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.
Last month we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which sparked conversations about the need for policies that promote national paid family leave. We want to keep this momentum going by offering the following:
♦ As part of a national call to action for improved work-family policies, the National Partnership for Women & Families is seeking stories about times when the FMLA allowed you to take time off from work– as well as times when you couldn’t and why. Take a few minutes to contribute your personal FMLA story here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2RMTCWT
♦ Through an analysis of paid care leave in other countries and a proposal for a national leave policy, ZERO TO THREE’s book Time Off with Baby: The Case for Paid Care Leavemakes the case for paid care leave in the US by examining the impact it would have on babies, families, and society.
Federal Policy Update Important Budget Decisions in the Week Ahead
This week Congress will attempt to finalize funding for the current fiscal year while also moving forward on next year’s budget plan. Thoughts of rolling back the sequester linger only in the Senate FY 2014 budget proposal. For now, these across-the-board cuts will be a fact of life for programs serving children and families. As the House and the Senate each prepare to consider a budget blueprint, a question hangs in the balance: Will the shrinking federal responsiveness to vulnerable families’ needs symbolized by the sequester become ingrained in federal budgetary policy? Read more in the Baby Policy Blog.
State Policy Update Connecticut Establishes Office of Early Childhood
In early February, Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy established the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to help close the achievement gap and prepare children for the future. The new agency provides a comprehensive, collaborative system for delivering services to children ages 0 to 5 and their parents. Programs from five separate state agencies will move to the OEC, including Part C Early Intervention, child care licensing and subsidy programs, child abuse and neglect prevention initiatives, and the early childhood professional development system. The office is charged with strengthening programming and teacher training as well as improving accessibility to early care and education programs. The OEC is the result of planning by agency commissioners, early childhood education and development advocates, parents, caregivers, and other stakeholders. It will be phased in over the next two years. Read the full state policy update now.
ECCS Grant Opportunity
The 2013 Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS): Building Health Through Integration grant opportunity was announced on March 1. Since 2003, ECCS grants have helped states build early childhood service systems that better meet the needs of children and families. This year’s grant opportunity gives applicants the option of planning, if necessary, and implementing one of three strategies:
1. Mitigation of toxic stress and trauma in infancy and early childhood across multiple systems; or
2. Coordination of the expansion of developmental screening activities in early care and education settings statewide; or
3. Improvement of state infant-toddler child care quality initiatives by incorporating Caring for Our Children, 3rd ed. standards into state licensing standards, QRIS, and/or professional development.
Publications & Resources
New Policy Report Helps Make the Case for Early Education The National Institute for Early Education Research has released a new policy report entitled Getting the Facts Right on Pre-K and the President's Pre-K Proposal. The report addresses many of the misconceptions about preschool's effectiveness and benefits, particularly in regards to the President’s recent early learning proposal. Many of the arguments put forth can also be applied to infant-toddler programs. Download the full report and the fact sheet.
Brief on Strengthening Family Relationships In an effort to help policymakers make decisions about how to strengthen family relationships, MDRC created a policy brief that addresses two important challenges: 1) helping parents provide responsive and stimulating environments that will prepare children for school and 2) supporting fathers’ engagement with their children, even if the father does not live in the same home. The brief emphasizes the need for policymakers to prioritize the investigation of new and innovative approaches that address these two concerns. It also acknowledges the Early Head Start, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, and the Healthy Marriage Promotion and Responsible Fatherhood Grants Program. Read the brief here.
CLASP Data Finder CLASP’s Data Finder is a searchable tool that provides select demographic and administrative data on programs that affect low-income people and families. The tool includes state and national data on child care assistance spending and participation, Head Start and Early Head Start participation, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) expenditures, young child demographics, and poverty.