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.
State Child Welfare Policies for Infants and Toddlers
Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives, a new report from ZERO TO THREE and Child Trends, presents findings from a 2013 survey of state child welfare agencies about the policies and practices that guide their work in addressing the needs of infants and toddlers who have been maltreated. The report sets the stage for understanding how states are currently supporting young children and calls on child welfare policymakers and administrators to establish stronger policies and practices that specifically address the unique needs of the nation’s youngest children.
Washington, DC is holding its breath awaiting a possible government shutdown come midnight tonight (Monday). The Senate is expected to vote this afternoon on a House amendment to the Continuing Resolution (the stopgap funding measure that would keep the government open) that would delay the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for one year. It is likely that the Senate will reject this and any efforts by the House to overturn or delay the ACA. If Congress cannot agree on a stopgap funding measure, most observers are left wondering how they will negotiate a deal for government spending for the rest of the fiscal year, much less address the increase in government borrowing that must occur in a couple of weeks. Without a spending plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 that rolls back the automatic sequesters now in place, we will see across-the-board cuts from the 2013 sequester remain in place, with additional cuts set to take effect on January 1, 2014.
As advocates, we need to keep an eye on these issues that have a staggering effect on infants, toddlers, and their families. On Wednesday, a rally on the Capitol Grounds will call on Congress to STOP THE CUTS to Head Start and Early Head Start (EHS) that will come with a continuation of the sequester. As Head Start and EHS programs potentially face even deeper cuts in FY 2014 (which begins on October 1), thousands of families will be left with difficult choices around finding safe, healthy learning environments for their very young children.
State Policy Update
Rhode Island Program Helps Families Involved with Child Welfare Build Stronger Relationships
Families Together is an innovative therapeutic visitation program for children in foster care and their birth families. The program brings foster children and their birth parents together to play and learn at Providence Children’s Museum and other community locations. Family therapists help parents improve their communication and parenting skills during the visits by providing feedback as they interact with their children. The program was created in 1992 in collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. More than 600 children and parents were served last year. Providence Children’s Museum developed a tool kit in 2006 to help other museums across the country partner with the child welfare system. To learn more about how states are supporting young children and families involved in the child welfare system, read the new report released by ZERO TO THREE and Child Trends, Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Practices.
Publications & Resources Professional Development and Technical Assistance to States to Strengthen RTT-ELC Applications To help strengthen state applications for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant, ZERO TO THREE created a menu of professional development and technical assistance services that align to the RTT-ELC requirements. The summary describes the services, including target audience and cost, to assist state leaders in determining which would best meet state and local needs. Download the menu of services here: http://www.zerotothree.org/racetothetop.
New Child Development Resources The Harvard University Center on the Developing Child released new materials:
The Science of Neglect, a brief which explains why significant deprivation is harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation.
Negative Effects of Instability on Child Development The Urban Institute released a new fact sheet, The Negative Effects of Instability on Child Development, which highlights key findings from a review of research in five areas of instability: family income, parental employment, family structure, housing, and the out-of-home contexts of school and child care. The fact sheet also discusses recommendations for policy and practice to alleviate instability's impact.