Happy New Year from the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center!
We thank you for your great work in 2010, and look forward to another exciting year of working together on behalf of infants and toddlers.
New Paper on States' Use of Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers!
The ZERO TO THREE Policy Center announces the release of a new paper - Putting Standards into Practice: States' Use of Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers - that draws upon 2010 interviews with representatives of eight states on implementation and alignment of their Early Learning Guidelines (ELG) for infants and toddlers. The paper summarizes the status of guidelines in states and offers suggestions and examples related to disseminating and training on the ELG and embedding them into professional development and quality improvement systems. The paper provides definitions and examples of aligning the ELG for infants and toddlers both vertically, with guidelines for older children, and horizontally, with other parts of the infant-toddler system. Check it out now!
Download January's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar
January is the time to make resolutions for the upcoming year, and we want to add one to your list: I will advocate at the state and federal levels to improve public policies for infants, toddlers, and families. Your challenge this month is to invite one newly elected policymaker to visit your program. Download January's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar now!
Federal Policy Update
Tomorrow the 112th Congress will be sworn in, with the majority in the House of Representatives changing hands. The Republican-controlled House is expected to get right down to business, adopting rules that will make it easier to cut discretionary spending as well as taxes, but harder to increase funding for mandatory programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, and child nutrition. In addition, a vote is set for next week on legislation to repeal the health care reform bill that was the signature legislation of the Obama Administration; this repeal has little chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law.
The Continuing Resolution (CR) that currently funds the government at 2010 levels will expire in early March. The central issue for infants and toddlers is whether the expanded funding levels for Head Start/Early Head Start and child care - lost when the CR was adopted instead of an omnibus appropriations bill - can be restored.
One of the most striking characteristics about this Congress is the number of relative newcomers in both houses of Congress. The House of Representatives boasts 92 new Members, all but nine of them part of the new Republican majority. In the Senate, where the Democratic margin was pared down from 53 to 47, a total of 42 Senators are in their first term, although many served previously in the House of Representatives. The class of freshman lawmakers creates both a need and an opportunity to educate policymakers on the importance of the first years of life. It also is critical that we drive home the need to invest in programs that support families as they foster their young children's development. Whether your Representative or Senators are in their first term or are longtime veterans, your relationship-building has never been more important. The time to educate is NOW!
State Policy Update
Minnesota Takes Steps to Align the Child Care Assistance Program and Head Start/Early Head Start
Two state agencies in Minnesota are working to improve the alignment between the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS). One of the primary goals of the project is to promote integration, or braiding, of CCAP and HS/EHS funds to support high quality full-day services in one location. To achieve this objective, Department of Human Services (DHS) and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) staff developed an application and approval process for designation as a full-day integrated HS/EHS child care program, wrote policy guidance on implementing braided funding, conducted several educational webinars and meetings for county staff, and are providing ongoing technical assistance to HS/EHS grantees and current or potential child care partners. Minnesota's intentional efforts to integrate CCAP and HS/EHS funding are giving more children access to full-day comprehensive care.
Read the full state policy update now!
Publications & Resources
Birth to Three Institute Now Accepting Session Proposals
The 15th Annual Birth To Three Institute (BTT) is currently accepting session proposals through January 23, 2011. BTT 2011 will be held June 20-23, 2011 in Washington, DC. This year's theme is Hand in Hand: Collaborating to Support Our Babies, Toddlers, Families and Communities, and presentations that highlight the nature of collaboration efforts between Early Head Start and community agencies supporting infants, toddlers, and families, and the cultural needs of children served in Migrant Seasonal Head Start and AIAN are of particular interest this year. Submit a proposal here.
New Child Maltreatment Report Available Online
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released Child Maltreatment 2009, its annual report of data collected from the States' child protective services (CPS) agencies via the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. The report indicates that the number of children who suffered maltreatment decreased for the third year in a row, and that the youngest children continued to be the most vulnerable to maltreatment.
Upcoming National Summit on Home Visiting
Registration is now open for the National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs: Connecting Research to Policy and Practice, an interactive forum for home visiting researchers, program leaders, and policy makers concerned about improving home visiting system quality and family outcomes. Co-sponsored by Every Child Succeeds®, the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and the Pew Center on the States, the Summit will be held February 16-17 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Click here for more information.