Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin Early Childhood Association’

Among the 29 richest countries in the world, the US ranks 26th in child well-being. How can that be?

The Raising of America, a soon-to-be released PBS documentary, explores the connection between a strong early childhood education system and a child’s overall well-being.  To this point, the film reveals that the U.S. ranks 16th in child care affordability and 22nd in child care quality.

At a pre-screening last fall, viewers asked “What’s being done?” and “What can we do?”

Nesting graphicIn response, WECA and eight other organizations dedicated to children and families will be hosting a Wisconsin World Café in April for a variety of community leaders. Participants will participate in small-table discussions about children, families, and communities and what they need to succeed.

Also attending is, Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett, a pediatrician and researcher, who appears in the documentary. Using the metaphor of a nest, Dr. Boynton-Jarrett sheds some light on the interdependent nature of young children, their families, their larger community, and culture.

“So you have a child who is an individual with their biology, their genetics, and their personality characteristics,” Dr. Boynton-Jarrett explains in the documentary The Raising of America. “They are nested in their family, their peers, and their close social relationships. But that is nested in another level that is your school, your community institutions, your neighborhood. That level is nested within our cultural, our laws, our policies, our social structures, our systems. As a society, where do we see the role of our policies? Is it part of that role to help children grow and develop?”

For more, watch this 11 minute preview clip.

Next month, WECA will highlight the event and report on the discussion. Stay tuned.

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Recently, WECA co-sponsored a screening of The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation, a PBS documentary that studies brain development in infants and the importance of quality early care for all children. The film revealed disconcerting statistics about child well-being in America.

overall child well-beingSource: Unicef 

How can it be that America ranks so low when it comes to ensuring quality early care for children? Following the film, a panel engaged the audience in discussion. Here are their perspectives: Ruth Schmidt, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association “The film places a fragile system of child care front and center in the discourse of what we need to improve as a state and nation to ensure that all our children get the best possible start in life and enter public school equally ready to succeed, regardless of socioeconomic status. Until we figure out how to make high quality child care affordable for all families we will continue to pay the later costs of remedial education, high school dropout rates, public assistance dependence, teen pregnancy, incarceration and health disparities.”

Raising of America panel

The panel (from left): Dr. Susan Ehrlich, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Fabiola Hamdan, Joining Forces for Families, Ruth Schmidt, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, Quinton Cotton, Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families and Dr. Maria Stanley, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Dr. Maria Stanley, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health “I don’t think that there is one magic answer, but we need to look in a global way at how we support families. Looking for example at mental health resources for parents and good access to medical care and providers who understand and care about children and do appropriate screening and support for families. It’s also about good childcare and making sure that this can be a reality by paying people enough to do that work,…by valuing the work.” Quinton Cotton, Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families “One of the key issues is the availability and accessibility of information for young families. It’s very difficult for new parents to identify resources and feel comfortable operating in new situations. Often times they don’t know where to start and they may have questions about which programs are appropriate for them. We all share a responsibility in assuring that young children and their families have the best possible start that they can. I think there is some important contribution that we all can play.” Your Thoughts? Did you attend the screening?  We want to hear from you! What direction do we need to take to make our children’s path to succeed a better and healthier one? What are the issues that take precedence? Share your thoughts by commenting below. We thank American Family Children’s Hospital and sponsors for providing this opportunity and initiating this important forum.  We look forward to advancing the well-being of children and families through collaborative efforts such as this.

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The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families will host four WisKids Count Community Conversations, in collaboration with other organizations throughout the state. The goal of the forums is to increase awareness of the effects the recession has had on the well-being of children and to initiate conversation on what can be done to support children.

Local community leaders will discuss the challenges faced by families within their communities during the recession. Additional information from the recently released Annie E. Casey Foundation’s report on “America’s Children, America’s Challenge: Promoting Opportunity for the Next Generation” as well as data from the State and local levels will be presented.

La Crosse WisKids Count Community Conversation
Monday, Sept. 12, 11:15 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
UW- La Crosse – Valhalla Room Cartwright Center, 1741 State Street, La Crosse

Appleton WisKids Count Community Conversation
Wednesday, Sept. 14, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.  
Zion Lutheran Church, 912 North Oneida Street, Appleton

Wausau WisKids Count Community Conversation
Tuesday, Sept. 20, 7:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
North Central Technical College, Wausau

No registration required for the La Crosse, Appleton or Wausau Conversations
Questions can be directed to Martha Cranley, WCCF Kids Count Coordinator, at 608-284-0580 x 321 or at mcranley@wccf.org

Racine WisKids Count Community Conversation
Thursday, Sept. 22, 5:45 p.m.-7:45 p.m.
The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, 33 East Four Mile Road, Racine

To attend the Racine Conversation, please RSVP to lpiche@johnsonfdn.org at The Johnson Foundation.

For more information about the WisKids Count project visit the WCCF website.

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US Senator Ron Johnson (WI)

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson will hold listening sessions from August 16 to the 25 in communities across Wisconsin. Senator Johnson will not be present but his staff will relay messages from constituents back to him. WECA encourages all early childhood care and education supporters to attend the listening sessions with Senator Johnson’s staff to voice their opinions on the importance of funding early care programs.

With the current political climate, and the passing of the federal Budget Control Act of 2011, funding cuts to early care programs could impact families, children, and providers. Programs including Head Start, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Preschool Grants Program for Children with Disabilities could all face cuts.

