Helping Families and Staff Maximize Tax Credits

Thursday 26 January 2017, 03:00 PM – 04:15 PM

Tax credits for the working poor lift more families out of poverty annually than any other poverty-reduction effort. Join us for a discussion about tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and how to help ensure families claim all tax credits and deductions for which they are eligible. Learn how to connect families with free tax services This webinar is part of the Building Foundations for Economic Mobility Webinar SeriesTopics Include:

  • Locating local free tax preparation services in your program’s area
  • Exploring available resources for beginning partnerships or delivering tax preparation services on-site
  • Using effective approaches for tax preparation to encourage financial goal-setting with families and staff

                    Register Now                       

Source: National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement

Available at: https://events-na11.adobeconnect.com/content/connect/c1/1092484587/en/events/event/shared/1578361213/event_landing.html?sco-id=1578386297

 

DEC Recommended Practices Monograph Series – Using DEC Family Practices with All Families: Call for Manuscripts

The Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC) will be publishing its third monograph in the DEC Recommended Practices Monograph Series in 2017 concentrating on the Family topic area.

We are interested in manuscripts that highlight the Family Recommended Practices from multiple perspectives to support families with young children from birth – 5 years old who have or are at risk of developmental delays and disabilities.  We hope to publish manuscripts that represent the breadth and depth of each of the three themes of the DEC Family Recommended Practices (family-centered practices, family capacity-building practices, and family and professional collaboration), which include the 10 practices that can be downloaded from the DEC website.

We are especially interested in manuscripts that demonstrate innovative use of the DEC family recommended practices to (1) effectively address the complexities of partnering with families, (2) positively support families whose values and structures are different from the professionals supporting the families, (3) identify specific behaviors that encompass the active ingredients of the recommended practices, and (4) enhance families’ knowledge and skills to enrich their child’s development.

Suggested topics include applying the DEC Family Practices to strengthen:

  • Families who are supported by multiple formal systems
  • Reciprocity between caregivers in different EI/ECSE contexts (e.g., preschool teacher and family)
  • Families with limited access to needed supports, such as families who are undocumented and those lacking stable housing
  • Family outcomes
  • Families’ use of informal supports to help meet the needs of their family and children

We are seeking manuscripts well grounded in research that are written for practitioners as well as case studies that illustrate the nuances of partnering with individual families.  We are also seeking manuscripts that include families who are currently, or in the last year were, supported by Early Intervention or 619 programs as primary or equal contributors to manuscript development.  At least one Family Recommended Practice should be clearly targeted and woven into the manuscript.

Final inclusion of manuscripts will, in part, be determined to assure representation of different Family Recommended Practices.

Submission Deadline is December 15, 2016. Manuscripts should be 10-12 pages including references.

Please contact the co-editors Carol M. Trivette (trivettecm@etsu.edu) and Bonnie Keilty (bkeilty@hunter.cuny.edu) with any questions.

We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES)

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is proposing to collect data for a new round of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES). Featuring a new “Core Plus” study design, FACES will provide data on a set of key indicators, including information for performance measures. The design allows for more rapid and frequent data reporting (Core studies) and serves as a vehicle for studying more complex issues and topics in greater detail and with increased efficiency (Plus studies).

The FACES Core study will assess the school readiness skills of Head Start children, survey their parents, and ask their Head Start teachers to rate children’s social and emotional skills.

Source: Office of Head Start

Available at: http://hsicc.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/j/117A8F86594F1FFD/2ABD24CF6E74000C0F8C96E86323F7F9

Supporting Parents in Job Training and Education Programs with Child Care Assistance

12/2/2016

This Information Memorandum provides guidance to Lead Agencies implementing provisions of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, to increase access to child care assistance and information so that low-income parents may further their education and training as a pathway to better wages and economic stability.

Source: Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/im-2016-04

 

TANF and the First Year of Life: Making a Difference at a Pivotal Moment 

10/2/2015

Americans overwhelmingly agree that children’s fate in life should not be determined by the circumstances in which they are born. But children born into poor families are at great risk of persistent poverty during their childhood, and long-term negative effects on their health, economic success, and overall well-being. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) offers an important, large-scale, high-impact opportunity to achieve two-generational goals for parents and infants. However, state TANF programs often fall short of their potential.  Barriers to access, underfunded services, and work requirements that do not take the needs of infants into account hold parents back and make it harder for them to lift themselves and their infants out of poverty. This report suggests a new framework for thinking about TANF in the context of the first year of life, a vision for what a reformed TANF might look like and concrete steps that states can begin taking right now to move their programs in this direction.

Source: CLASP: Policy Solutions That Work for Low-Income People

Building Blocks: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2015 

10/27/2015

Child care helps children, families, and communities prosper. It gives children the opportunity to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. It gives parents the support and peace of mind they need to be productive at work. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it helps our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle to afford child care.

