Early Childhood Education Update - June 2013
Jun 13, 2013 | Child Care and Early Education
In this issue:
- Administration Proposes New Child Care Regulations
- Strategies and Recommendations for Improving Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (I-ECMH) Policy and Services
- Number of States with Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) Climbs to 38
- Supporting Dual Language Learners through Policy and Practice
- High Cost of Child Care Makes Subsidies Critical for Low-income Families
- Academic Pediatric Association (APA) Makes Childhood Poverty Top Concern
- New Edition of Stepping Stones to Caring for our Children Released
On May 16, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, unveiled the Administration's newly proposed draft child care regulations. With this first revision to the regulations since 1998, the federal government seeks to improve quality and increase accountability in child care programs funded by Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG).
The proposed changes address the following areas:
- Health and safety standards, including comprehensive background checks of care providers
- On-site monitoring for compliance with health and safety standards
- Accessibility of child care health, safety and licensing information
- Eligibility determination policies for families seeking child care subsidies
The public is invited to submit comments on the proposed regulations via the Federal Register through August 5, 2013. CLASP will analyze the regulations and provide written comments.
ZERO TO THREE (ZTT) recently released the paper Nurturing Change: State Strategies for Improving Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, which offers an in-depth look at a few states' approaches to addressing I-ECMH access, delivery, financing, evidence base, and system-level issues. This paper is a follow-up to their 2012 paper, Making It Happen: Overcoming Barriers to Providing Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health, which examined the scientific evidence supporting I-ECHM policies and offered recommendations for policy improvement at the national level.
Nurturing Change profiles six states: Wisconsin, California, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, and Louisiana. These states have all developed strategies that help address some of the barriers to providing I-ECMH and serve as examples of what can be done to create effective I-ECMH policy and provide services. From the state examples, the paper offers five recommendations to states nationwide to improve I-ECMH policy. States are encouraged to:
- Promote the cross-cutting nature of I-ECMH by creating a strategic plan that connects I-ECMH to behavioral health, maternal-child health, child welfare, home visiting, and early intervention services.
- Focus greater attention on early identification and response by requiring a social-emotional component to screening, referral and intervention requirements to home visiting, child welfare, and other early learning programs.
- Increase access to I-ECMH services and financing by advocating for provisions in state Medicaid and behavioral health plans that cover screening, assessment, and treatment.
- Build capacity and competence through expanded professional development in I-ECMH.
- Promote public awareness of the impact early experiences have on success in school and life, and specifically emphasize the importance of social-emotional development.
The QRIS National Learning Network recently released an updated list of state contacts and a map detailing the status of QRIS in states and territories. Both the list and map have been verified and should be used as the official status report on states and territories that have QRIS.
According to the updated QRIS map, 38 states, including the District of Columbia, have launched statewide QRIS. This is an increase from 33 states a few years ago. Three states have launched and/or piloted a QRIS; 11 states and territories are currently planning for QRIS; 2 states, California and Florida, have regional QRIS; and 1 state, Missouri, requires legislative action before implementing a QRIS.
The Center for Early Care and Education Research Dual Language Learners (CECER-DLL), part of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, released the paper Dual Language Learners: Research Informing Policy. The paper provides an analysis of the CECER-DLL research efforts, and it specifically focuses on historical trends in federal and state policy and how research on DLLs can inform policy. The paper has four main sections: 1) a foundational understanding about DLLs; 2) an assessment of current early care and education (ECE) settings, looking at the policy and systems that create a disconnect between ECE and K-12 education; 3) suggestions to better coordinate policies and practices aimed at supporting DLLs in ECE and K-12 settings; and 4) policy recommendations for federal, state, and local policymakers that support research and practice related to DLLs.
At the federal level, CECER-DLL recommends that policymakers support tests of programs designed to produce large increases in the number of bilingual/bicultural preschool and early elementary teachers. In addition the authors recommend that the federal government fund research on teacher preparation programs to recruit more bilingual undergraduates and prepare all teachers to work effectively with DLLs. Furthermore, the report recommends that the federal government should continue exploring dual-language programs through Head Start, Early Head Start, and Title I. Lastly, the authors suggest expanding the scope of national and international databases that assess children's development and academic performance to include more extensive analysis of DLLs.
