News Roundup March 4th

State Legislation:

Washington State has a comprehensive early learning bill working its way through the state legislature. The goal of the bill is to create a more cohesive system for early learning and increase funding for a variety of programs including the zero to three specific programs of home visiting and parent support. Click here for more information.

Louisiana is starting a pilot program to create a seamless birth to five education system in hopes of addressing the fact that only a little over half of all five year olds enter formal school ready to learn. Read more here.

Federal Strong Start Initiative:

The Department of Health and Human Services has created the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns Initiative designed to help reduce preterm births and improve outcomes for newborns. The awards were given to 27 organizations that will serve women enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP in 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The awardees will be serving areas of the country that have the highest rates of preterm births including the top ten counties for prematurity and infant mortality. The two strategies of the initiative are to decrease early elective deliveries and to enhance prenatal care models. The enhanced prenatal care strategy will test out three evidence based maternity care service approaches; enhanced care though centering/group visits, enhanced care at birth centers and enhanced care at maternity care homes. To read more about the initiative click here.

Also in the News:

The Center for American Progress Recommends Increased Federal Spending on Preschool and Child Care:

The Center for American Progress is calling for the government to increase funding for education for children ages zero to five. Families with children under the age of five that do not have a full time caregiver at home spend between 10% and 52% of their income on child care expenses. Investing in child care will help more children establish foundations for learning and decrease the likelihood that the child will drop out of school, become a teen parent or be arrested for a violent crime. For the zero to three population and their families, the Center for American Progress is calling for expanded access and increased subsidies for low income families, improvement in quality of care and an expansion of Early Head Start. This funding would not only benefit the children and their families, but would also be a benefit to employers because families with stable childcare are able to work more hours and decrease work absences. For more information click here.

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