  • Families in 32 states were better off in February 2015 than in February 2014 under one or more child care assistance policies.
  • Families in 16 states were worse off under one or more of these policies.
  • Fourteen states reported they had made or expected to make improvements in one or more of the policies covered in this report after February 2015.

Source: National Women’s Law Center

Available at: http://nwlc.org/resources/building-blocks-state-child-care-assistance-policies-2015/

Health Literacy and Consumer-Facing Technology: Workshop Summary

10/2015

The proliferation of consumer-facing technology and personal health information technology has grown steadily over the past decade, and has certainly exploded over the past several years. Many people have embraced smartphones and wearable health-monitoring devices to track their fitness and personal health information. Providers have made it easier for patients and caregivers to access health records and communicate through online patient portals. However, the large volume of health-related information that these devices can generate and input into a health record can also lead to an increased amount of confusion on the part of users and caregivers.

The Institute of Medicine convened a workshop to explore health literate practices in health information technology and then provide and consider the ramifications of this rapidly growing field on the health literacy of users. Health Literacy and Consumer-Facing Technology summarizes the discussions and presentations from this workshop, highlighting the lessons presented, practical strategies, and the needs and opportunities for improving health literacy in consumer-facing technology.

Source: The National Academies Press

Available at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21781/health-literacy-and-consumer-facing-technology-workshop-summary

High quality child care is out of reach for working families 

10/2015

In recent decades most Americans have endured stagnant hourly pay, despite significant economy-wide income growth (Bivens and Mishel 2015). In essence, only a fraction of overall economic growth is trickling down to typical households. There is no silver bullet for ensuring ordinary Americans share in the country’s prosperity; instead, it will take a range of policies. Some should give workers more leverage in the labor market, and some should expand social insurance and public investments to boost incomes. An obvious example of the latter is helping American families cope with the high cost of child care.

The high cost of child care has received attention from an array of policymakers. For example, in his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama cited child care affordability as a key to helping middle-class families feel more secure in a world of constant change (White House 2015). New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recognized similar concerns and released an interagency implementation plan for free, high-quality, full-day universal prekindergarten (NYC 2014). High quality, dependable, and affordable child care for children of all ages is more important than ever, especially since having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families.

This paper uses a number of benchmarks to gauge the affordability of child care across the country. It begins by explaining how child care costs fit into EPI’s basic family budget thresholds, which measure the income families need in order to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living in 618 communities. The report then compares child care costs to state minimum wages and public college tuition. Finally, to determine how child care costs differ by location and family composition, the paper reconstructs budgets for two-parent, two-child families in 10 locations to include the higher cost of infant care, compares these families’ child care costs to those of families without infants, and compares costs for both family types with metro area median incomes.

Key findings include:

  • Child care costs account for a significant portion of family budgets.
    • EPI’s basic family budget threshold for a two-parent, two-child family ranges from $49,114 (Morristown, Tennessee) to $106,493 (Washington, D.C.). In the median family budget area for this family type (Des Moines, Iowa), a two-parent, two-child family needs $63,741 to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living.
    • Across regions and family types, child care costs account for the greatest variability in family budgets. Monthly child care costs for a household with one child (a 4-year-old) range from $344 in rural South Carolina to $1,472 in Washington, D.C.
    • As a share of total family budgets, center-based child care for single-parent families with two children (ages 4 and 8) ranges from 11.7 percent in New Orleans to 33.7 percent in Buffalo, New York.
    • Among families with two children (a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old), child care costs exceed rent in 500 out of 618 family budget areas. For two-child families, child care costs range from about half as much as rent in San Francisco to nearly three times rent in Binghamton, New York.
  • Child care is particularly unaffordable for minimum-wage workers.
    • The high cost of child care means that a full-time, full-year minimum-wage worker with one child falls far below the family budget threshold in all 618 family budget areas—even after adjusting for higher state and city minimum wages.
    • Among families with young children, child care costs constitute a large share of annual earnings for families living off one full-time, full-year minimum-wage income. For example, to meet the demands of infant care costs for a year, a minimum-wage worker in Hawaii—the state with the median state minimum wage ($7.75)—would have to devote his or her entire earnings from working full time (40 hours a week) from January until September.
  • Other salient benchmarks highlight the extremely high costs of child care.
    • In 33 states and the District of Columbia, infant care costs exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public 4-year institutions.
    • In terms of child care costs’ share of total family budgets, only in a handful of EPI’s 618 family budget areas are child care costs close to the 10 percent affordability threshold established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
    • Child care costs are particularly high for younger children. When 10 family budgets in various areas are reconstructed to include two-parent, two-child families with an infant and a 4-year-old (instead of a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old), child care ranges from 19.3 percent to 28.7 percent of total family budgets. This compares with a range of 11.8 percent to 21.6 percent for families with a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old.
    • In these 10 areas, child care costs for an infant and a 4-year-old constitute between approximately 20 percent and 31 percent of median family income—far above the HHS’s 10 percent approximately 20 percent and 31 percent of median family income—far above the HHS’s 10 percent affordability standard.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

