March 28, 2014

In this Issue:

  1. New Initiative - Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!
      Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, et al. - March 27, 2014
  2. Report Finds Increasing Prevalence Estimates of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children
      Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - March 28, 2014
  3. Major New Findings from the Abecedarian Project Show Health Benefits 30 Years Later
      Source: Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute - March 27, 2014
  4. How Are Early Childhood Teachers Faring in State Teacher Evaluation Systems?
      Source: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes - March 18, 2014
  5. Early Head Start - Child Care Partnership Applicant Support Toolkit Now Available
      Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children & Families - March 25, 2014
  6. Early Learning Governance in Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge States
      Source: Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance Program - March 27, 2014
  7. Scrambling for Stability: The Challenges of Job Schedule Volatility and Child Care
      Source: CLASP - March 27, 2014

1. New Initiative - Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!

Source: Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, et al. - March 27, 2014

The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) have launched a new collaborative initiative, Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!. The initiative will help families look for and celebrate milestones; promote universal screenings; identify delays as early as possible; and improve the support available to help children succeed in school and thrive along side their peers. Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! resources include:

  • A list of research-based developmental screening tools appropriate for use across a wide range of settings;
  • Guides on how to use the screeners for a variety of audiences, from early learning teachers to doctors, social workers, and families;
  • Toolkits with resources and tip sheets;
  • Guidance on finding help at the local level; and
  • A screening passport that allows families to track a child's screening history and results.

2. Report Finds Increasing Prevalence Estimates of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - March 28, 2014

New estimates from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network show that for 2010, the overall prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) among the ADDM sites was one in 68 children aged 8 years. This is approximately 30% higher than previous estimates. Similar to previous findings, this estimate finds that ASD is almost five times more common among boys than girls; white children are more likely to be identified with ASD than black or Hispanic children; and most children with ASD are not diagnosed until after age 4, although ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2. The latest estimate finds that almost half of children identified with ASD have average or above average intellectual ability (an IQ of 85 and above) compared to a third of children a decade ago.

3. Major New Findings from the Abecedarian Project Show Health Benefits 30 Years Later

Source: Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute - March 27, 2014

The Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute recently reported that children who received high-quality early care and education in the Abecedarian Project from birth until age 5 enjoyed better physical health in their mid-30s than peers who did not attend the childcare-based program. Significant measures also indicate that better health lies ahead for these individuals. The findings appear in the March 28, 2014 issue of Science and are the result of FPG's collaboration with Nobel laureate James J. Heckman.

4. How Are Early Childhood Teachers Faring in State Teacher Evaluation Systems?

Source: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes - March 18, 2014

A new research report published by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) provides information about the design and requirements of teacher evaluations systems for early childhood teachers in 11 states. How Are Early Childhood Teachers Faring in State Teacher Evaluation Systems? CEELO Policy Report (March 2014), by Lori Connors-Tadros and Michelle Horowitz, discusses the approach each state is taking to adapt the state system and develop resources for early childhood teachers. It identifies specific opportunities and challenges state leaders are addressing in implementing student learning objectives as an alternative method of measuring early childhood teachers' contributions to children's learning. It concludes with questions for further research and recommendations for state policy makers.

5. Early Head Start - Child Care Partnership Applicant Support Toolkit Now Available

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children & Families - March 25, 2014

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children & Families (ACF) recently launched the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) initiative to support the expansion of high quality early learning to infants and toddlers. Through this initiative, Early Head Start grantees will partner with center-based and family child care providers who agree to meet Early Head Start Program Performance Standards and provide comprehensive, full-day, full year high-quality services to infants and toddlers from low-income families. A new Early Head Start - Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) Applicant Support Toolkit is now available online. It provides a collection of materials to support these partnerships.

6. Early Learning Governance in Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge States

Source: Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance Program - March 27, 2014

Early learning governance structures in many Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge States (RTT-ELC) states are in transition as states work to build their early learning systems. The Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance (ELC TA) Program recently published a new document, Early Learning Governance in Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge States (Rounds 1 and 2) (2014), which provides a graphic representation of the governance structures in Round 1 and Round 2 RTT-ELC grantee states. It is not meant to show a relative hierarchy of agencies across states, but rather the placement of programs within specific agencies. The structure in one state may not be directly comparable to that in another state. The document was based largely on a resource called Early Care and Education: State/Territory Governance Structures. Child Care State Systems Specialist Network (2013) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care.

7. Scrambling for Stability: The Challenges of Job Schedule Volatility and Child Care

Source: CLASP - March 27, 2014

On March 27, 2014, CLASP released a new brief, Scrambling for Stability: The Challenges of Job Schedule Volatility and Child Care (March 2014), which examines the difficulties many low-income parents face as they try to deal with unpredictable job schedules and child care simultaneously. A growing number of workers have minimal control over their hours and these workers are disproportionately earning lower wages. At the same time, child care providers find it difficult to accommodate parents with volatile schedules. As a result, parents are left to piece together a patchwork of care arrangements, resulting in instability for their children. The new brief provides a list of potential action steps, highlights important existing research, and identifies the need for more research and data collection.