MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Dear Friends of Child Care Aware®of America,
2016 was a dynamic and successful year for Child Care Aware®of America with many significant accomplishments, capping off nearly three decades of public policy and advocacy work focused exclusively on ensuring all families have access to quality, affordable child care.
As we prepare to celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2017 under a new administration and in a rapidly changing landscape, it’s our moment in time for activating a national voice around the importance of quality child care that is accessible for all families. Our local, state, and federal policymakers need to make an investment in our nation’s workforce of today and their children, the future leaders of tomorrow.
Highlights from the year include transitioning more than 8,000 Army families with more than 11,000 children from the General Services Administration (GSA) to Child Care Aware®of America’s Fee Assistance Program, once again joining with the other Military branches that we so proudly serve.
In April, we held a highly successful Symposium in Washington, DC with more than 300 attendees from across the country who came together for two-and-a-half days of professional development and networking opportunities. Our Day on the Hill afforded the opportunity for Family Advocates to engage with their legislators to share their personal child care stories. Our professional development focus continued to play out across the country through our participation on consortia supporting four of the national Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) Centers that launched in the fall of 2015 by the Administration for Children and Families. In addition, we actively engaged in several pilot programs in partnership with funders to provide training and technical assistance around emergency preparedness, health, nutrition, obesity prevention, family and community engagement, and a focused pilot on communications strategies targeted at low income families needing support in accessing quality affordable child care.
Our research team published a number of compelling reports in 2016, including our 10th Parents and the High Cost of Child Care report, the definitive source of information on child care costs for each state, as well as select county-level data. This annual report, along with our other in-depth research and analyses on critical child care issues such as equity, and availability, of child care (deserts) positions Child Care Aware®of America as the ‘go-to’ resource for the media, policymakers, and child care advocates for credible, evidence-based data on child care issues.
In September, we launched a major advocacy movement, #ChildCareWorks, to further elevate our messages and activate and mobilize a diverse group of stakeholders to join our cause and demand public and private solutions that will expand access to high-quality, affordable child care. The movement provides a proactive vehicle for parents to share with policymakers their challenges around child care and the impact on family budgets.
All in all, the year was full of unique and deep experiences in family and community engagement, public policy and advocacy initiatives, understanding and anticipating challenges through our research reports, supporting our military families through the fee assistance program and respite care, engaging with our CCR&R agency members as our active change agents, and providing professional development opportunities for the child care workforce.
In preparing for our continued growth as a forward-thinking organization fostering member engagement, our Board revisited our Bylaws as is best practice for membership organizations. A thoughtful and deliberate evaluation of our Bylaws presented the opportunity to make a number of governance revisions that will better position Child Care Aware®of America to thrive in the changing child care landscape.
While we pay tribute to 2016 in this annual report, we invite you to envision the future and explore opportunities to engage with us to help co-create innovative solutions to support America’s families. In the coming year we will reach a major milestone in our history and celebrate 30 years of dedicated focus on the need for quality, affordable child care accessible by all families. We look forward to partnering with you in celebrating our history and forging a successful future in achieving quality child care for all children!
Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D.
Child Care Aware®of America
Every family in the United States has access to a high-quality, affordable child care system.
We advance a child care system that effectively serves all children and families. The child care system supports children’s growth, development, and educational advancement and creates positive economic impact for families and communities. Our work is strengthened by a national network of child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs) and diverse members and partners.
We believe the earliest years of a child’s life are the most critical and represent the single most important investment for communities, states, and the nation, requiring significant leadership, focus, and funding.
We believe families are children’s most important teachers. In partnership with families, nurturing, responsive, and knowledgeable child care teachers create dynamic learning opportunities and are essential to creating the foundation for children’s long-term success.
We believe the public and private sectors must invest in and promote the quality and availability of child care programs that support children’s health and development. Families and child care businesses should not bear the full cost of quality child care.
We believe —because of disparities among groups of children—programs and policies should be designed, resourced, and implemented to deliver equitable outcomes for all children in all communities.
We believe that strategic partnerships with likeminded organizations are essential to proactively leverage resources, maximize expertise, and create greater gains for children and families.
We believe decision makers on child care systems, services, policies, and funding must have access to clear data and strong research to inform their choices.