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Archive for the ‘Child care’ Category

“Over this past year, the devastating toll of the pandemic has underscored the critical importance of connecting what science is telling us to the lived experiences of people and communities.”

“Now, a year later, early childhood policies and services are at a critical inflection point—and the need to build a stronger ecosystem has never been more compelling. Longstanding concerns about fragile infrastructure and chronic funding constraints have been laid bare.”

“The science of early childhood development (and its underlying biology) continues to advance, and tenuous ‘systems’ that were in place to support families before the pandemic began need to be rethought, not just rebuilt. Early childhood policy must be about the foundations of both lifelong health and readiness to succeed in school. The reconstruction of a more robust ecosystem that forges stronger connections at the community level among primary health care (both physical and mental), early care and education, social services, child welfare, and financial supports is essential.”

“Re-Envisioning, Not Just Rebuilding: Looking Ahead to a Post-COVID-19 World,” by Jack P. Shonkoff, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University, March 10 2021

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The Common Start Coalition is holding a rally tonight to support last month’s filing of the Common Start bill – proposed legislation that would, as we’ve blogged, “establish a universal system of affordable, high-quality early education and child care for all Massachusetts families, over a 5-year timeline.”

You can RSVP here.

The bill’s lead sponsors — Representatives Kenneth Gordon (D-Bedford) and Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston) and Senators Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) and Susan Moran (D-Falmouth) — are expected to attend along with parents, providers, early educators, and business leaders who will discuss the importance of passing the Common Start legislation.

Please join the virtual effort! Tweet @CommonStartMA! And help rev up public excitement for high-quality early education and care!

Here are the rally flyers in English and Spanish: (more…)

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“The COVID-19 pandemic helped expose how critical reliable child care is to working parents. Now many employers are trying to figure out how to incorporate child care help into benefits plans, says Alyssa Johnson, the vice president of global client management at Care.com.

” ‘This past year we saw employers had literally a front row seat into the homes and lives of their employees and the challenges that many of us with small children and children at home are facing,’ said Johnson told 3 On Your Side. ‘As a result, there’s really been a fundamental shift in seeing the whole person at work, not just the worker.’

“According to the company’s survey of hundreds of HR leaders:

• 98% plan to expand benefits, and for half, child care benefits are a priority
• 82% say their organizations have become more aware of the care challenges their employees are facing during the pandemic
• 64% report high attrition rates, with employees almost always citing child care concerns as a major factor
• 50% believe the positive impacts outweigh the added cost of child care benefits”

“More employers are looking to help working parents with child care,” Susan Campbell, azfamily.com, March 2, 2021

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Much needed federal relief for the child care sector is on its way to states. And President Joseph Biden says the investment could cut child poverty in half.

Last week, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was approved by the Senate. The House is expected to vote on the measure by Wednesday morning at the latest.

The plan, which provides sweeping support for COVID-19 recovery, “offers a bold investment in child care relief, finally delivering on the promise of a total of at least $50 billion in direct relief funding,” according to the national nonprofit CLASP (The Center for Law and Social Policy).

 

 

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“What I hope is that we will hang on to some of the lessons we’ve learned, which is one very simple one – that early care and education is absolutely central to family life and to a functioning economy.”

— Stephanie Jones, co-director of the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, on the Codcast, CommonWealth Magazine, March 1, 2021

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How have families been doing during the pandemic?

NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) used a national survey to find out.

“The pandemic has dealt a one-two punch to the nation’s young children, decreasing opportunities to learn in preschool programs while sapping parents’ capacity to support learning at home,” W. Steven Barnett says in a news release. Barnett is NIEER’s senior co-director and founder and an author of the survey report.

The survey results were collected in December 2020 “from a nationally representative sample of one thousand and one parents of children age three to five.” This builds on a previous survey that NIEER conducted last spring.

“Overall, we found the pandemic resulted in significant loss of important learning opportunities for young children through the fall into December,” NIEER says in a press release.

“Participation in preschool programs declined sharply from pre-pandemic levels. Although most who attended preschool programs did so in-person, this was not true for young children in poverty who had less than 1/3 the access to in-person education of children in higher income families.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) wants to hear your thoughts about the parent fee scale.

So please register for one of the information sessions – Monday, March 8, 2021, at 11a.m. and Monday, March 8, 2021, at 7p.m. with Spanish translation – and share your thoughts.

The parent fee scale indicates the amount that families have to pay toward their state subsidized child care.

Unfortunately, the current fee scale is outdated. It was last revised in 2006, with additional minor adjustments made in 2014. (more…)

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Screenshot of a report from the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing

 

Faced with the devastation caused by the pandemic, the early childhood community has been asking how it can rebuild and become stronger than ever.

To facilitate this work, the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation (IEELI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston hosted a series of webinars last summer.

The webinars – “Reinventing Child Care in Massachusetts” – drew more than 700 early childhood professionals and other stakeholders who shared ideas for building an early childhood system that would be:

• high-quality

• accessible to all families

• able to provide professional compensation to educators based on their skill and experience

• able to offer professional and leadership development, and

• active in addressing racial inequities

Once the series was done, IEELI teamed up with Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing (NOW), part of Boston Medical Center’s Vital Village Networks, and the two organizations ran an Action Lab 90 Day Challenge.

The 90 Day Challenge is a tool that Vital Village Networks uses to promote “social connections, cooperative development of social innovations (co-design), team-based iterative learning, and collective actions by using an equity framework.” (more…)

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“Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, suggested on Wednesday that improved child care support policies from the government might help pull more women into the labor market.

“The Fed chief studiously avoided commenting on specific government policy proposals during three hours of wide-ranging testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. But he did acknowledge, in response to a question, that enabling better options for affordable child-care is an ‘area worth looking at’ for Congress.

“ ‘Our peers, our competitors, advanced economy democracies, have a more built-up function for child care, and they wind up having substantially higher labor force participation for women,’ Mr. Powell said, answering a question from Representative Cindy Axne, an Iowa Democrat. ‘We used to lead the world in female labor force participation, a quarter-century ago, and we no longer do. It may just be that those policies have put us behind.’ ”

 

“Powell Says Better Child Care Policies Might Lift Women in Work Force,” by Jeanna Smialek, The New York Times, February 24, 2021

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The pandemic is decimating the early education and care workforce.

A new publication — that draws on the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — explains how. 

“As we find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic, child care has been hailed as essential, yet policy responses to COVID-19 have mostly ignored educators themselves, leaving most to choose between their livelihood and their health,” the report – “Early Childhood Workforce Index 2020” – says.

The index is released every two years by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE), based at the University of California Berkeley

“Over the course of the first eight months of the pandemic, 166,000 jobs in the child care industry were lost. As of October 2020, the industry was only 83 percent as large as it was in February, before the pandemic began.”

“Even before the pandemic, the index found, progress toward better compensation had been limited and uneven across states and among different classifications of early educators,” a news release explains. “Child care workers earn a national median wage of just $11.65 an hour for a job that is critically important not just to children and their parents, but to the entire U.S. economy.”

“…many child care workers number among America’s working poor, with wages too low to make ends meet,” the news release adds.

“For single adults working in child care, pay falls short of a living wage in a majority of states. For single adults with one child of their own, the median wage is not enough to live on in any state.” (more…)

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