February 2015

Tara Laxer
February 2, 2015

Federal Update

Last week, The White House announced a proposal for a fairer tax code that invests in middle-class families, including an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC).

On Tuesday, President Obama emphasized the importance of child care during his State of the Union address, saying that “it’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.” And on Thursday, the President announced a major new proposal to make high-quality child care available for all infants and toddlers in low- and moderate income families. the President proposes to provide an additional $80 billion over ten years for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The funding would be used to make child care assistance available to all families with incomes up to 200 percent of poverty (about $40,000 a year for a family of three) and children under age four so parents could work or attend school or job training. As many of you may have seen, in an interview with 60 minutes John Boehner and Mitch McConnell said that expanding the child care tax credit is “certainly something we’d look at.” Following the President’s proposal to expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), there is exciting momentum to help more families afford child care! It is important to ensure that any expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) includes a change to make it refundable, so that low-income families who earn too little to owe federal income taxes are able to take advantage of the credit. An expansion of the CDCTC should also be paired with significant new investments in CCDBG to help more low-income families afford child care and enable states to meet the new requirements of the CCDBG reauthorization law.

Today, the President announced his recommendation for the 2016 budget which below includes some of the highlight for early learning Expands access to quality, affordable child care. The Budget proposes a historic investment in child care to ensure that quality, affordable care is available to all eligible low- and moderate-income working families with young children, as opposed to the small share of children who receive this help today.

This proposal will expand access to high-quality care for more than 1.1 million additional children under age four by 2025 and help States build a supply of quality care that families can access.

  •  Cuts taxes for families paying for child care with a credit of up to $3,000 per child. The Budget triples the maximum Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) for families with children under age five and makes the full CDCTC available to families with incomes of up to $120,000, benefiting families with young children, older children, and dependents who are elderly or have disabilities. The child care tax reforms would benefit 5.1 million families, helping them cover costs for 6.7 million children
  •  Increases the duration of Head Start programs and invests in high quality infant and toddler care. The Budget expands access to high-quality care for tens of thousands of additional infants and toddlers through Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and provides over $1 billion in additional funding for Head Start to make sure children are served in full-day, full-year programs that research shows lead to better outcomes for children.
  • Supports universal preschool. The Preschool for All initiative, in partnership with the States, provides all four-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families with access to high-quality preschool, while encouraging States to expand those programs to reach additional children from middle-class families and establish full-day kindergarten policies.
  • Lays the groundwork for Preschool for All. The Budget provides $750 million for the Department of Education’s Preschool Development Grants, a substantial increase of $500 million over the 2015 level. Preschool Development Grants are currently helping 18 States develop and expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities; the Budget will increase that number to over 40 States.
  • Invests in voluntary, evidence-based home visiting. The Budget extends and expands evidence-based, voluntary home visiting programs, which enable nurses, social workers, and other professionals to connect families to services to support the child’s health, development, and ability to learn.

Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2015/02/president-obamas-budget-proposal-for-fiscal-year-2016/#qEi8j8EZUHUcrXdP.99

 

State Legislature

Our elected officials are moving fast! Although session doesn't start until in March, the Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee unanimously passed a measure (SPB 7006) already that is similar to a bill that died at the end of the 2014 legislative session. The bill would increase compliance with child-care standards and increase training qualifications for early childhood education providers.

The House Education Committee has hit the ground running as well in addressing quality education. The new state bill they will be working on will address the new requirements from the Federal Child and Development Block grant, which provides grants to help low income working parents obtain child care for more than 1.5 million children under the age of 13 with higher safety standards. We applaud the good work of State Representative Marlene O’Toole, chairwoman of the Education Committee in the State House. Governor Scott 2015-2016 recommendations when it comes to early learning, includes a recommendation of $1.06 billion in funding for early child education and care, an increase of approximately $33.5 million.

The proposed funding includes a $46 per-child increase in the base student allocation for the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Program, a $30 million appropriation for a statewide initiative to decrease the school readiness program waiting list and money for teacher scholarships and training.

