Infants And Toddlers In The Policy Picture: A Self-Assessment Toolkit For States


All infants and toddlers need good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences. Furthermore, young children benefit most from an early childhood system that is built through collaboration. These goals form the framework for a policy agenda that creates a comprehensive range of services and supports that honor the needs and choices of families for their children. This self-assessment toolkit draws on research on effective policies and best practices to help states evaluate progress toward building an effective early childhood system and set priorities for improvement.

The toolkit will guide you through a series of questions that will prompt you to collect data on how infants and toddlers are doing in your state and to analyze existing state policies and funding choices. In each section, ZERO TO THREE has provided national comparison data as well as suggested sources where you can find information for your state. Each topical section also includes optional stakeholder surveys that you may use to gather input on how existing services are meeting families’ needs. We recommend that you read Suggested Process for Using the Self-Assessment Toolkit before you begin using the toolkit.


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Supporting Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness: A Child Care Development Fund State Guide 


NAEHCY and the Ounce of Prevention Fund are pleased to announce a new guide intended to assist states in utilizing their Child Care and Development Fund state plan (“CCDF Plan”) as a vehicle for improving access to high-quality early care and education for children who experience homelessness. The guide provides background information on common barriers and challenges; best practices for serving homeless families; a summary of requirements of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-186) (“CCDBG Act”) related to homelessness; and a summary of some of the opportunities available through the state CCDF Plan to improve access.

As a companion to the guide, a self-assessment tool that can assist states in assessing their current policies and practices and identifying options to better support vulnerable children is included. We recommend reviewing the self-assessment tool prior to reading the guide.

Early care and education services, including child care, can help mitigate the impacts of homelessness on children. Research overwhelmingly shows high-quality educational experiences in the preschool years can have a positive effect and long-term benefit throughout a child’s education. Yet compared to poor housed parents, homeless parents are less likely to receive child care subsidies. At the same time, they are more likely to rely on informal child care arrangements and to report quitting jobs or school due to problems with child care. Homelessness presents barriers over and above what other poor families face, which are exacerbated by other factors, such as fragmentation of service systems, limited availability of services, lack of transportation, rigid program rules and the family’s mobility.

The new CCDBG offers an unprecedented opportunity to move states toward policies that make it easier for homeless families to access child care subsidies, and with new CCDF state plans due in March 2016, the time to act is NOW!

Please share this guide with your colleagues and partners at the local and state level, and please let us know how we can be helpful in your efforts.

Source: The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

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Benchmarks for Quality Improvement Self-Assessment Tool 


The Benchmarks for Quality Improvement Self-Assessment Tool can help States and Territories assess their current status and measure progress in implementing program quality improvement systems. The Self-Assessment Tool contains a series of questions to answer for each of the benchmark indicators. These questions and the States and Territories’ answers should help them to determine their status on a series of progress measures – No Action, Developing, Implementing, or Fully Implementing. Space is provided for notes and to prioritize and plan for next steps in those areas where progress is needed.

Source: Child Care Technical Assistance Network

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Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Shelters 


The Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Shelters is intended to help shelter staff ensure their facilities are safe and appropriate for the development of young children. Facilities and professionals that can use this tool include:Natural Disaster SheltersDomestic Violence SheltersMaternity Group HomesFamily SheltersContinuums of CareEarly Care and Learning ProvidersWays to Take ActionBuild relationships with your Local Shelter Board and local Continuum of Care to emphasize the need for homeless services that are tailored for young children.Share this tool with other emergency shelter providers in your area, either informally or through your community’s Local Shelter Board and Continuum of Care.Connect with your local Head Start program and Child Care Resources and Referral agency.Review recommended strategies for increasing early care and education services for homeless children.Resources Related to the Self-Assessment ToolGuide to Developmental and Behavioral Screening for housing and shelter providersIn Case of Emergency FormChildproofing ChecklistSpecial Care Plan

Source: Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families

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Self-Assessments: National Center for Cultural Competence

There are numerous benefits to self-assessment. Such processes can lead to the development of a strategic organizational plan with clearly defined short-term and long-term goals, measurable objectives, identified fiscal and personnel resources, and enhanced consumer and community partnerships.

Self-assessment can also provide a vehicle to measure outcomes for personnel, organizations, population groups and the community at large.

The NCCC views self-assessment as an ongoing process, not a one-time occurrence. It offers organizations and their personnel the opportunity to assess individual and collective progress over time.

Source: National Center for Cultural Competence

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