Tools to Improve Your Advocacy
Do you have what it takes to be an advocate? Yes, you do! Your first-hand experience and knowledge make you the perfect advocate, and we're ready to show you how. The ZERO TO THREE Policy Network's interactive tool, You Have What It Takes, helps you identify your advocacy skills and translate those skills into action. You know what policy changes are most needed to support the healthy development of young children. Click here to download this tool and discover your unique strengths as an advocate for infants and toddlers.
Also, don't forget to download our Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendars every month. Each monthly calendar presents you with an opportunity to advocate for infants, toddlers, and families, but without the urgent time constraint of an action alert. In each calendar, we give you step-by-step instructions, as well as specific resources to help you meet that advocacy goal. Click here to download the March calendar and view the calendars from previous months.
Federal Policy Update
Young homeless children, usually an "invisible" population because they are hard to identify, have become much more visible on Capitol Hill over the last few weeks. On February 16th, ZERO TO THREE joined forces with four other organizations and the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness to highlight the important but underrepresented issue of early childhood homelessness in America. Every year in the United States, 1.6 million children experience homelessness. And it is estimated that 42% of those children are under the age of six. While the numbers are striking, the experiences and impact of homelessness on each individual child are our greatest concern.
Greater visibility for homeless children and youth will come this month, with the House Committee on Financial Services scheduled to vote on legislation that could help all homeless children, including infants and toddlers, and their families qualify for services more easily. To learn what you can do to support The Homeless Children and Youth Act, go to http://www.helphomelesskidsnow.org.
To read more, visit our Federal Policy Baby Blog.
State Policy Update
Utah Launches Website to Promote Quality Child Care
Parents in Utah have a new way to find high quality child care providers. The Utah Office of Child Care, in partnership with the Child Care Licensing Program and Utah's Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, has developed a new website called Care About Childcare. It highlights providers' status on seven quality indicators (family involvement, outdoor environment, indoor environment, administration, health and safety, the program, and professional development). All licensed centers and family/home providers in the state will have a profile page on the website where they can upload a statement about their program philosophy, pictures of their program, and basic information such as the type of care provided, hours of operation, and vacancies. Providers that have been licensed for six months or longer will be able to apply for up to 20 criteria under each quality indicator. Applications will be assessed through review of documents, pictures, and inventories submitted by the provider, and criteria that are verified will be listed on provider's profile page. An advertising campaign will be launched in April to publicize the new system to parents.
Read the full state policy update now!
Publications & Resources
Birth to Three Institute Registration Now Open
Registration for the 16th Annual Birth to Three Institute (BTT) is now open! BTT is a professional development opportunity for early childhood professionals working in Early Head Start, Head Start, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, American Indian/Alaska Native, and other group care or home visiting settings that serve pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and their families. This year's meeting will be held June 11-14 in Washington, DC. Visit www.ehsnrc.org for more information and to register.
New Movement for Babies
Founded by ZERO TO THREE Board Member Ron Lally and his colleague Peter Mangione, For Our Babies is a movement to promote the healthy development of U.S. children from conception to age three. Powered by an interactive website, which includes informative blog posts, videos, and podcasts, the movement advocates for enhanced prenatal care for expectant mothers, paid leave and well-baby care, increased screening and follow-up services for young children, and quality infant/toddler care. Check out the website to learn how to get involved and join the movement.
Report Compares SNAP to Vaccine
A new report from Children's HealthWatch makes the case for preserving and strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program). Comparing the program to a vaccine, this report offers evidence that SNAP defends young children against hunger and food insecurity, which in turn supports their healthy development and learning potential. The report also offers policy recommendations to maintain the existing structure of SNAP and increase its impact.
Data Snapshot on High Poverty Communities
A KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation highlights newly available national, state, and city data that show a 25% increase in the number of children residing in areas of concentrated poverty over the past decade. Using the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the snapshot shows how high-poverty communities are harmful to young children, outlines regions where concentrated poverty has grown the most, and offers recommendations to address these issues.