Budget highlights

• VPK: The state’s free VPK program, which prepares 4-year-olds for kindergarten, had approximately 171,000 children enrolled last year. The Governor’s budget recommends raising the base student allocation from $2,437 to $2,483 per child in the school-year program and from $2,080 to $2,126 for children in summer programs. The $46-per-child increase would be the second annual increase for VPK students.

• School Readiness: The School Readiness Program helps eligible low-income families get child care so they can work or attend training and/or education programs. Florida served more than 224,000 children in school readiness last year and had an average of 46,000 children statewide on waiting lists. The budget includes $30 million for school readiness to serve at least 5,300 additional children.

• Teacher training and development: The Governor’s budget also includes funding for scholarships and training for early childhood teachers—an additional $1.5 million for Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (T.E.A.C.H), a program that provides scholarships for child care workers to get certificates and degrees, and $2 million for a teacher training project at the University of Florida Lastinger Center.

Other items

• $2.5 million to maintain and expand Home Instruction for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) programs.

• $4 million to maintain and expand the Help Me Grow initiative that identifies children ages birth through 8 at risk for developmental or behavioral challenges and connects their families with information and community-based resources.

• $7 million to continue a school readiness performance funding project designed to improve school readiness outcomes by incentivizing child care providers and instructors. We applaud both President Obama and Governor Scott for their recommendations in each of their respected budgets.

We hope together, our state and federal elected officials will do all they can to make such recommendations a reality. We know when our children are ready for school they are ready for life.

Events

We have been keeping busy attended some great events in the community including a great resource fair in Delray Beach with our friends from Prime Time Palm Beach County. http://www.primetimepbc.org/ We also had a visit with some of our local elected officials including State Representative Bill Hager.

 

 

Mark your calendars for our friends at  Prime Time Palm Beach’s event!

Pink Shirt Day Rally

When: February 12, 2015, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Pink Shirt Day began when two high school seniors in Canada witnessed a freshman
being bullied on his first day of school for wearing a pink shirt.
Friends and classmates united to create a sea of pink shirts on the following day.

Join your colleagues in raising your voices against bullying on February 12, 2015.
Guest speakers will include bullying-prevention experts to discuss new techniques
and strategies to prevent bullying at your program.

Location
City Center Plaza Courtyard
401 Clematis Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Registration*
Contact Paola Cedeno, Community Resource Specialist
at pcedeno@primetimepbc.org or 561-600-9539.

*Please note: If you register and subsequently cannot attend, you must provide Prime Time
with 24-hour notification to avoid incurring a charge of $4.00 per person for the cost of attendance.

Pink shirts are made available through the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County.
To order your pink shirt, click here.
 


Article of Interest

At Little School, tots learn to express themselves through sign language

February 3, 2015 – Gainesville Sun

In Heather Faisons preschool classroom, the hands do the talking. Her students at Santa Fe Colleges Little School range in age from 14 months to 20 months, which means that their vocabulary is limited to just a few simple words. But Faison doesn’t just help her students…

Friends of New Smyrna Beach Library celebrate early reading program

February 3, 2015 – Daytona Beach News Journal

Every month is something the Friends of New Smyrna Beach Library hope will instill a love for reading and encourage parents to read every day to their preschool children. On Jan. 24, Friends of the Library celebrated an early reading program with Mayor James Hathaway kicking off the activities,

 

Study: High-quality early education could reduce costs

February 3, 2015 – Washington Post

High-quality early childhood programs can reduce the number of children diagnosed with certain learning disabilities by third grade, according to a study published Tuesday in the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis journal. The study, conducted by Clara G. Muschkin, Helen F. Ladd and Kenneth

 

 


 

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Special Notice: If you require Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations to participate in any ELCPBC event or activity, please notify Christie Young, Single Point of Contact, by phone at 561-214-7424 or by email at christie.young@elcpalmbeach.org within at least seven (7) days of the event.  Accommodations will be provided at no extra charge.