Available at: http://www.epi.org/publication/child-care-affordability/

HHS Launches National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

10/7/2015

By Shantel E. Meek, Ph.D., Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families

Last year, President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper (MBK), an initiative that brings together the public and private sectors, communities, businesses, schools, and individuals to close opportunity gaps and ensure all of our nation’s youth, including boys and young men of color, have the tools they need to realize their incredible potential. The initiative sets a vision for supporting our youth from cradle to college and career by focusing on six important milestones across the life course. The first of these milestones is ensuring that children enter school ready to learn.

The My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Report recommends building a strong foundation of social-emotional and behavioral health, fostered by warm, enriching, and secure relationships with adults like parents and early learning providers, as an integral component of entering school ready to learn. Social-emotional and behavioral health is robustly associated with school readiness and achievement and outcomes in adulthood, such as higher likelihood of high school completion, degree attainment, and lower likelihood of drug use and arrest.

At the same time, teachers and child care providers report that their most pressing training need is in fostering children’s behavioral development. In fact, only 20% of providers who serve children under age 5 reported receiving any training on facilitating children’s social-emotional growth in the past year. Lack of training and competencies in this area may contribute to higher rates of expulsion and suspensions. Data consistently show that young boys of color are disproportionately the subjects of expulsions and suspensions from early learning and school settings, which may contribute to social-emotional challenges and set them on a negative trajectory before they even step foot in the kindergarten classroom. Last year, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) released a joint policy statement on preventing expulsion and suspension in practices in early learning settings.

The concern for the mental health and behavioral wellness in young children of color has become even more alarming after the release of a recent study in The Journal for American Medical Association analyzing suicide rates in children over the past 20 years. Researchers found that, while the overall suicide rate remained stable, the rate for black children, ages 5 to 11, increased significantly.  Data over the past several years indicate that the suicide rate in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth is more than double other groups.

As a response to the pressing need for more preventive support for the early education system and the children and families it serves, this week the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Administration for Children and Families, three agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, launched the new National Center of Excellence in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC). The Center of Excellence (CoE), funded at about $6 million over the next four years, is tasked with building strong, sustainable mental health consultation systems in States and tribal communities across the country through the development of state of the art tools and the delivery of training and technical assistance. IECMHC is a multi-level preventive intervention that teams mental health professionals with people who work with young children and their families. The model builds the capacity of teachers and families to promote social-emotional and behavioral development and has demonstrated impacts for improving children’s social skills and adult-child relationships; reducing challenging behaviors, expulsions and suspensions; increasing family-school collaboration; increasing classroom quality; and reducing teacher stress, burnout, and turnover.

Importantly, the work of the CoE will also have a focus on tribal communities. Work will be steered by an advisory group of experts in the early childhood mental health field and will include up to four tribal experts to ensure that the work is culturally responsive to the needs of AI/AN children and their families. The unique strengths and needs of tribal communities warrant an intentional focus and strong partnership with tribal nations. As the work of the CoE moves forward, it will include a thorough consideration of racial and ethnic disparities in exclusionary discipline and other areas, and result in a set of tools and training that are culturally responsive and relevant, address issues of implicit bias, and benefit all children, their families, and their teachers.

Today’s announcement is an important step forward in boosting the quality of early education around the country, and ensuring that States and tribes can support their youngest children, including boys of color, in achieving optimal social-emotional and behavioral health and school readiness. We hope that the launch of this new CoE will spur discussion and encourage States, tribes, communities, schools, and early childhood programs to prioritize this issue. We all share responsibility for taking care of our youngest children.

Source: Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/blog/2015/10/infant-early-childhood-mental-health-consultation

TANF and the First Year of Life: Making a Difference at a Pivotal Moment

10/2/2015

Americans overwhelmingly agree that children’s fate in life should not be determined by the circumstances in which they are born. But children born into poor families are at great risk of persistent poverty during their childhood, and long-term negative effects on their health, economic success, and overall well-being. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) offers an important, large-scale, high-impact opportunity to achieve two-generational goals for parents and infants. However, state TANF programs often fall short of their potential.  Barriers to access, underfunded services, and work requirements that do not take the needs of infants into account hold parents back and make it harder for them to lift themselves and their infants out of poverty. This report suggests a new framework for thinking about TANF in the context of the first year of life, a vision for what a reformed TANF might look like and concrete steps that states can begin taking right now to move their programs in this direction.

Source: CLASP

Available at: http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/tanf-and-the-first-year-of-life-making-a-difference-at-a-pivotal-moment