At the state level, state governments are encouraged to collaborate with local communities to offer high-quality ECE in a variety of settings with multiple scheduling options to address the needs of families who work nontraditional hours. State should provide qualified preschool teachers with pay and benefits that align with what public school teachers earn. Along with the federal government, states should fund and experiment with teacher preparation programs to recruit and prepare more bilingual and bicultural teachers. Finally, states should establish information systems that disaggregate children into subpopulations by race/ethnicity, parent education level, family income, immigrant generation status, national origin, and language spoken at home. In turn, this information can be valuable for school districts and state education and human service agencies.
Locally, governments can work to provide more information to parents on child care, pre-kindergarten, and Head Start to increase DLL enrollment. Local governments should create strategies to address workforce development needs, including approaches to improving teacher recruitment.
The Carsey Institute released a policy brief analyzing the rising cost of child care between 2005 and 2011 and quantifying how much low-income families pay for child care. The brief compares the shares of income spent on child care in 2005 and 2011 among families with children under 6 and mothers who are employed and had child care expenses. The data come from the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).
Key findings from the brief show that:
- The average monthly child care expenditure increased by 26 percent from 2005 to 2011 among families with employed mothers and whose children are under age 6. This increase was primarily seen by families in metro areas.
- In both metro and non-metro areas low-income families pay a larger percentage of their income on child care than higher income families.
- Poor, employed mothers with children under age 6 spent one-third of their monthly income on child care in both 2005 and 2011. Mothers living at or above 200 percent of poverty spent 7 percent of their monthly income on child care in 2005 and 9 percent in 2011.
- In 2005 and 2011, low-income families receiving child care subsidies had lower child care expenditures than similar families who did not receive child care subsidies.
The Academic Pediatric Association (APA) Task Force on Childhood Poverty recently issued a Strategic Road Map for addressing childhood poverty as a public health issue. The APA, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Pediatric Policy Council (PPC) have all advocated for individual issues like Medicaid, CHIP, and food assistance, but prior to the APA's Task Force there had been no sustained focus on childhood poverty. The APA Task Force is working to raise the voice of pediatricians to build public support for policies that will both reduce childhood poverty and address the negative effects of poverty on children's physical and mental health and development.
The APA Task Force highlights four new areas for policy work, on top of their existing efforts in support of Medicaid and CHIP:
- Raising children out of poverty, through raising the minimum wage, increasing access to quality jobs, and improving income and work supports such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit.
- Providing high-quality early childhood programs and high-quality affordable child care to poor families, in order to both support early childhood development for all children and allow low-income parents to have access to reliable quality child care while they work.
- Supporting place-based initiatives, in recognition that poverty and its ill effects are not evenly distributed among communities. APA recognizes that neighborhood characteristics such as poverty, crime, housing characteristics and lack of employment opportunities can all have negative impacts on poor children's health and well-being.
- Promoting a White House Conference on Children and Youth to draw attention to the needs of this population and build public support for further investments.
In addition, the APA Task Force calls for additional research on childhood poverty, especially on the negative effects of poverty on early brain development, particularly looking at toxic stress associated with it, and on the evidence base for interventions. The APA Road Map also commits to supporting improvements in health care delivery and medical education.
The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) recently released the third edition of Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children. This publication provides national health and safety performance standards, as well as guidelines, for early care and education programs. The third edition of Stepping Stones (SS3) outlines 138 essential standards intended to reduce the rate of morbidity and mortality in child care and early education settings.
SS3 includes new content and formatting features. Changes of note include:
- New and updated standards covering: safe sleep, handling and feeding of human milk, introduction of solid foods to infants, monitoring children's development, unimmunized children, preventing expulsions, and availability of drinking water.
- Conversion charts to locate standards in Stepping Stones; Second Edition (SS2) and their new numbering in SS3.
- The online PDF version of SS3 contains links that allow the user to interactively navigate within the document and locate additional information from the Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 3rd Edition (CFOC3) database.