Last week my email was a-flurry with notifications of a bi-partisan bill that was introduced to congress. This bill is designed to focus on different aspects of the 0-5 early learning landscape. The bill is split into 4 main categories and while most of them touch on child care in one aspect or another, for example - expanding the reach of Early Head Start programs through "innovative partnerships with child care programs to improve quality" (Cole, Summary of Strong Start For America's Children Bill, Zero-Three).
"The legislation would follow much of the proposal set forth by President Obama’s FY 2014 Budget proposal" (Child Care Aware of America, Strong Start For Children Campaign).
One of the Child Care specific aspects included setting aside reserve funds for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) in the amount of 100 million dollars. These funds would be set aside for competitive grants for states to improve the quality of child care focusing on:
"training, education, and professional development for child care staff; training and technical assistance for providers to become licensed; workforce incentives linked to increased credential or degree completion; meeting health and safety standards; and technical assistance to implement nutrition, physical activity or obesity prevention programs." (Cole, Summary of Strong Start For America's Children Bill, Zero-Three)
Another child care specific item ensures children can receive care for at least a year prior to redetermined eligibility.
- Zero to Three = You'd like to tell congress to co-sponsor the bill? This link, from Zero to Three, helps you encourage congress to roll back sequester cuts and support the co-sponsoring of the Strong Start for Children Act.
- Child Care Aware = Strong Start for Children Advocacy. Interested in getting alerts for the Strong Start for Children Campaign? This link from Child Care Aware provides you an opportunity to do that.
- Strong Start For Children Advocacy Toolkit = This toolkit provides you with information, ideas and instructions to help you advocate for early education and care
Learn more about the Bill
- National Women's Law Center (NWLC) = Provides a plethora of links to educate about the bill as well as advocacy information.
- Zero to Three - Rally4Babies = Focuses on the infant and toddler aspects but provides good and easy to understand overviews.
- Child Care Aware Policy Blog = Provides overview of bill as well as additional links for more detailed information.