Make Your Voice Heard: Write a Letter to the Editor or Op-Ed
Writing a letter to the editor or an opinion editorial (op-ed) can be a useful way to share your knowledge about infant-toddler issues with the local community and policymakers, and to spread the word about the devastating impact that proposed federal funding cuts will have for infants, toddlers and their families. This advocacy tool from the ZERO TO THREE Policy Network provides you with some suggestions for writing letters to the letter and op-eds and getting them printed, and then provides a few examples of opinion pieces that were published. Write an opinion piece and Be a Big Voice for Little Kids™ in your community!
Download April's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar
The media can be an effective way to share your knowledge about infant-toddler issues and garner the attention of both policymakers and the community. Your challenge this month is to write a letter to the editor, an op-ed or a blog post highlighting the devastating effects that the proposed federal budget cuts would have on infants, toddlers and their families. Download April's Advocacy Developmental Milestone Calendar now!
Federal Policy Update
Congress returns to Washington today with less than two weeks before the stop-gap measure currently funding the government runs out. Negotiations between staff of House and Senate leaders continued during last week's recess, but hit snags by week's end. A major sticking point is the House's desire to attach controversial policy-related provisions to the final budget. Talk of a government shutdown, which had abated for a while, has picked up again.
Voices on behalf of children must continue to be heard, even as the process for finalizing 2011 funding drags on. Make another telephone call, send an e-mail, drop a letter by the District office, or write a letter to the editor. Let them know that protecting children's programs must be non-negotiable. Oppose drastic cuts to children's services and protect 368,000 children from losing Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care services. Many young children will not be ready for school, and parents will not be able to work if our early childhood education system is decimated in this way.
Click here for the full update on our Federal Policy Baby Blog, and stay tuned to our blog for more updates next week as we continue to follow finalization of funding for 2011!
State Policy Update
Arkansas Initiates New QRIS
Last July, Arkansas initiated a new quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) to give child care providers a clear path to improve their programs and provide parents with the knowledge and tools needed to identify high-quality child care in their communities. Better Beginnings is the culmination of almost five years of work spurred by the Arkansas Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Initiative. The voluntary, three-tier system evaluates programs along five dimensions: administration; staff qualifications and professional development; learning environment; environmental assessment; and child health and development. All licensed and registered child care providers, including family child care homes and facilities serving school-age children, are eligible to participate. Incentive grants are awarded to facilities that achieve star certification to help them improve and/or maintain their quality level. Parents can search for child care providers with a certain star level through the Better Beginnings website.
Read the full state policy update now!
Register Now: Webinar on Professional Development Systems to Support the Infant-Toddler Workforce This Thursday!
This webinar, sponsored by the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center, will highlight efforts to build professional development systems for those who work with infants and toddlers, and will take place at 2:00pm EST on Thursday, March 31. The webinar will highlight a recent ZERO TO THREE policy brief, Building a Strong Infant-Toddler Workforce. Efforts to build professional development systems in Maine, New Mexico, and Los Angeles will be featured. Click here to read more and register now!
Publications & Resources
New Report on Early Childhood Workforce Data
Workforce Information: A Critical Component of Coordinated State Early Care and Education Data Systems, a new report from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE), examines the early care and education workforce data landscape across the states, focusing on the three main workforce data systems: ECE workforce registries, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood®, and NACCRRAWare/T-TAM. This report also examines the challenges and efforts to align these systems.
Recap of FY2011 Policy Developments in States
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) published a report that provides a recap of public policy developments in states for Fiscal Year 2011 in a number of early childhood areas, including governance, professional development, data systems, quality rating and improvement systems, child care subsidies and regulations, early childhood mental health, and home visiting.
Policy Brief Addresses Medicaid and CHIP for Young Children
A new brief from the Urban Institute, Improving the Lives of Young Children: Meeting Parents' Health and Mental Health Needs through Medicaid and CHIP So Children Can Thrive, discusses state Medicaid and CHIP choices that can enhance delivery of medical, mental health, and related services to parents.