THREE STRATEGIC PILLARS
Public Policy Advocacy
The public policy team hosted a series of webinars focused on such topics as the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 implementation and training and technical assistance designed to support states in their respective policy initiatives.
More than 80 entities signed onto Child Care Aware® America’s public comments on the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), implementing CCDBG. The process took two months, and the comments were received from our listening session and national survey. Many of the recommended changes were incorporated in the final rule in the fall of 2016.
In September, we launched Child Care Works, a long-term movement for families, grandparents, child care providers, state leaders, policymakers, and advocates who want better policies that support quality child care for all. Through this initiative thus far, we have seen the importance of meeting advocates where they are—via social media, blogs, and on mobile websites.
More than 150,000 policy advocates are following our work, with 43% of our movement followers between the ages of 25 and 34. We produced and shared three entertaining videos targeted at the millennial demographic, which proved to be a great way to help raise awareness and encourage engagement.
In addition, the public policy department worked with coalition partners to prepare for a month-long webinar series to update members and partners around advocacy and the election.
On the horizon we see so much opportunity to engage ALL those that are concerned about and willing to activate on positive change in child care!
Our research team produced a number of key reports designed to advance quality child care this past year. In December, we released our 10th annual Parents and the High Cost of Child Care report, which garnered national media attention for its in-depth depiction of the cost of child care throughout the country. And, for the first time, the report included a special focus on select county-level data. Our Child Care in America: State Fact Sheets continue to provide critical data to child care and early educator advocates, policymakers, and program administrators. Another new study released in September, focused on Child Care Deserts and explored the concepts of child care supply and demand.
Nothing is more impactful than evidence-based data to reveal the significant challenges our nation’s families face in accessing affordable, quality child care, and we will continue to strengthen our service as a national leader on child care research and data.
It is through the generous contributions of our funders and our strategic partnerships that we are able to produce informative studies such as the Child Care Licensing Tool, aligning all state licensing regulations in one place for the first time. And with continued grant support we will further expand our research around child care deserts, and produce reports and white papers that advance quality child care.
Nearly 400 child care educators and advocates from across the country convened in Washington, DC in April for two-and-a-half days of professional development, networking, and advocacy. In addition to child care leaders and practitioners, we also hosted more than 20 families at the Family Advocacy Summit that took place in conjunction with Symposium. These family advocates made their presence known during the Day on the Hill, decked out in neon yellow construction vests and carrying colorful signs reinforcing the importance of quality, affordable child care for all families.
Child Care Aware® of America’s 27th Symposium drew 397 registrants. The event featured seven plenary sessions and 29 breakout sessions. Twenty-five parents from 14 states attended the Family Advocacy Summit and engaged in more than 400 individual meetings for the Day on the Hill.
We actively engaged in pilot programs in partnership with local and state resource and referral agencies and funders to provide training and technical assistance around emergency preparedness, health, nutrition and obesity prevention, and family and community engagement.
The Vroom initiative, launched in 2015, continued to roll out through Child Care Aware®of America’s nationwide CCR&R network reaching hundreds of thousands of parents with brain building messages and nurturing parent-child interaction with new tools.
State Pilot Programs
- EP: Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma
- Health Policy: Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Missouri, New York, North Carolina
- Family & Community Engagement: Kansas, North Carolina
Family and Community Engagement
Families need information that helps inform their child care decisions through effective and efficient communication vehicles. This information needs to be carefully designed to answer their key questions, be available when they most need it, be easy to understand, and in a format they will use.
This year we sought to gain an in-depth understanding of the child care consumer information needs and desires of low-income and otherwise vulnerable families, how they currently obtain information, and the capacity of child care resource and referral agencies to effectively reach these families. We launched “Family Voices, Quality Choices” with a comprehensive review of existing consumer education research, focus groups with families, key industry stakeholder interviews, and a Family Engagement Advisory Team.
In an effort to have a barometer by which we may measure progress in family engagement across the nation, we scanned the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Compendium on family partnership quality indicators to capture a snapshot in time of the current family engagement in QRIS landscape. CCAoA published a comprehensive ‘QRIS and Family Engagement’ brief along with state and national aggregate baseline tables for child care centers and family child care homes.
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.