Early Childhood Education Update - February 2011
Feb 03, 2011 | Child Care & Early Education
In this issue:
- Resources for FY 2011-2012 Budget Advocacy
- CLASP Resource on Building Comprehensive State Systems for Vulnerable Babies
- Three Factsheets on CCDBG Participation in 2009
- Office of Head Start Releases Revised Head Start Child Outcomes Framework
- Improving Developmental Screenings for Young Children
- The High Costs of Not Investing in Early Childhood
- Child Care Assistance Critical to Supporting Working Families in New York City
- A Comparison of Child Care Cost Data in Two Census Surveys
- Increasing School Readiness in Ohio
Congress has not completed its work on passing a FY 2011 budget. There is still work left to do to ensure that child care and Head Start investments are protected and maintained in both the FY 2011 and 2012 budgets. Between now and March 4, when the current Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY 2011 ends, CLASP is working with advocates across the country to contact members of Congress, write op-eds, and develop relationships with new allies, such as local business leaders.
To help advocates make the case for child care and early education investments, CLASP has created a web resource with information from CLASP and partner organizations. Among the resources, CLASP has created custom state fact sheets, which include information on child care and Head Start funding, children served in these programs, child poverty rates, and more.
CLASP will continue to add resources to this page as they become available, so please check back often.
A new resource tool, Building Comprehensive Systems for Vulnerable Babies, from CLASP is available to guide states in building a comprehensive and coordinated infant/toddler system. Quality early childhood programs address the full range of child development needs through provision or referral to a set of services, which include health and nutrition, family support, early intervention, and other comprehensive services. Early Head Start (EHS) provides a model for delivering these services to infants and toddlers and their families. Yet, the federal program only serves a fraction of eligible children. Some states have built on this model with their own state-EHS programs. But other states lack the resources or ability to do.
States can, however, use EHS as a model and expand the reach of early childhood services for infants and toddlers and their families by drawing on existing resources to build a more comprehensive and coordinated state system that can deliver a package of high-quality services to vulnerable families. Every state has the pieces of a comprehensive early childhood system in place already.
CLASP's new tool will help state leaders locate and build them into a system that meets the needs of children and families, by helping them identify: 1) the essential components of state systems to support vulnerable babies and their families, and 2) action steps to design and implement a comprehensive infant/toddler system.
The Office of Child Care has released preliminary federal fiscal year 2009 administrative data for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Three factsheets from CLASP summarize overall participation in CCDBG and include separate analyses of infants/toddlers and school-age children in CCDBG. State-by-state data on the ages of children served by CCDBG in 2009 are also provided. The three factsheets are:
- CCDBG Participation in 2009 - This factsheet provides a national overview of CCDBG participation in 2009. In 2009, CCDBG served a monthly average of approximately 1.63 million children, a slight increase of 6,700 children from 2008. State data on children served vary. About half of states (23) served fewer children in 2009 than 2008, while the other half (24 states) served more children. Less than a third of children served in 2009 were under age 3, while the 3 to 5 and 6 to 13 age groups each comprised more than one-third of children served.
- Infants and Toddlers in CCDBG: 2009 Update - This factsheet highlights key information about children under age three served in CCDBG. In 2009, more than 488,000 infants and toddlers received CCDBG-funded child care assistance in an average month. Among 20 states, infants and toddlers made up one-third or more of all children served. More than half of infants and toddlers in CCDBG were cared for in center-based settings.
- School-Age Children in CCDBG: 2009 Update - This factsheet highlights key information about school-age children, ages 6-13. In 2009, nearly 554,000 school-age children received CCDBG-funded child care assistance in an average month, comprising 34 percent of all children receiving assistance. The share of school-age children receiving CCDBG assistance varied by state and ranged from 0 to 44 percent.
The Office of Head Start has released a revised Head Start Child Outcomes Framework, now called The Head Start Child Development and Learning Framework: Promoting Positive Outcomes In Early Childhood Programs Serving Children 3-5 Years Old. The original framework was created in 2000 to provide guidance to Head Start grantees on implementing developmentally appropriate curriculums and conducting ongoing assessments to promote school readiness. The framework identified key domains of child development and included considerations for serving dual language learners and children with disabilities.
Since the original framework's release, the population of young children has grown more diverse, and new research on school readiness has emerged. Among other developments, Congress passed the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, which increased the framework's function in Head Start programs. For instance, the Act requires that programs align their school readiness goals to the framework. To provide better program guidance on these new changes, the revised framework expands on the domains of child development, adding three new domains to the original eight. The three new domains are: Logic and Reasoning; Social Studies Knowledge and Skills; and English Language Development. For each domain, the framework describes its importance to early childhood development and outlines its specific components. Examples are also given on what of behavior, skills, and knowledge to look for in assessing a child's competence in a domain.
A new Urban Institute report, Improving the Lives of Young Children: The Role of Developmental Screenings in Medicaid and CHIP, examines child enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the provision of developmental screenings covered by the two programs. Medicaid and CHIP are the two largest programs providing public health insurance coverage to low-income children; two-thirds of low-income young children are covered by these two programs. The report finds that more than a quarter of children under age 5 are at moderate to high risk of developmental, behavioral, or social delays. Among poor and minority children, the percentage is even higher.
