Spring has sprung here in our nation’s capital, and we welcome the warmer weather, longer days, and cherry blossoms with open arms. We have had a busy month in preparation for the upcoming Child Care Aware® of America Policy Summit and our corresponding 30th anniversary kick-off in April. Our research team also continues work on upcoming public policy research, including the release of a dynamic millennial map showing how the changing economic environment impacts parents’ ability to afford child care. We look forward to seeing you at Policy Summit and sharing more during the Board meetings on April 23 in Washington, DC.
Below are some additional highlights from March.
Online and On-Air
States and territories have been increasing efforts to incorporate effective coaching practices into their professional development systems in order to support ECE professionals in improving teaching practices and increasing quality. The National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL) team is hosting a national webinar titled “A Closer Look at Practice Based Coaching for Early Care and Education” on April 12, 2017 at 2 p.m. The webinar will provide an overview of the coaching landscape in child care and Head Start programs and focus on evidence-based coaching models, including an in-depth look at Practice Based Coaching and its use in a variety of settings. Register here.
In conjunction with CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CCAoA hosted a webinar on March 30 focused on the upcoming National Infant Immunization Week (April 22-29, 2017) and the important role that child care providers have with verifying immunization records and educating parents on the benefits of immunizations.
The NDS team continued its focus on user engagement in March, offering a total of four Lunch and Learn sessions and two focus groups. Engagement topics included the following:
- Monthly Childcare.gov Check-In: A standing opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and technical assistance from the NDS team designed to help NDS users seamlessly share data with childcare.gov.
- Provider Business Update (PBU) Minnesota Spotlight: The NDS team and Child Care Aware® of Minnesota offered a first look at the newest NDS application, which allows child care providers to update portions of their provider business data autonomously using a mobile responsive and web-based application.
- New 2017 State Fact Sheet Reporting Tools: Staying focused on the CCAoA strategic plan, the NDS team developed a series of new push button reporting tools to support state data sharing for the 2017 State Child Care Fact Sheets. This session offered NDS users with training on how the new tools could be leveraged to support advocacy efforts at the Policy Summit in April.
- Post NDS Deployment Overview: Each month the NDS team demonstrates new software enhancements and bug fixes. Participants are able to ask questions and provide feedback on current and future development.
The NDS Lunch and Learn series is offered exclusively for CCR&Rs and governments with an NDS license. For more details about the NDS Lunch and Learn series, please contact the NDS Help Desk at [email protected].
Around the Country
CCAoA’s Vroom team, in partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation, hosted Vroom and Beyond: An Ambassador Convening on March 14-16 in Seattle. The convening was designed to strengthen collaboration among the CCR&R Vroom Ambassador agencies by sharing Vroom initiatives and refining their implementation strategies currently in place for launching Vroom in CCR&R communities nationwide. Despite the winter storm that affected most of the east coast, 15 CCAoA Vroom Ambassadors were in attendance. Each of the ambassadors had an opportunity to present on their initiatives, discuss successes and challenges, and work as a group on creative problem solving strategies. The three-day event consisted of facilitated active and engaging work sessions reflecting on Vroom implementation, Mind in the Making partnership and resources, and human centered-design from the nonprofit design and innovation organization, IDEO.org. Attendees also had an opportunity to tour the I-Labs research facility at the University of Washington where they engaged in meaningful conversations with the researchers. During the visit attendees learned about and viewed MEG, the magnetoencephalography machine (the only one in the country designed to study brain activity in babies), at the brain research facility.
CCAoA presented at the Southwest Native American Child and Family Conference as part of the National Center. We led seminars on engaging families in healthy active living, CACFP meal pattern changes, and conducted a listening session on health topics.
Julie Looper from CCAoA and Kami Cohorst from Child Care Aware® of Kansas presented project information at the Kansas Health and Medical Symposium on March 8 in Wichita. On March 18, Holly Nett from CCAoA and Valerie Peterson and Kimberly Giles from Child Care Aware® of Minnesota participated in the annual Minnesota Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster Conference as well as staffing an exhibit that showcased child care emergency preparedness resources, such as Minnesota-specific GIS maps.
