Early Childhood Education Update - October 2013
Oct 10, 2013 | Child Care and Early Education
In this issue:
- CLASP Provides Resources on the Effects of the Government Shutdown
- 2012 Current Population Survey (CPS) Data Show Children are Still Poor
- CLASP Releases Raising Smart, Healthy Kids in Every State with Eight Early Childhood and Public Health Organizations
- New Early Childhood Profiles Available from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)
- Survey Highlights State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives
- Parent Engagement in Early Years Provides Positive Child Outcomes
The failure of Congress to pass a continuing resolution bill by midnight on September 30 triggered a partial government shutdown. The new fiscal year began on October 1, and most discretionary programs (those that are subject to the annual Congressional appropriations process) have not received 2014 funding. Most, but not all, mandatory programs-those entitlement programs not subject to annual appropriations, including Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Social Security-will continue unaffected. Certain programs that directly ensure public health and safety will also continue.
To help advocates, administrators, and the public better understand what the shutdown might mean, CLASP has developed resources explaining the shutdown's potential impact on specific programs and populations:
What a Federal Government Shutdown Could Mean to Low-Income People. Read the full Q&A>>
Impact of Government Shutdown on Child Care and Early Education Programs. Read the full memo>>
Options for Continuing TANF Benefits and Services in the Absence of an Extension of Federal Funding. Read the full memo>>
New data from the Current Population Survey reveal that child poverty persists across the country and that young children are the population most likely to be poor. Nearly 6 million young children-one in four children under the age of six-live in poor households. The rate is higher yet for young Black children and young Hispanic children. Additionally, nearly half of young children live in low-income households that have to live on incomes less than 200 percent of the poverty threshold.
Read more about what these numbers mean for young children>>
CLASP has developed a fact sheet based on the recent CPS data that highlights child poverty statistics across the U.S. Read more about child poverty in the U.S.>>
Together with eight early childhood and public health organizations, CLASP released Raising Smart, Healthy Kids in Every State, a report that details the early childhood and health benefits of President Obama's plan to expand early education through an increase in federal tobacco taxes.
The report details the educational and health benefits of the President's proposal-both nationwide and in each state. Nationwide, this proposal would:
- Provide nearly 335,000 additional children from low- and moderate-income families access to high-quality preschool programs in the first year alone, and two million by year 10.
- Prevent 1.7 million kids from becoming addicted smokers and save nearly one million Americans from premature, smoking-caused death.
The report also outlines that the proposed tobacco tax increases would:
- Prompt 1.57 million adult smokers to quit in the first year.
- Reduce the number of births affected by smoking by 465,600 over the next 10 years.
- Save $63.4 billion in long-term health care costs due to the smoking declines.
The report also provides state-by-state fact sheets that outline the educational and health benefits of the proposal.
The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) recently released their Early Childhood State Policy Profiles. These comprehensive profiles highlight states policies that promote health, education, and strong families and provide contextual data on the wellbeing of young children. The profiles also allow for national and state-by-state comparisons.
According to NCCP's analysis, in the U.S:
- 12 percent of young children lack health insurance;
- 45 percent of low-income, young children have a parent who is employed full -time;
- 36 percent of young children have mothers with a high school education or less; and
- 11 states set the income eligibility limit for child care subsidies at or above 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
NCCP's Early Childhood Profiles were produced as part of the Improving the Odds for Young Children project.
Recently, ZERO TO THREE and Child Trends released their report, Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives. The report presents findings from a 2013 survey of state child welfare agencies about the policies and practices that guide their work in addressing the needs of maltreated infants and toddlers. The survey contained questions about infants and toddlers in foster care, as well as infants and toddlers who have been maltreated. The survey was administered to state child welfare agency representatives.
The report findings present three main themes:
- Few states have policies that differentiate services or timelines for infants and toddlers from those for older children.
- Relatively few states have implemented promising approaches to meeting the unique developmental needs of infants and toddlers.
- Given growing awareness about the needs of very young children stemming from neuroscience and child development research, child welfare agencies have a long way to go in aligning policies and practices to ensure that the unique needs of infants and toddlers are met.
NCCP's recent policy guide, Parent Engagement from Preschool through Grade 3: A Guide for Policymakers, highlights recent research and promising models for parent engagement and provides recommendations for policymakers. The report defines parent engagement as parents' efforts to promote their children's healthy development and learning through activities that can be encouraged by educators in child care, preschool, and school settings.
Research outlined in the report finds that during preschool years, there are many contributing factors and corresponding outcomes related to parent engagement for families. One of them is the frequency of parent-child reading and conversation, which has a major impact on the child's early literacy and language skills. Another is parents' behavior, which contributes to children's engagement in learning and school achievement.
There are many promising models for addressing parenting engagement. This report specifically highlights those that target culturally diverse, low -income families. Some of these interventions include The Companion Curriculum, which was used with African-American parents and their children enrolled in Head Start and showed positive results, and the Getting Ready Intervention, which was tested with Head Start participants (of which 20 percent were Latino).
The report details a range of policies and programs that can help states strengthen parental engagement with children from preschool through third grade. These include Quality Rating and improvement Systems (QRIS), Early Childhood State Advisory Councils, State Head Start Collaboration Offices, State Pre-Kindergarten programs, and Title I parent involvement provisions.
The report offers the following recommendations to policymakers:
- Use multiple, aligned state-level strategies to promote parent engagement in preschool through grade three;
- Promote the most effective types of parent engagement in preschool through grade three; and
- Promote the use of effective strategies for engaging families.