What Happens With Child Care When Children Go Back to School?

bus-878697_1280School buses are back on the roads again for most of the country, which means day time child care may not be an issue for many school-aged children right now. But what happens to children whose parents work long or irregular hours? Where do they go for care after school?

For many families in the U.S., after-school and transitional care are an important part of the child care equation, and something the media often overlooks when reporting about families and their child care needs.

According to a report from the Afterschool Alliance (PDF), 10.2 million children participate in an after school program – this leaves 11.3 million children on their own in the hours after school, and another 19.4 million children that would participate in an after school program if one was available to them.

The importance of these after school programs, including 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) which serve children living in high-poverty areas and attending low-performing schools, cannot be overstated.

While parents across the country continue to work long or nontraditional hours, after school programs are keeping their children safe, helping to improve academic performance and behavior, and supporting working families.

But millions of kids are still being left out: For each student enrolled in a program, two students who want to participate won’t be able to go back to after school this fall due to funding shortfalls in their state.

Learn more about the quality and importance of after school care from AMERICA AFTER 3PM in their latest survey on trends in after school program participation (PDF). And as we send our children back to school, let’s keep in mind the ones who need care after school hours as well.

Take a minute to support after school programs by contacting Congress and asking your elected officials to expand funding for after school and summer learning opportunities in ESEA using the Afterschool Alliance’s online action center!

For Your Back to School List: Take Action This August

As August winds down and we get ready for a new school year we all have plenty of tasks to cross off our “Back to School” list – getting school supplies, nailing down school and activity schedules, hurriedly helping our children finish their summer reading, and even sometimes helping our children start their summer reading!

But at Child Care Aware® of America, we’d like to add one more item to your list. And we promise it’ll help with school readiness…for all children.

We know that early childhood education and child care promotes school readiness, which increases the chances of strong academic performances and subsequently higher graduation rates. But investments in early learning opportunities are vital to the growth of our economy and are lagging behind where they need to be to fully fund states so they can comply with new CCDBG requirements.

In addition to fully funding CCDBG, Child Care Aware® of America also encourages you to support the President’s request of $10.1 billion for Head Start. Funding for Head Start will help expand access to critical early education programs for low-income children, as well as expand the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Program. Both of these budget items are critical for the future success of our children.

The last item on your “Back to School” list for all children is to contact your member of Congress and ask him or her to prioritize children in the federal budget for next year.

takeactionWe make it easy for you to do with our draft messaging – take action today! And help us spread the word to other advocates using CCAoA’s August Recess Toolkit, which includes:

  • A sample letter to you member of Congress,
  • Sample letter to the editor of your local newspaper,
  • Sample invitation to your member of Congress to visit a local child care facility,
  • Talking points for a meeting with your member of Congress,
  • And pre-written social media posts and graphics.

Send a message to your member of Congress today using our online action center!

Kristy Whitley and the Mount Moriah Child Development Center – July 2015 Provider of the Month

Congratulations to Kristy Whitley and the deserving staff at Mount Moriah Child Development Center in North Carolina – July 2015 Provider of the Month!

We’d all love to have a child care provider who welcomes our child into their care every day with a smile, and spends quality time with our child when we’re not able to be there. For Fleece Pierce, her four month old sons’ provider does just that. According to Pierce’s nomination for Kristy Whitley and the Mount Moriah Child Development Center, her son is in more than capable hands:

As a working mom I was hesitant of leaving my baby in daycare, thinking he was not going to receive the attention, interaction, or love needed that I could provide… I am beyond happy I have found the quality service at Mt. Moriah – our baby boy comes home smiling, giggling, rested and happy each day… when you see happy children each time you know you have chosen a great facility.

Whitley and her staff at the Mount Moriah Child Development Center go above and beyond every day with the children in their care – they set the bar for all other providers with their open door policy for families to come and interact with their children throughout the day, multicultural activities as part of their weekly lesson plans, and developmentally appropriate toys, materials, and activities.

Mentored by Bonnie Long, current supervisor for Cabarrus County Schools (North Carolina), Whitley said, “God placed it in my heart to become a child provider… I went to school and received my Early Childhood Education degree. We opened our facility with only one child. Since then God has blessed us to have 40 children.”

We’re grateful to exemplary providers like Whitley and her staff – they’re adding significant value to the development and overall health and well-being of the children in their care.

Nominate a Provider

Know an outstanding provider or early childhood educator who is deserving of the Provider of the Month award? Visit www.providerappreciationday.org for details on how to nominate them, and help Child Care Aware® of America and partner organizations honor those providers that go above and beyond every day!

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July 2015 Footnotes

Footnotes-Blog-Header_FINAL-1200x400I had a beautiful drive into our office’s in Arlington, VA today – not only is it a sunny clear day, I have the good fortune of driving along the Potomac River with a breathtaking view of the nation’s Capital. Even more amazing about this morning’s drive? Very little traffic! Ah, August is here and for the next several weeks many are taking their summer vacations…

That said, July was busier than ever!

Around the Country

Child Care Aware® of America is pleased to announce an exciting partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation focused on encouraging family engagement through, a national initiative that empowers parents to turn everyday activities into brain building moments for their children. Vroom provides interactive tools and resources that highlight the science behind early brain development, showing parents how they can build their children’s brains in everyday moments like bath time and meal time. The tools are free of cost, simple enough to fit into parents’ daily routines, and right at their fingertips.

