FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Congress returns the week of September 5 from its month-long summer recess to an agenda that will likely remain unfinished until after the midterm election on November 7. Among the unfinished items: funding for a host of domestic human resource programs, including Head Start and child care in the annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. An early October recess is planned before the election, and this is a wonderful opportunity to educate lawmakers and potential lawmakers on issues important to infants, toddlers, and families.
|Investing in Infants and Toddlers:
The Economics of Early Childhood
Written by Kimberly Lucas, ZERO TO THREE Policy Intern
Professionals and researchers in the infant-toddler field have long recognized the importance of early social and emotional development and its connection to early cognitive development. Now, others are beginning to see the value in concentrating attention on the earliest years of life. In the field of economics, recent focus on issues of “human capital” (defined as education and skills) has led economic researchers to a conclusion that early childhood professionals have known all along: investing in high-quality early childhood programs reaps considerable savings and numerous personal and social benefits. This article outlines current economic research, its application within the field of child development, and ways in which early childhood professionals and economists can join forces to advocate for greater investment in programs that support infants, toddlers and their families. Read this article now
!State Policy Update
Partnership is the Key to Connecticut’s Commitment to
Connecticut is continuing to move forward with an agenda that demonstrates support for the development of young children. In recent years, policymakers and stakeholders have worked to build a comprehensive early childhood system in Connecticut under the umbrella of Connecticut’s Early Childhood Partners
, a coalition of various state agencies, community organizations and direct service providers. The basic framework for these system building efforts is derived from the concept that families, communities, and schools must be supported by the state through policy, resource allocation, and public accountability. As a result, Connecticut has made a commitment to establish itself as a partner with various stakeholders to identify priority needs and develop statewide investment plans and strategies. Read more
Publications & Resources
CLASP Policy Brief Outlines Head Start and Early Head Start Data
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) released More than Meets the Eye: Head Start Programs, Participants, Families, and Staff in 2005, the latest policy brief in their Head Start series that examines the latest data from the Program Information Reports (PIR) that all Head Start programs must submit annually. In addition, CLASP published Early Head Start Participants, Programs, Families, and Staff in 2005 as a companion piece that outlines the latest data trends from Early Head Start programs.
Overview of Selected Data on Children in Vulnerable Families
The Urban Institute recently published An Overview of Selected Data on Children in Vulnerable Families, a paper outlining trends over time in the number of children in particularly vulnerable families. This paper defines vulnerable families as those facing such risks as domestic violence, child maltreatment, substance abuse, depression, and childhood disabilities. The report highlights the implications of sound policy given the considerable risk to children's safety and development, the challenges to parents' ability to support a family as well as raise children when they are facing these major stressors, and the potential requirement for strong public or community roles to meet children's needs when parents cannot. Furthermore, the report distills some of the key trends related to these risks, providing key data on families with low-incomes. As state and local policymakers look ahead to craft policies and practices to better the lives of children, these trends illuminate some of the key challenges that may arise in addressing the needs of vulnerable low-income families.
National Conference on Early Intervention
The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) is sponsoring the National Accountability Conference on Special Education and Early Intervention
from September 18-19, 2006. This conference is designed to address state agency challenges in monitoring local programs providing services under Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The goal of the conference is also to share information about effective practices for monitoring local programs.