January 3, 2017

In this Issue:

  1. New Zika Virus Resources from CDC
      Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - December 2016
  2. Equity in IDEA Final Regulations Released
      Source: U.S. Department of Education - December 19, 2016
  3. Guide on Preventing Suspensions and Expulsions in Early Childhood Settings
      Source: SRI International - December 14, 2016
  4. State(s) of Head Start
      Source: National Institute for Early Education Research - December 2016
  5. Policy Statement on Babies Affected by Alcohol and Substance Exposure
      Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - December 21, 2016
  6. The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program
      Source: The Heckman Equation - December 12, 2016
  7. Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2016
      Source: Child Care Aware of America - December 22, 2016

1. New Zika Virus Resources from CDC

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - December 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released preliminary estimates of birth defects after Zika Virus infection during pregnancy based on data available as of September 22, 2016. CDC has also added the following new "What to Know" 2-page information sheets to their Zika Virus webpage. These information sheets were developed for practitioners to help answer questions from women who have been exposed to Zika or who have babies who were born after being exposed to the Zika virus.

See also, Zika Virus - 10 Public Health Achievements in 2016 and Future Priorities (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report - December 30, 2016).

2. Equity in IDEA Final Regulations Released

Source: U.S. Department of Education - December 19, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education recently released Final Regulations under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to address issues related to significant disproportionality in the identification, placement, and discipline of students with disabilities based on race or ethnicity. They are effective January 18, 2017. The Department's Office of Civil Rights has also released policy guidance (Dear Colleague Letter, Fact Sheet, FAQs) on preventing racial discrimination in special education. For additional information, see the Press Release here.

3. Guide on Preventing Suspensions and Expulsions in Early Childhood Settings

Source: SRI International - December 14, 2016

A new research-based tool, Preventing Suspensions and Expulsions in Early Childhood Settings: A Program Leader's Guide to Supporting All Children's Success, provides recommended policies and practices that address the underlying root causes of suspension and expulsion and effective alternatives. It was developed with guidance from a panel of national experts. The interactive guide includes resources on supporting social-emotional development, reducing challenging behavior, recognizing the role of cultural differences and implicit biases, and more. A self-assessment survey is included to help provide a tailored roadmap to navigating the guide.

4. State(s) of Head Start

Source: National Institute for Early Education Research - December 2016

Findings from a recent analysis of Head Start program data from all 50 states and six territories, State(s) of Head Start (December 2016), reveal that access to Head Start programs, funding per child, teacher education, quality of teaching, and duration of services vary widely by state. In some states Head Start meets evidence-based quality standards and serves a high percentage of low-income children, while in other states Head Start reaches fewer children and provides low-quality instruction and insufficient hours. These findings underscore the need for improved coordination between Head Start and state and local government agencies in order to build high-quality early learning programs and ensure that every eligible child has an equal opportunity to benefit from Head Start.

5. Policy Statement on Babies Affected by Alcohol and Substance Exposure

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - December 21, 2016

Many communities across the U.S. are experiencing significant increases in the use of opioids and in the numbers of babies experiencing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). A new policy statement, Supporting the Development of Young Children in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities Who are Affected by Alcohol and Substance Exposure (December 2016), addresses children affected by opioids and other substance abuse during pregnancy, including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). It is meant to:

  • raise awareness of the developmental challenges children who have been exposed to alcohol or substances face;
  • highlight culturally-based and evidence-based strategies to support the early development of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children, their families, and communities;
  • support tribal efforts to coordinate and leverage services and activities across communities to benefit young children, families, and communities; and
  • identify culturally and linguistically responsive resources to support tribal communities, early childhood programs, and families in fostering the early development and learning of AI/AN children.

Although the policy statement responds to the issue in AI/AN communities, it is relevant to many communities across America.

6. The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program

Source: The Heckman Equation - December 12, 2016

A new working paper by Nobel Laureate James Heckman and colleagues, The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program (December 2016), shows that high quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children can deliver a 13% per year return on investment. This is substantially higher than the 7-10% return previously established for preschool programs serving 3- to 4-year-olds. The report finds that significant gains are realized through better outcomes in education, health, social behaviors and employment. See a One Page Summary here.

7. Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2016

Source: Child Care Aware of America - December 22, 2016

Child Care Aware of America recently released its 10th annual report on the costs of child care in the U.S. Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2016 provides an overview of the child care landscape across the U.S. and highlights strategies states and communities are using to help parents afford child care. It finds that over the past decade, child care affordability remains unchanged - in many communities across the country, child care costs exceed the cost of housing, college tuition, transportation, or food.