Helping Infants and Toddlers Race to the Top in the Early Learning Challenge
The Obama Administration released the much-anticipated final application for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) competition on Tuesday, August 23rd. The RTT-ELC offers states a new opportunity to increase the number of disadvantaged children, birth to five, in high-quality early childhood settings and to enhance state integrated early learning systems. RTT-ELC will provide a total of $500 million for the winning states to improve early learning and development programs. For infants and toddlers, the new grants are a prime opportunity to be included as an integral part of a system for quality early childhood services.
In their applications, states must demonstrate a commitment to building coordinated systems, aligning resources and policies, and increasing access to high-quality early learning and development programs for children who need them most. Even states that do not secure grants are expected to benefit from the process of designing the systems envisioned for the program. The deadline for submitting applications is October 19, 2011.
To support states in incorporating the youngest children in their visions, ZERO TO THREE developed a toolkit to serve as a resource in RTT-ELC competition. The toolkit contains a compilation of resources from the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center and the National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative at ZERO TO THREE, along with a PowerPoint to help states address the unique needs of infants and toddlers in the proposed RTT-ELC selection criteria. Though the toolkit is especially useful for states in the RTT-ELC competition, it is a relevant resource for any early childhood system planning effort.
For more information about the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, follow us on our Federal Policy Baby Blog!
Is it September already?
Summer is just about over, and many parents and professionals are already starting the new school year. A new school year can mean new beginnings, which makes it the perfect time to share what you know about early learning and literacy for infants and toddlers. The September Advocacy Calendar gives you resources about early language and literacy development to share with parents and other professionals. Print the new calendar, put it up in your office or program, and hand it out to parents and staff!
State Policy Update
Evaluation of Tennessee's Infant and Toddler Credential Pilot Finds Positive Outcomes
In an effort to learn whether the state's proposed Infant and Toddler Credential has a positive impact on providers' practices and quality of care, Tennessee conducted an evaluation of the one-year pilot. The pre-post design external evaluation yielded positive findings on all key outcome measures. Global environment quality scores had significantly increased by the completion of the pilot, and participating providers were more sensitive and less harsh and detached when interacting with children. Providers' belief in their ability to make positive changes also increased, as well as their ratings of their relationships with parents. Tennessee is the first state to conduct such an evaluation of an infant-toddler credential program. The findings suggest that the activities in the pilot project will produce positive changes in the overall quality of child care programs. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, Tennessee will not be able to implement the
Infant and Toddler Credential statewide at this time.
Read the full state update now!
Publications & Resources
2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book Released
Each year, the Annie E. Casey Foundation publishes its comprehensive KIDS COUNT Data Book that looks at how children and youth are doing on a range of indicators nationally and in each state. This year's data show some gains in health, and some worrisome losses when it comes to poverty and family income. The 2011 Data Book features the essay, "America's Children, America's Challenge: Promoting Opportunity for the Next Generation," which explores how kids and families are faring in the wake of the recession and why it's important to help children reach their full potential and become part of a robust economy and society.
Report Shows State Implementation of Federal Home Visiting Program
The Pew Center on the States' Home Visiting Campaign released a 50-state report on funding for voluntary home visiting programs. States and the New Federal Home Visiting Program: An Assessment from the Starting Line looks at the extent to which each state is supporting evidence-based program models and how well each is tracking whether public expenditures are resulting in improved outcomes. The report also provides a roadmap for policy makers interested in making strategic investments in programs that help strengthen families.
Parents and the High Cost of Child Care
The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) published Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2011 Update, which updates information about child care costs for infants, 4-year-olds, and school-age care in centers and family child care homes. The report also compares the cost of child care to household income, expenses and college tuition. This year's report shows that the cost of child care continued to increase in 2010.