysis of the legislation estimates that 500 to 600 more families will receive home visiting services; one-third of the state’s 1,035 licensed early care and education programs will receive higher reimbursement rates; and 1,500 to 1,700 additional 4-year-olds will receive PreK services. The governor also signed the Home Visiting Accountability Act, which creates a framework for standards-based home visiting, ensuring a level of quality and consistency in home visiting programs across the state. Read the rest here.
Publications & Resources
Impact of Severe Neglect on Infants & Toddlers The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University released a new working paper, Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain. This paper explains why severe neglect can cause more harm to the development of young children than overt physical abuse, why neglect is so harmful in the earliest years of life, and why preventive efforts and effective interventions are important in helping to ensure better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation.
Depression in Low-Income Mothers of Young Children A new brief from the Urban Institute looks at the prevalence of major depression in mothers of young children. Depression in Low-Income Mothers of Young Children: Are They Getting the Treatment They Need? uses data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health to estimate the prevalence, severity, and treatment of major depression among low-income mothers with young children (ages 0-5). Results found that one out of eleven low-income mothers with young children had a major depressive episode in the past year and nearly one-third did not report receiving any treatment.
Strengthening Families: Protective Factors The Center for the Study of Social Policy released a series of one-pagers about protective and promotive factors. Each brief addresses one of five factors: parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need, and social-emotional competence of children. Download the briefs here.