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Senator David Watters Applauds Senate Passage of Legislation to Help Finance Pre-Kindergarten Education

CONCORD- Today, the NH Senate approved an innovative “pay for success” financing program for pre-kindergarten education. After the Senate passage of SB 503, Senator David Watters (D- Dover) released the following comments:

“I applaud my Senate colleagues for supporting this innovative approach to financing pre-kindergarten education,” said Senator Watters. “New Hampshire is one of a few states in the country that does not provide early childhood education, but SB 503 gives our communities an alternative way to finance this education without putting the burden on the local school districts.” 

Through SB 503’s “pay for success” model, funding for pre-kindergarten education would come from private investors who would then be reimbursed by the state if the program results in improved third grade reading levels or reduces the cost of special education remedial services. The payments will only be made if savings exceed the costs of the program. The first “pay for success” program was established in Utah in 2013 and has proven effective at reducing the cost of special education services and saving the school districts money. The total savings in the first year of the Utah program was $281,550.

“SB 503 is a ‘New Hampshire’ solution to improving education for our children by creating a partnership between our educators and private investors. I thank my Senate colleagues for their support, as this legislation is critical to expanding access to quality education to our children.”

Granite State Rumblings: Strong Bi-Partisan Support For Early Childhood Education Programs

The Presidential candidates are roaming the hills, to the valleys, to the seacoast of New Hampshire. They are being asked a lot of questions on their stances on everything from Social Security and Medicare to climate change. But the one issue that I seldom hear asked of them on the campaign trail is their stance on early childhood education.

And yet, a new bipartisan poll released last week by the First Five Years Fund finds that 76 percent of voters express support for a proposal that would provide 10 billion federal dollars per year for 10 years in state grants to provide low- and middle-income four-year-olds with access to high quality pre-K programs.

As Aaron Lowenberg writes for New America EdCentral, “At a time when partisan polarization seems to have reached a fever pitch, what’s surprising about the poll results is just how bipartisan the support for investment in early education seems to be. The 76 percent of poll respondents who express support for increased federal investment in early childhood education include 59 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents, and 94 percent of Democrats. Majorities of every partisan persuasion also express support for making early education and child care more affordable, helping states and local communities build better pre-K services, improving early learning programs for infants and toddlers, and providing home visiting and parent education programs to first-time parents.”

He goes on to write:

More than two-thirds of voters express the belief that children currently enter kindergarten lacking the skills and knowledge needed for success. And despite the current climate of fiscal austerity, 74 percent of poll respondents express support for increased early childhood investment even if it increases the deficit in the short-term but pays for itself in the long-term. Multiple studies have shown that this is completely plausible because the return on investment for early childhood education is so high: the programs pay for themselves in the long run by improving children’s education, health, and economic situations so that less government spending is needed later.

A few other findings stand out from the poll results that should grab the attention of candidates running for public office. Fifty-four percent of voters report that they would feel more favorable towards a candidate who supports increased federal investment in early childhood education as opposed to only six percent of voters who would think less favorably of a candidate who supports such investment. Finally, a majority of the most critical swing voter groups report feeling more favorable towards candidates who back increased investment in early education, including Hispanics, Millennials, moderates, and Independent women.

This new poll makes clear there is widespread, bipartisan support for increased investment in high-quality early childhood programs.  At a time when many presidential candidates are struggling to build a winning coalition, candidates would be wise to start talking more about one issue that Americans can agree on regardless of party: the importance of early childhood education.

gsroctober15Here are the key points from the poll:

  • Voters say children getting a strong start in school and education are the best ways to strengthen the middle class.
  • There is continued support for investments in enabling states and communities to provide early childhood education opportunities. Support is evident across the partisan spectrum.
  • In fact, voters would prioritize early childhood education over college.
  • Majority is favorably impressed by a presidential candidate who supports such an approach on early childhood education.

It is clear that voters understand the value of early childhood education and want to see the federal government invest in programs at the state and local levels. Will you help us deliver this message to the Presidential candidates?

We’ll tell you how below.

Growing Up Granite

We Know You Support Kids –
Help Us Hear How the Presidential Candidates will Support Kids

Each Presidential Candidate has been invited to a Candidate Forum at UNH to answer questions related to children, youth and families.

What:  Single Candidate Forums on Children, Youth and Families

Hosts:  Every Child Matters in New Hampshire, MomsRising, and The Department of Social Work at the University of New Hampshire

When:  November and December – dates to be determined

Where:  University of NH, Durham, NH

Each candidate will be encouraged to spend time talking about their plans to ensure every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy, safe, and well educated; and their policies that will support a family friendly workplace and economy.

Here’s What We Need You to Do!!

Tweet the candidates and ask them to participate in an ECMNH/MomsRising/UNH Candidate Forum.

