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Source: NIEER

 

This year, in its annual Yearbook, NIEER is taking on the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the midst of this devastating crisis, NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) is wisely calling on the country to act by drawing on some of the valuable lessons learned from the Great Recession.

As its executive summary explains, the Yearbook offers government policymakers “valuable information for planning short- and long-term responses to the crisis” that includes “information on where children are served, operating schedules, and other program features relevant to planning the education of children in a post-COVID-19 world.”

Since NIEER launched its Yearbook in 2002, states have made consistent but slow progress on investing in early childhood programs.

When the Great Recession took its toll, states cut early childhood spending.

Now: “Despite a brief upturn, pre-K’s long-term growth rate remains lower than before the Great Recession.” And some states “had not fully reversed their quality standards reductions by 2018-2019.” (more…)

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Senator Elizabeth Warren talks to a very young constituent. Source: Senator Warren’s Instagram account

 

“I just want to start by thanking you for all the work you’re doing to keep children safe and to support our community,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said Friday when she joined a Strategies for Children Zoom call, adding:

“This is an unprecedented time for our communities, for our nation, for the entire world — and a time when it is so easy for the most vulnerable, the ones who don’t have their own lobbyists in Washington to get left behind.”

In a lively, inspiring conversation, Warren shared details about the $50 billon child care bailout bill she co-filed with Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) to help the early education and care field survive the coronavirus pandemic and thrive afterwards. Warren also listened to questions and feedback from providers.

“I know that a lot of you on this call have concerns about how the childcare market is going to make it through this very challenging situation. And that is the reason why I’m fighting so hard to help every child care provider weather this crisis and come out on the other side stronger than ever before,” Warren said.

“We’re fighting in Congress to make sure that the funding is there, so that when it’s safe, every child care provider is able to reopen their doors.”

Warren has a three-part plan for the field: (more…)

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“Day care providers in Massachusetts, already ordered closed since March 23, could struggle to ever reopen unless they can get more aid, according to early childhood advocates.

“Gov. Charlie Baker announced that schools and non-emergency day care programs would remain closed through June 29. Even as it’s the necessary decision for public health, advocates say lengthening the closure puts a strain on an already fragile system of care with thin operating margins.

“Advocates estimate about half of the child care market in Massachusetts is funded directly by individuals and families, many of whom are facing loss of income and other uncertainties.

“ ‘We know that programs need those dollars to survive,’ said Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All campaign with the group Strategies for Children. ‘I’m worried that we’re going to come to a point where programs just cannot continue to stay open without some serious investment.’ ”

“Extended Closures Could Mean Some Mass. Daycares Never Reopen,” by Kathleen McNerney, Edify, WBUR, April 23, 2020

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Technical assistance. Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

The coronavirus has forced early education and care providers to protect themselves – from both the virus and from the virus-wracked economy.

To help providers with these financial challenges, we are co-sponsoring a technical assistance webinar tomorrow at 2 p.m. The full details are:

 

Town Hall for Massachusetts Childcare & Early Education Providers

To address some of the significant changes you are facing, or may come to face, in this quickly changing environment

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Eastern time

Click here to register.

[Update: Here’s the link to the webinar recording.]

The webinar will feature lawyers from Goodwin Procter’s Neighborhood Business Initiative as well as speakers from the Children’s Investment Fund, Neighborhood Villages, and Strategies for Children.

“Providers are experts at child development. And Goodwin Procter has tremendous legal experience working with local businesses, nonprofits, and banks,” Titus Dos Remedios, Strategies’ director of research and policy, says. “Connecting these two groups will help providers immediately and over time as we move beyond the pandemic.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

As we cope with the coronavirus pandemic, we have heard your requests for more information about financial assistance.

So if you are a child care provider in Massachusetts, please fill out this short Strategies for Children financial assistance survey so that we can direct you to appropriate support services.

The survey asks for basic information about your child care business, and it asks what kind of state, federal, and philanthropic opportunities you would like to learn more about.

So far, we’ve learned a lot from previous responses to this survey, including: (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Here at Strategies for Children, we have been inspired by the early education and care community’s collaborative spirt.

We are in this together.

People at the local, state and national level are all fighting for children, families, educators, providers and the early education and care system.

To contribute to this effort we have created a new page on our website that we will update frequently with information and resources.

We also want to update you on what has been happening so far:

On Friday, March 27th, 2020, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act was signed into law. This legislation will provide critical help for the early childhood education sector, including these highlights reported by NAEYC: (more…)

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To ward off the devastation of the coronavirus, Vermont is making a historic investment in early education and care.

“The state has promised a massive bailout to Vermont’s child care providers to stabilize the sector amid the coronavirus pandemic,” VTDigger reported last week, adding:

“In guidance issued last night, the Department for Children and Families assured child care facilities that the state will cover the lost tuition they would have received from families if they hadn’t shut their doors to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Aly Richards, CEO of the nonprofit organization Let’s Grow Kids, told VTDigger:

“That will put us first in the country in supporting the early childhood education field to be able to literally reopen at the end of this. Otherwise it would have been a real question, for probably every single program in Vermont.”

To keep early childhood providers up to date on this new policy and its implications, Let’s Grow Kids has posted a list of information and resources that explains the details and links to more information.

Included on this list are ways that essential employees can find emergency child care, a link to use to file for unemployment benefits, and information on how EEC programs can apply for financial support.

The goal is to provide real-time support. (more…)

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