Early Childhood Education Update-May 2014
May 06, 2014 | Child Care and Early Education
In This Issue:
- Two CLASP Resources for State Leaders Thinking about How to Support Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships
- CLASP Testimony on the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program
- Federal Effort Encourages Healthy Child Development through Universal Developmental and Behavioral Screening
- Reports on Low-Wage Working Mothers of Young Children and the Common Challenges on the Workers and their Families
- A Review of State Policies Affecting Continuity in Child Care through Subsidies
With support from the BUILD initiative, CLASP has created two resources for state leaders thinking about how to support Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) partnerships.
State Child Care Subsidy Policies That Support Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships: A Tool for States provides a menu of state child care assistance policies that states could consider to improve continuity and stability for children and families in the subsidy system and to support child care providers receiving subsidy payments.
This tool can be used to identify a state’s current child care subsidy policies and strategize what changes could be made, whether to work toward those changes in the short- or longer-term, and whether those changes need state gubernatorial action, legislative action, or an administrative or regulatory change.
What State Leaders Should Know About Early Head Start provides a guide for state leaders less familiar with the program. It explains 11 key areas of EHS and suggests ways for state policymakers to align key areas of child care and early education with the program. The key aspects of EHS discussed in the paper are:
- Grantees and delegates;
- Federal-to-local structure and funding process;
- Eligible population;
- Comprehensive services in EHS;
- Program delivery options;
- Ratios, group sizes, and caseloads;
- Staff qualifications;
- Training, technical assistance, and professional development;
- Monitoring and oversight;
- Data reporting; and
- State collaboration directors.
CLASP routinely works with states to support implementation of policies that support the needs of low-income children and parents. Please contact us for assistance with these resources.
CLASP submitted testimony for the record to the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources about the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program—a federal and state partnership that supports family- and child-related home visiting programs in every state, MIECHV also prioritizes use of home visiting models with demonstrated effectiveness while providing states important flexibility to tailor their approach to their local communities’ needs. The testimony stresses the importance of maintaining choice among many evidence-based models and maintaining flexibility to spend a quarter of the funds on promising approaches that allow for state innovation and advance the field’s knowledge of how home visiting programs are able to meet the diverse needs of low-income, vulnerable families.
The MIECHV program has furthered the development of statewide home visiting systems with states building the infrastructure needed to support lasting, effective programs for vulnerable children and families. Congress took an important step by extending funding for MIECHV and will need to show continued support for this important program next year. CLASP urges continued congressional support to ensure these families keep receiving the services that help enhance parenting and support young children’s early development—critical components of future success.
Launched by the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! is a new, coordinated, federal effort to encourage healthy child development, universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, and support for the families and providers who care for them. The initiative helps: promote universal screening, celebrate developmental milestones, enhance developmental supports for families and caregivers, and identify delays and concerns early.
Early and regular access to comprehensive developmental and behavioral screening for children can help identify concerns, connect children and families to needed services, and ensure that children develop in a healthy way. Despite federal guidance and requirements established in Medicaid policy and under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), state policies have fallen short of ensuring that all young children have access to age-appropriate screenings.
Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! includes:
- A compendium of well-designed, research-based screening tools appropriate for use with young children;
- User’s Guides for the full range of medical and community-based professionals who work with young children, including child care and early education providers; and
- Electronic resources to help raise public awareness about developmental screening and support providers and families.
New reports from the National Women’s Law Center raise awareness of the job-related challenges experienced by low-wage workers, in particular women with young children. Challenging work schedules impact workers’ ability to access and maintain affordable, stable child care and have complex consequences for parents and children.
Nearly One in Five Working Mothers of Very Young Children Work in Low-Wage Jobs finds that many mothers of very young children under age 3, working in low-wage jobs face challenges affording safe and stable child care as a result of the often unstable, unpredictable, or inflexible work schedules low-wage jobs often entail. The briefs include state-by-state data on the percentage of workers who are in low-wage occupations and of this, the segment that are mothers of young children under age 3. In order to help parents in low-wage jobs gain more financial security, the report recommends policy initiatives such as raising the minimum wage and providing paid family leave and paid sick days.
Collateral Damage: Scheduling Challenges for Workers in Low-wage Jobs and Their Consequences describes the range of difficult work schedules facing workers in low-wage jobs and explains the extent of these problems and their particular impact on women—who make up the majority of low-wage workers and also bear a disproportionate share of caregiving responsibilities. The brief also documents the fallout from challenging work schedules for workers and their families.
The common scheduling problems low-wage workers face outlined in the brief are:
- Lack of control over work schedules
- Unpredictable work schedules
- Unstable work schedules
- Involuntary part-time work
- Nonstandard work schedules
The adverse impacts on workers and their families as a result of these scheduling problems impact children’s development, including behavioral and mental health problems, and the economic security from unstable work schedules often leads to unreliable pay for families.
This research brief from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services summarizes Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) subsidy policies that affect whether low-income families can retain their child care subsidy and children can access more continuous child care. The brief looks at state policies around subsidy redetermination periods, eligibility changes, income eligibility thresholds, and allowable breaks in employment-related activities for families.
Key findings include:
- Eligibility redetermination and policies related to changes in eligibility or benefits are associated with the length of the subsidy redetermination period—with subsidy exits being more likely to occur at the time of redetermination, even among families that remain eligible for the program. States vary regarding how far in advance they notify families of changes in their subsidy benefits and how they handle subsidy benefits during breaks in school and employment.
- Currently, sixteen states and the District of Columbia offer tiered income eligibility which allows families currently receiving a child care subsidy to continue to receive assistance as they work to increase their income.
- States vary in their provision of subsidy benefits during job searches, in the number of allowable job searches per year, and time limits imposed on job search activities. Offering subsidy benefits during a job search can facilitate continuity of care during periods of employment instability.
The policies reviewed in the brief outline potential intervention points for state administrators to facilitate continuity in subsidized care arrangements.