January 7, 2013
Mobile-ize for Babies Poll Results
Happy New Year! The results from the Mobile-ize for Babies: The First 100 Days Poll are in! Click here to see our results flyer! Thank you to everyone who took action by completing the poll and spreading it throughout your social networks. Now it’s time to let the President, state Governors, members of Congress, and other policymakers know what the public thinks they should be doing for young children and families! This month’s advocacy challenge is to share the poll results flyer with your local elected officials. Check out the January Advocacy Calendar for more details.
Federal Policy Update
As we crossed into the New Year poised to plummet over the fiscal cliff, the White House and Congressional leaders were able to reach a last-minute agreement. The mini fiscal-cliff deal, The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, addresses a portion of the revenue side of the ledger by extending expiring tax cuts and postponing until March 1st the automatic across-the-board spending cuts (sequester) that were set to take effect. Congress must decide by that date to replace these cuts with other deficit reduction measures, or they will automatically occur.
What does this mean for infants, toddlers, and their families? Federal unemployment benefits, enhancements to the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, and income tax cuts for more than 98% of taxpayers were all extended in the deal. However, the delay in the sequester means that programs crucial to infants and toddlers will again face the possibility of large cuts in the very near future. The Continuing Resolution that is currently funding the government will expire at about the same time as the deadline to raise the debt ceiling, which could result in a push for large spending cuts. Entitlement reform may—or may not—protect the so-called “safety net” for low-income individuals and families. Discretionary programs that support the ingredients of healthy, positive early childhood development—from Early Head Start, child care, and WIC, to community services, housing, and LIHEAP—are all still vulnerable to cuts. The effects of a sequester could mean hundreds of thousands of children and moms who receive crucial supports will no longer have access to these services.
What should infant-toddler advocates do? Over the next two months, the debate over spending cuts (including the impending sequestration cuts) will be the main focus of both the President and the newly-elected 113th Congress. During this time, as policymakers discuss how to reduce the deficit, infant-toddler advocates must work hard to emphasize our message: ensure the future we’re trying to preserve by maintaining investments in programs that support vulnerable young children and their families.
State Policy Update
Planning for Home Visitation in Montana Engages Communities
Montana is supporting communities in the process of assessing needs and developing plans for implementing strong home visiting programs. In early 2012, the state agency responsible for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), the Department of Public Health and Human Services, disseminated the ZERO TO THREE (ZTT) Home Visiting Community Planning Tool to localities receiving MIECHV development grant funding to develop or strengthen early childhood community coalitions. The tool led communities through the key components of developing a strong, sustainable home visiting program. Results of the tool are being used by communities to plan for implementing evidence-based home visiting programs and strengthening existing programs. They will also inform the state agency about the status of planning for home visitation and areas in which additional information or technical assistance may be needed. Read the full state policy update now.
Publications & Resources
Webinar: Developing Cross-Sector Competencies for the Infant-Toddler Workforce
The infant-toddler workforce spans a broad array of practitioners from many disciplines including early care and education, early intervention, pediatric health, infant mental health, child welfare and social services. The ZERO TO THREE Western Office is hosting a webinar to share current efforts to develop and implement cross-disciplinary competencies for infant-toddler-family practitioners that will support effective practices across these disciplines. Presenters will offer lessons learned from two regional efforts to integrate cross-disciplinary competencies into workforce development. Research on the impact of competencies on program quality and a research agenda presented. The webinar will be held on Thursday, February 7 from 3:00– 4:30 pm Eastern Time. Click here for registration.
QRIS Report: Incorporating Child Assessments into State Early Childhood Quality Improvement Initiatives
A recent RAND research brief, Incorporating Child Assessments into State Early Childhood Quality Improvement Initiatives, identifies five strategies for incorporating child assessments into the design, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives designed to raise the quality of care in early care and education settings such as quality rating and improvement systems.
Pew Home Visiting Seminar
The Pew Center on the States will host its Third National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs on February 13-14 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The summit will provide a forum for researchers, program leaders, and policy makers to share the latest research and create strategies to ensure home visiting programs create the strongest possible outcomes for children and families. Registration information and agenda is available at www.homevisitingsummit.org.