Yet, about 1.5 million young children who are eligible for Medicaid/CHIP are uninsured. Moreover, not all of those who are enrolled in the two programs receive well-child care from a regular health care provider, and not all providers have the proper tools and skills to conduct effective developmental screenings. One national survey, for example, found that only one in five young children had a health care visit in the past year in which a parent completed a standardized developmental and behavioral screening instrument. The report identifies some of the challenges facing low-income families in receiving developmental screening services, including a low supply of health care providers and clinics participating in Medicaid/CHIP, language/translation barriers, and a lack of public understanding about the benefits of well-child care. To address these problems, the report recommends the following:
- Expand participation in Medicaid and CHIP,
- Improve the provision and receipt of well-child visits,
- Increase the use of standardized developmental screenings during well-child visits,
- Monitor and track Medicaid/CHIP participation and developmental screenings using data systems, and
- Utilize new opportunities in the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010.
The Partnership for America's Economic Success, managed by the Pew Center on the States, has released a new report, Paying Later: The High Costs of Failing to Invest in Young Children. The report identifies a wide range of negative child outcomes that can be prevented or reduced by investing in early childhood. Young children who have healthy growth and development are less likely to have health problems that require major medical or mental health treatment. They are also more likely to have higher earnings in adulthood and higher educational attainment. The report illustrates the significant costs of delayed action by estimating the long-term costs of child abuse, teen parenthood, high school dropout, illegal drug abuse, and alcohol abuse.
According to the report's analysis, poor child outcomes can result in costs as high as $740,000. Furthermore, these costs begin accumulating early. For instance, a low birth weight baby may incur as much as $10,000 in medical expenses. In contrast, an investment of $1,000 in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) can reduce the incidence of low weight births and the need for costlier medical treatments by ensuring that pregnant women have adequate nutritional support. The report highlights other effective early childhood investments, including home visiting programs, early diagnosis and treatment of asthma, and high-quality pre-kindergarten.
In New York City, the number of low-income working families has grown, while the availability of high-quality, affordable child care has not. As many as 40,000 families are on waiting lists for child care centers among the five boroughs, and the annual cost of child care has risen to about $11,000, more than triple the cost of a year's tuition at a City University of New York (CUNY) institution. The Center for an Urban Future has released a new report, Subsidizing Care, Supporting Work, highlighting the critical need for child care assistance among low-income, working families. The report provides an overview of the low-income population in New York City and examines the current state of the city's child care system. According to the report, nearly a third (31 percent) of employed people in the city, over the age of 18, are in low-wage jobs. Among poor residents looking for work, some evidence indicates that access to child care is a top obstacle. One survey, for instance, conducted by the Community Service Society of New York found that "family responsibilities and child care" was the most common challenge to finding employment. Currently, only about a quarter of low-income young children are being served by child care programs.
The report observes that funding for child care in the city increased from $185 million in 2004 to $298 million in 2009. However, investments in child care have fallen in the past year, and the city is proposing additional cuts. In 2010, funding for child care decreased by $26 million. This year, the city is proposing to cut support for subsidized child care by nearly 20 percent in an emergency effort to reduce budget deficits. The report offers a set of recommendations to improve access to and the availability of high-quality child care while recognizing the city's fiscal challenges.
Since 2001, the Current Population Survey's Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) has collected data on whether or not households paid for child care. For the first time, the 2010 survey also gathered data on child care costs. The U.S. Census Bureau added questions on child care expenditures among other items for use in the newly developed Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). Introduced in 2009, the SPM is a resource measure that considers work and medical out-of-pocket expenses, including child care costs, in calculating a household's available spending income. To assess the reliability of the new child care cost data, the U.S. Census Bureau compared the new data to data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the most common source of child care cost data at the national level. Results from the comparison are presented in a new working paper, Child Care Costs in the Current Population Survey's Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC): A Comparison to SIPP.
Among the results, the paper finds that there are statistically significant differences in child care costs between the two surveys. For instance, among poor households, families reported a larger share of income (28 percent) spent on child care in SIPP compared to families (20 percent) in CPS ASEC. The paper observes, however, that there are notable variances between the two surveys that may account for these differences. For instance, the reference periods used in the two surveys vary. Additionally, the CPS ASEC asked fewer and broader questions about child care use compared to SIPP. The economic downturn may have also impacted the CPS ASEC data. Despite the statistically significant differences, the report finds that these differences are modest in magnitude, thus indicating that the CPS ASEC data is overall reliable for use in the new SPM.
In Ohio, more than half of young children entering kindergarten are unprepared in basic early literacy. Less than a quarter of economically disadvantaged students in fourth grade are proficient in mathematics grade, while just 15 percent are proficient in reading according to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress. A new report, The Talent Challenge2: Ensuring Kindergarten Readiness by 2020, by the Ohio Business Roundtable calls on business leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders to address these disparities by making greater investments in early childhood. The report illustrates the significant returns from high-quality early childhood programs and services and notes the current lack of participation in the state's early childhood system. For instance, the report finds that only a small percentage of eligible children are enrolled in the state's public preschool program and home visiting program, Help Me Grow. In addition, less than half of child care centers are participating in the state quality rating and improvement system, Step Up to Quality. The report finds, however, that the state has taken positive steps to support the social-emotional needs of young children, while community-based initiatives are emerging to promote school readiness at the local level. To build on and improve the state's overall early childhood system, the report recommends three overarching actions for Ohio to take:
- Establish new leadership - solely accountable to the governor - with the responsibility for consolidating services and funding to create a world-class system for early learning.
- Adopt a new comprehensive kindergarten readiness assessment to track the state's progress in meeting all dimensions of children's school readiness.
- Invest in home visiting and quality pre-kindergarten for at-risk children and families.