Today, I joined a conference call hosted by Zero to Three Policy Network providing information about the impact of the government shutdown on early childhood including: Head Start, Child Care, Child Nutrition and TANF. The representative individuals shared some statistics that we are familiar with and reiterated what we had a handle on last week, which is if this doesn't last too long, damages will be minimal. The majority of all programs are funded through October 31 in one way, shape or form. Stay positive, no need to panic, be educated and prepared.
We did learn of some new information listed below.
- Head Start: Some Head Start programs have had some problems with drawing down funding through the standard payment management system. 30-40 programs have experienced an issue with it but the glitches in the system have been resolved so try again. (Please note: this is not my area of expertise, so I cannot help you but the person who shared this information was with the National Head Start Association. To learn more about the shutdown and Early Head Start and Head Start visit the National Head Start Association Website.
- WIC: Good news! Originally it was thought that thousands of women and infants would lose access to nutritious food immediately with the shutdown but with the hard work of the USDA, the states and some contingency funding, they have made sure that WIC offices have kept their doors open and the programs will continue, as with the other nutrition programs, through October 31.
- Some Things We Can Do: Basically Make Our Voices Heard
- Twitter: Use #justvote in your social media posts to encourage congress to vote on a clean continuing resolution (CR) bill (clean means no strings attached). To learn more about hashtags click here.
- "Call in:" day to contact your representatives and tell them you want them to vote on a clean CR. Not sure which day this is yet.
- Twitter rally: There might be a twitter rally on Thursday. Stay tuned for more information.
- Stories: Share your stories. Tell advocate groups your story so they can share it with the white house. How are you effected by the shutdown?
- Letters to the Editor: Share your stories with the media
- Hold the Budget Together: It is important that we stand firm and stand together. Tell your representatives to hold the budget together as you encourage them to vote on a clean continuing resolution bill.
- Share with ChildCareInfo.com what you have done! In the comments below or on our Facebook Page.
- Some Additional Resources to Keep You Advised
- Sign up for Zero to Three Policy Network. You will get notifications via email of conference calls like the one I attended today.
- Visit the CLASP website. They are advocates for "policy solutions that work for low income people." They are following all of this closely and quick to inform on aspects of child care and TANF.
- The Coalition of Human Needs will have information as it becomes available.
Links to additional articles and information can be found below. For all posts on ChildCareInfo.com about the shutdown, Click Here.