Here are a few talking points to help you share your opinions when speaking with Senator Johnson’s staff members:

Moving forward, it is important to continue providing federal funding to support early childhood care and education in Wisconsin. Early child care and education programs prepare children to succeed when they enter school and allow parents to be reliable employees at work. Please support early childhood care and education funding in upcoming budget discussions.  It is a wise investment today—to help assure that employers have the workers they need—and for the future, so we can raise a new generation of children ready to succeed in school, work, and life.

Listening Session Schedule:

Tuesday, August 16th, 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Council Chambers, Brookfield City Hall
2000 North Calhoun Road, Brookfield, WI 53005

Tuesday, August 16th, 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Community Room, Altoona City Hall
1303 Lynn Avenue, Altoona, WI 54720

Tuesday, August 16th, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Menomonee Falls Village Hall
W156 N8480 Pilgrim Road, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

Tuesday, August 16th, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Council Room, Clark County Courthouse
517 Court Street, Neillsville, WI 54456

Tuesday, August 16th, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Large Room, Crandon Public Library
110 West Polk Street, Crandon, WI 54520

Tuesday, August 16th, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
West Entrance Meeting Room, Taylor Co Courthouse
224 South Second Street, Medford, WI 54451

Tuesday, August 16th, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
WPS Room, Stephenson Public Library
1700 Hall Ave, Marinette, WI 54143

Thursday, August 18th, 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Conference Room, Florence County Courthouse
501 Lake Avenue, Florence, WI 54121

Thursday, August 18th, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Lone Rock Community Center
Corner of Liberty Street and Broadway Street, Lone Rock, WI 53556

Thursday, August 18th, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Council Chambers, Eagle River City Hall
525 East Maple Street, Eagle River, WI 54521

Thursday, August 18th, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Council Chambers, Rhinelander, City Hall
135 South Stevens Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501

Friday, August 19th, 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Small Meeting Room, Hales Corners Village Hall
5635 South New Berlin Road, Hales Corners, WI 53130

Friday, August 19th, 9:30 am – 10:30 am
Meeting Room A, Appleton Public Library
225 Oneida Street, Appleton, WI 54911

Friday, August 19th, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Meeting Room, Capitol Library
3969 North 74th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53216

Thursday, August 25th, 2011, 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Centro Hispano of Dane County
810 West Badger Rd, Madison, WI 53713

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YoungStar Press Conference - Secretary Eloise Anderson

Department of Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson speaks to the press about Wisconsin's new child care rating system, YoungStar.

Today is the beginning of a public awareness campaign by the Department of Children & Families Secretary Eloise  Anderson for YoungStar, Wisconsin’s child care rating program. Secretary Anderson held a press conference at The Learning Gardens Child Development Center in Madison. A new website, www.youngstar.wi.gov was revealed, along with billboard and city bus advertisements.

“Parents in Wisconsin can now quickly and easily access information about child care providers by ‘looking for the stars.’ The Department of Children and Families designed YoungStar with parents in mind to help them select the best provider for their children,” said Secretary Anderson. “Parents want to know their children are safe and secure, as well as gaining the knowledge and social skills that set the stage for a successful tomorrow.”

YoungStar rates child care programs on a five-star scale using research-based quality indicators to:

  • Evaluate and rate the quality of care given by child care providers;
  • Help parents choose the best child care for their kids;
  • Support providers with tools and training to deliver high-quality early care; and
  • Set a consistent standard for child care quality in Wisconsin.

Click to see photos from the YoungStar news conference.

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WECA Food Program participants may now apply for a USDA Child Care Wellness Grant administered by the Wisconsin Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Sponsors Forum and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Selected grantees will be awarded a nutrition kit of their choice from the following: physical activity for kids, cooking with kids, or nutrition education. The grant is an opportunity for family child care providers to develop and implement policies that improve the overall nutrition, physical health, and well-being of children. Up to 300 providers will be chosen as pilot sites.

Selected pilot sites will be required to:

  • Attend a training workshop or view a training webcast;
  • complete a baseline evaluation;
  • participate in two sessions of on-site technical assistance;
  • and complete a post-evaluation.

Upon successful completion, participating sites will receive a framed certificate. All WECA Food Program participants are encouraged to apply. For consideration, Wellness Grant applications must be postmarked no later than August 12, 2011. Mail completed applications to:

Wisconsin CACFP Sponsors Forum
PO Box 10384
Green Bay, WI 54307

To download an application, click here.

For questions, please call the WECA Food Program at 1-800-783-9322 ext. 7245 or contact your WECA Area Coordinator.

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WECA is excited to announce the release of a new workforce study, Child Care Professionals in 2010: The view from Wisconsin. WECA teamed up with the Public Policy Forum in Milwaukee to help create an accurate picture of the strengths and challenges in the field today. A group of early education stakeholders were pooled together to determine the focus areas of the study: education, experience, job satisfaction, and compensation. In each category, a set of questions were developed to survey three distinct groups: child care directors, group child care employees, and family child care providers.

The study revealed positive trends in the workforce, including:

  • Sixty-two percent of the survey respondents intending to pursue credit-based professional training and 41 percent planning to pursue non-credit training.
  • A 14 to 24 percent drop in the Wisconsin early care workforce turnover rate.
  • Only four percent of survey respondents claiming they were unsatisfied with their current jobs, and 96 percent claiming either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied”.

The study recommends focusing on key areas to support the future of the early care workforce, including:

To read the study, Child Care Professionals in 2010: The view from Wisconsin, in its entirety, click here.

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