New Infant/Toddler Early Learning Guidelines Toolkit for States!
The ZERO TO THREE Policy Center and the National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative at ZERO TO THREE have released a joint product for states: the Infant/Toddler Early Learning Guidelines Implementation Toolkit. This new toolkit assists states with strategic planning to support the implementation of Early Learning Guidelines for infants and toddlers. The planning process is designed to maximize involvement of stakeholders while minimizing face-to-face meeting requirements. The toolkit includes related resources, and tools such as sample meeting agendas, power points, activity instructions, and planning templates. The process will result in a concrete plan for implementing Early Learning Guidelines for infants and toddlers in a state.
The toolkit was made possible through the support of the Birth to Five Policy Alliance and the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is now available on the ZERO TO THREE website at www.zerotothree.org/elgimptoolkit and on the National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative website.
Download February's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar
February is the month of love, but it's also the time to make sure Congress completes the appropriations process for fiscal year 2011. Important services are at stake for young children in Head Start, Early Head Start and child care. Your challenge this month is to ask your members of Congress to sustain ARRA-level funding when the continuing resolution expires on March 4th. Download February's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar now!
Federal Policy Update
Last week, various players in the Washington budget process began staking out positions on domestic discretionary spending levels for the remainder of this federal fiscal year and the next. Funding for 2011 still needs to be finalized, while the process for determining 2012 spending is just getting started. On Tuesday, the House approved a non-binding resolution calling for 2011 spending limits at or below 2008 levels. The House leadership is still determining the actual levels they will put forward for consideration in a new Continuing Resolution in two weeks. For infant-toddler advocates, the issue remains the same: child care and Head Start/Early Head Start need a boost in funding to continue the level of services made possible by economic recovery funds. Without that boost, as many as 300,000 children could lose access to early childhood services, including 50,000 babies in Early Head Start. Cut-backs to 2008 levels would place thousands more children in jeopardy of losing their places.
On Tuesday night, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, looking forward to 2012 and beyond. He called for holding domestic discretionary spending at 2010 levels for five years, but his plan also will include increased investments in education. His 2012 budget proposal implementing these plans will be sent to Congress on February 14, officially kicking off the funding process. It is unclear how early childhood programs will fare, but the President has always been a staunch supporter of these programs.
State Policy Update
Oregon Launches Field Test of Oregon Program of Quality
Recognizing the difficulty many child care programs have in achieving national accreditation, Oregon developed a state designation of quality that serves as a stepping stone between basic licensure requirements and national accreditation. The Oregon Program of Quality (OPQ) is designed to improve the quality of child care programs in the state, recognize higher quality programs, and increase the number of child care providers that are eligible to partner with Head Start/Early Head Start and Early Intervention. The state developed OPQ standards by creating a crosswalk between Head Start Performance Standards, NAEYC accreditation standards, Oregon's early learning guidelines for birth to five, and state licensure requirements. The six areas of commonality identified through this process provided the basis for the OPQ Standards of Quality that child care programs must meet to receive OPQ designation.
The state began a field test of OPQ in January with a cohort of 25 diverse programs from across the state. Programs are required to participate in an orientation, develop a quality improvement plan, and submit a portfolio demonstrating how they meet the Standards of Quality at the end of seven months. Participating programs receive individualized technical assistance and up to $5,000 to help them make improvements and prepare their portfolios. Oregon hopes to begin the application process for a second cohort in late 2011.
Read the full state policy update now!
Publications & Resources
New Early Literacy Podcast
A new podcast from the New America Foundation's Early Education Initiative, Parents, Books and the Roots of Literacy, features Gabrielle Miller, a national expert on early literacy interventions and national executive director of Raising A Reader. The podcast highlights research showing the importance of positive family involvement for a child's later reading success.
Video on Maternal Depression
This new video from the Urban Institute addresses the dangers and developmental risks faced by infants living in poverty with a mother suffering from depression, and provides suggestions on how to identify depressed mothers and connect them to help and support.
New Brief on the High Cost of Failure to Invest in Young Children
As states tackle difficult budget decisions, many children's programs are facing significant cuts. A new brief from the Partnerships for America's Economic Success, Paying Later: The High Costs of Failing to Invest in Young Children, discusses why such cuts result in much higher short- and long-term costs, due to an increased prevalence of child abuse and neglect, high school dropouts and criminal activity.
REMINDER: ZERO TO THREE has a new address!
We are now located at 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20037.