The Child Care Aware® of America Policy Summit is scheduled for April 23-25, 2017 and will be held at the Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. This event addresses policy, practice, and the future of the early childhood field. The Policy Summit will engage professionals in the field and our Child Care Works grassroots advocates and provide information on policy that informs, educates, and assists attendees in building their policy strategies. Sessions will focus on substantive content and its connection to legislation and regulation actions with policymakers across the local, state, and federal levels. The event will feature engaging sessions, including opening plenary speaker Paul Schmitz, CEO of Leading Inside Out, who will share his insight and expertise on how everyone in their community is a leader in their own way, and how these leaders have a huge impact on social change. The Policy Summit will also include our annual Day on the Hill event, giving child care advocates an opportunity to put the skills they have learned into action, meet with their Congressional representatives, and position child care initiatives at the forefront of the political conversation. Explore the preliminary Policy Summit program for more information on event sessions.
The Family Advocacy Summit, part of the larger Policy Summit, is gearing up for action as the big day gets closer. Child Care Works is hosting more than 80 family and parent advocates from around the country for a full day of trainings, briefings, and networking. Then, on Tuesday April 25, they’ll join the Policy Summit attendees for the Day on the Hill where they will talk to legislators about child care issues and share their personal stories. You can see the full list of advocates and learn more about the Family Advocacy Summit at childcareworks.org/advocacysummit.
CCAoA member Christi Smith of Child Care Aware® of Kansas recently served as a panelist in the Early Care and Education Innovations Webinar Series. The webinar explored how you can help everyone in your early care and education program stay physically active and well nourished. Panelists discussed child-focused strategies, strategies to help staff act as models, and connections with families to support healthy eating and physical activity at home.
ICYMI: March in the News
On March 23, Child Care Aware® of America hosted a congressional briefing on child care in the United States in the Hart Senate Office Building. Approximately 45 congressional staffers attended the event, which was moderated by Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., executive director of Child Care Aware® of America. Panelists included:
- Tonja Rucker, PhD, Program Director, Early Childhood Success, National League of Cities
- Susan Perry-Manning, Executive Director, Early Care and Education Consortium
- Steve Rohde, Deputy Director for Resource and Referral Services, Maryland Family Network
- Le’Vaughn Westbrook, Child Care Aware® of America Parent Advocate
Visit our Facebook page to see a recording of the live coverage.
Michelle McCready, CCAoA’s Chief of Policy, drafted an op-ed in early March as an open letter to Ivanka Trump titled “Dear Ivanka, if you want to fix child care, don’t start with women like me.” The letter highlights working families in need of child care—particularly those living in poverty, single parents, millennial parents, families seeking child care coverage during nontraditional hours, and parents of children with special needs. The op-ed had 191 media pickups, including CNBC, Huffington Post, Medium, MarketWatch, and business journals in major markets, with a 10.7 million potential audience reach.
In many parts of this country, millennials’ median wage hovers near poverty level. Based on our annual Parents and the High Cost of Child Care report, we already know that child care is unaffordable for families across the United States; for millennials, child care is simply out of reach. The policy team recently completed work on a dynamic map and research brief showcasing this issue. They story map includes dynamic maps of the percent of millennial income required to pay for the cost of 1) an infant in center-based care and 2) the cost of an infant and 4-year-old in center-based care. To cover the cost of an infant in center-based care, a millennial may pay anywhere from 25 percent to more than 70 percent of their income. Visit CCAoA’s website to explore the map and learn more.
This month CCAoA released two health and wellness resources. The Paths to a Healthier Child Care Workforce white paper covers the health and wellness habits of child care workers employed in child care settings. The white paper is designed to identify child care workers’ perception of wellness, learn about work-related barriers to healthy active living, and explore ways to entice workers to participate in workplace and community-based wellness programs. A health messaging toolbox was also designed to create advocacy messages for healthy active living standards that target child care teachers and family child care providers.
The emergency preparedness team continues to work closely with the selected communities of Child Care Aware® of Kansas, Child Care Aware® of Minnesota, and the Child Care Resource Center of Tulsa, OK in training, partnership building opportunities, and learning community meetings.