On the Hill

SAVEreportOn July 15, Lynette Fraga participated in a panel discussion hosted by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) highlighting the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and what gaps remained based the recommendations from the former National Commission on Children and Disaster, which was published in 2010.  The event, which was held on Capitol Hill, was moderated by NPR contributor and New Orleans native, Cokie Roberts, and in addition to Lynette, the panel also included:

  • Rich Bland, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, Save the Children, US Programs
  • Dr. Steven Krug, Chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council
  • John Bischoff, Executive Director, Missing Children Division, National Center on Missing and Exploited Children, and
  • Dr. David Abramson, Director of the Program and Population Recovery and Resiliency at New York University

You can review the report from Save the Children here.

CCA-CCDBG-logo_WEBsmallCCDBG Implementation Station

Child Care Aware of America policy team introduced the CCDBG Office Hours as part of the CCDBG Implementation Station. This one-on-one designed member benefit has received tremendous responsiveness. The first session was held July 17th and focused on the impact of the reauthorized CCDBG Act of 2014 on after-school programs. The Office Hours sessions will continue through March 2016.

Online and On-Air

On July 20, Lynette Fraga joined the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) along with a panel of experts from FFYF, NBCDI , and NAEYC on a national call to discuss making funding for early childhood programs a priority.

On July 30, Child Care Aware® of America hosted a webinar on Family Engagement. Over 160 people participated, and it was headlined by Michelle McCready, Deputy Chief of Policy, Jay Nichols, Director of Federal Policy and Governmental Affairs, and Dr. Kim Engelman, Senior Advisor and Director, Family and Community Engagement. Additionally, Lauren Hogan, Vice President of Programs and Policy with the National Black Child Development Institute participated as well. You can view the slides here.

Member Connections

Several CCAoA staff attended BUILD in Washington, D.C. July 15-17 visiting with many of our colleague CCR&Rs from around the country who also attended.

We are gearing up for the State Network and Membership Council meetings on October 18-20 in Arlington, VA. More information coming soon

Please also continue to explore our new website and provide us with feedback. Check out the ENGAGE page and connect with us on social media or contact us with any questions!

ICYMI: July in the News

July was a great month for media coverage, with more than 3900 media hits in such digital resources as Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Money and MSN.com. Lynette was interviewed by Good Morning America for a story on child care safety after an incident at an unlicensed child care facility in New York City. While the actual interview was not aired, ABC News shared our resources online on how to find a child care provider, what questions to ask in selecting a provider, and how to access CCR&Rs for information.

Children and Obesity Prevention – What Works

healthy_eating_kidsWe’ve seen recent numbers showing that rates of obesity are continuing to increase among some low-income children ages 2-5 – but there is hope on the horizon.

New results from the first of its kind study show that obesity measures significantly improved among children ages 2-5 who participate in Head Start Center-based nutrition and healthy living programming, such as Thriving Communities, Thriving Children (TC2), when compared to children not in the program.

This is both a welcome relief and an upcoming challenge as government funding for these critical health and nutrition programs come under fire.

Special funding partners like the Kellogg Foundation have been making great strides with these programs in states like Mississippi and Louisiana, which expand previous school-based obesity prevention efforts by focusing on several key factors at Head Start Centers:

  • Addressing foods served by Head Start Centers,
  • Food-based education
  • Daily physical activity, and
  • Health education.

Child Care Aware® of America recently received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to expand technical assistance activities in targeted states along the same lines – focusing on health, nutrition and obesity prevention as part of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).

We’re excited to launch this partnership and do the important work of educating CCR&Rs and community partners on health and early care and education.

Let's MoveIn the meantime, here are a couple of our go-to resources for health and nutrition information for kids:

Top photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, via Flickr

Read Where You Are!

academy-2816Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) is happy to join in the effort to prevent the “summer slide” by signing on to the Read Where You Are campaign put together by the Department of Education!

Wednesday, July 29 is the Read Where You Are day of action – join us in taking time out to read to a child, and then share your photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #ReadWhereYouAre.

The Read Where You Are campaign is a reminder that reading can happen anywhere – on a train, on a bus, in a park or library, or even at home or in a child care setting. Why not use the last few weeks of childrens-books-570121_1280summer vacation to help all young people – even the littlest ones – keep their minds sharp and get ready to go back to school in the fall.

Ready to get started? You can find a great list of books for summer reading here: http://www.read.gov/booklists/

So dig in, and start reading where YOU are!

Talk, Read, Sing – Start Early With Children to Fight the Word Gap

“We know that right now during the first three years of life, a child born into a low-income family hears 30 million fewer words than a child born into a well-off family. By giving more of our kids access to high-quality pre-school and other early learning programs, and by helping parents get the tools they need to help their kids succeed, we can give those kids a better shot at the career they are capable of, and a life that will make us all better off.”
– President Barack Obama

TalkingIsTeachingResearch has proven time and again that talking to children, especially when they’re still too young to speak, gives them a leg up when they reach school age and beyond.

Talking to children and encouraging them to engage in discussion using the words they do know will help them grow their vocabulary and set the pace for their educational development moving forward.

Health and Human Services, Department of Education, and Too Small to Fail have just launched a new toolkit for families, providers and health professionals to help them engage children in speech: Talking is Teaching: TALK, READ, SING TOGETHER EVERY DAY!

The materials come in English and Spanish and were completed in partnership with Sesame Workshop and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and they include a roadmap of speech milestones for children birth to age five so parents and caregivers know what to look for in speech development.

Check out their milestone road map online, and then download these amazing tools to start engaging the children in your care in language growth – then share these resources with the parents and providers in your community!

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