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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.

New Home Visiting Community Planning Tool!

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


   June 6, 2011



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New from ZERO TO THREE: Home Visiting Community Planning Tool

The ZERO TO THREE Policy Center's new Home Visiting Community Planning Tool guides communities through the process of creating new or expanding existing home visiting services that meet their unique needs. It helps communities use data to identify their strengths, needs, and gaps in current home visiting services; choose an evidence-based program model; and align work at the local level with state efforts. Though this tool is relevant to any situation in which home visiting services are being explored, it is especially useful for communities receiving funding through the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program.

This resource was made possible though a generous grant from the Birth to Five Policy Alliance. It is now available as a fillable form at www.zerotothree.org/hvcommplantool.


Federal Policy Update 

As we move into June, realization is dawning in Washington that the summer could be hotter than usual if negotiations over raising the debt ceiling aren't successful. Early August is the deadline for increasing the government's ability to borrow. Talks are proceeding slowly about making spending cuts in exchange for votes to raise the borrowing limit. The fact that defaulting on our debt is even being contemplated is uncharted territory for everyone.

To find our way as deficit reduction talk swirls around Washington, infant-toddler advocates must learn a new language and think about protecting the interests of young children in different ways. Where we normally focus on key programs that promote healthy development, now we must learn the meaning and implications of terms such as "debt ceiling," "global spending caps," and "entitlement reform."

All this week, the Federal Policy Baby Blog will post information on different aspects of the debate to help guide us through this strange new budget world. We will try to demystify these terms and show how they may hold the key to our future ability to help at-risk children fulfill their potential. Today's blog post tries to answer the question "why is raising the debt ceiling important for babies, anyway?" Be sure to check back each day to learn about where federal spending goes, how spending cuts might become automatic, a new take on entitlement and welfare reform, and the no-man's land of increasing revenues.

Our latest budget policy video is a good place to get started. Then read about how our country's need to finance its debt could be used to leverage big changes in services for vulnerable Americans.


State Policy Update
Funding for Home Visiting Protected in New York

Thousands of at-risk families in New York will continue to receive home visiting services in fiscal year 2012 because of the success of early childhood advocates during state budget negotiations. Healthy Families New York (HFNY), the only state-funded home visiting program, was originally slated to lose all $23 million of its funding. The program serves over 5,000 families a year in New York's highest-need communities. It has a proven track record of better outcomes for children, including lower rates of child abuse and low birth weight births among participants. Advocates educated policymakers and the public about the benefits of HFNY, as well as the fact that eliminating state funding would disqualify New York from applying for millions in federal aid for home visiting through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Success was achieved in late March when Governor Cuomo signed the final FY2012 budget, which included full funding for HFNY.

Read the full state policy update now!


Publications & Resources 

Additional Home Visiting Funding Opportunities from HHS
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that up to $99 million in additional competitive grants would be available to states to enhance existing Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation Programs through the Affordable Care Act. Two categories of competitive grants are available to states: "expansion grants" that will recognize states and jurisdictions that have already made significant progress toward a high-quality home visiting program or that have embedded their home visiting program into an early childhood system, and "development grants," which will be available to states and jurisdictions that want to build on existing efforts. Applications will be due on July 1, 2011. Read more about the grants here.

Paper on Part C Eligibility for Infants and Toddlers Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
A new document from the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) and the IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association (ITCA), Part C Eligibility Considerations for Infants and Toddlers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, provides information intended to assist people responsible for state Part C systems in making informed evidence-based decisions as they develop or review eligibility criteria; determining the appropriate personnel to participate in eligibility determination and the development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to address service needs; and providing resource information to families of children who do not meet the eligibility criteria.

New Resources for States Planning for the Early Learning Challenge Competition
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) compiled a collection of resources for states planning in advance for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant competition, which will provide $500 million to increase the quality of early childhood programs and increase the number and percentage of low-income and disadvantaged children, birth to five, in high-quality programs. The application will be released later this summer with grants awarded to states no later than December 31, 2011.

Paper on Child Care Licensing
Strong Licensing: The Foundation For a Quality Early Care and Education System - Preliminary Principles and Suggestions to Strengthen Requirements and Enforcement for Licensed Child Care, a research-based paper from The National Association for Regulatory Administration, describes licensed care and the children it serves throughout the country, delves into the issues and challenges associated with improving licensing programs, and provides policy analysis and strategies, along with principles for strengthening licensing. Expanded appendices and tables provide examples from specific states.

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