Sample Tweets:

.@marcorubio We want you at an @ECMNH @MomsRising forum on child & family issues in NH http://bit.ly/1GpPaf5 #VoteKids #MomsVote                 (CLICK HERE TO TWEET)

.@hillaryclinton We need your voice on kids & families in an @ECMNH @MomsRising forum in NH http://bit.ly/1GpPaf5 #VoteKids #MomsVote                 (CLICK HERE TO TWEET)

.@martinomalley NH wants to hear your policies on kids & families at an @ECMNH @MomsRising forum http://bit.ly/1GpPaf5 #VoteKids #MomsVote                (CLICK HERE TO TWEET)

.@jebbush Granite Staters want you at an @ECMNH @MomsRising forum on kids & families in NH http://bit.ly/1GpPaf5 #VoteKids #MomsVote                (CLICK HERE TO TWEET)

Candidate Twitter handles:

Hillary Clinton — @hillaryclinton
Martin OMalley — @martinomalley
Bernie Sanders — @berniesanders
Jeb Bush — @jebbush
Ben Carson — @realbencarson
Chris Christie — @chrischristie
Ted Cruz — @tedcruz
Carly Fiorina — @carlyfiorina
Lindsey Graham — @grahamblog
Mike Huckabee — @govmikehuckabee
Bobby Jindal — @bobbyjindal
John Kasich — @johnkasich
George Pataki — @governorpataki
Rand Paul — @randpaul
Marco Rubio — @marcorubio
Rick Santorum — @ricksantorum
Donald Trump — @realdonaldtrump

Please help us to get the candidates talking about the issues that affect children, youth, and families by inviting them to participate in a forum. We’ll be sure to let you know the minute we get a response.

Kuster Announces Support for Legislation to Increase Access to Childcare During Roundtable Discussion with Salem Parents and Early Childhood Education Stakeholders

2015-07-17 Annie KusterSalem, NH – This morning, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) held a roundtable discussion with local stakeholders and staff at Salem Family Resources to discuss their work, and to announce her support for federal legislation to increase access to childcare and early childhood education. The discussion also provided Kuster with a chance to hear from parents, childcare providers, and advocates about how Congress can help support working families with young children, so their thoughts can be included in the Congresswoman’s forthcoming “Working Families Agenda.”

“All across the state, parents are hard at work earning a living for their families. But rising childcare costs are pushing many families over budget,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “We must ensure that we’re supporting working families, and increasing access both to childcare, and to early childhood education – which we all know is so important for developmental growth. During today’s roundtable, I got a chance to hear firsthand from Salem parents, educators, and other stakeholders about how Congress can best support our working families, and I was proud to announce my support for two bills that will help ease the burden on families with young children.”

During the roundtable, Congresswoman Kuster was joined by a number of participants from the early childhood education community to hear about the state of childcare across the district. Parents also shared challenges facing working families, and Kuster will take their feedback back to Washington and incorporate their thoughts into her Working Families Agenda. She also announced her support for two bills to help families better afford the cost of childcare: the Child Tax Credit Permanency Act of 2015 would adjust the Internal Revenue Code to give more families access to the Child Tax Credit and provide inflation adjustments to the $1,000 credit for calendar years after 2013, and the Child Care Access and Refundability Expansion Act of 2015, which would help ensure that middle class families qualify for a larger portion of the Child Tax Credit.

As many New Hampshire families make sacrifices and parents work multiple jobs to make ends meet, Congresswoman Kuster is committed to supporting these families and has long advocated for efforts to strengthen early childhood education. Later this year, she will release a Working Families Agenda, a blueprint that outlines steps Congress should take to support working families across the country. Kuster was proud to host this event, which continued an important dialogue with families in New Hampshire and gave parents a chance to share ideas on policies that could benefit children and their families for years to come.

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Granite State Rumblings: The Strong Start For America’s Children Act

On May 19th a bill to expand quality preschool programs was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate and House. The Strong Start for America’s Children Act was originally introduced in 2013. The 2015 bill was introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, with co-sponsorship from 19 other members of her party. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.).

At the heart of Strong Start for America’s Children is a groundbreaking, 10-year federal-state partnership to boost quality early learning, something that Murray called “one of the smartest investments we can make” in strong schools and our nation.

“As a former preschool teacher, I’ve seen firsthand the transformation that early learning can inspire in a child,” Murray said. “Investing in our youngest learners is critical for children and their families,” and the bill will help families and communities nationwide “gain access to early learning programs and provide their children with the strong educational opportunities that will pay dividends in our future economic growth.”

As Stephanie Schmit outlined in a post for CLASP; both bills would establish a partnership between state and federal governments to equip states to improve and expand high-quality, full-day preschool programs for four-year-olds with the goal of increasing school readiness. Specifically, the Act would advance high-quality, comprehensive early care and education access for young children across the country by:

  • Setting clear expectations for high-quality services, including high staff qualifications and developmentally appropriate and evidence-based curricula and learning environments in high-quality preschool.
  • Providing critical supports to increase the educational attainment of the early childhood workforce.
  • Addressing the needs of low-income working families by allowing schools, Head Start, and child care settings to apply for funds to offer pre-kindergarten, as well as establishing expectations for the provision of full-day services and comprehensive health services.
  • Providing for additional partnerships between Early Head Start and child care programs to ensure that more vulnerable infants, toddlers, and their families have access to the comprehensive early education and family support services that are the hallmark of Head Start.
  • Building on existing state structures by providing funding to help states expand access and improve the quality of existing state pre-kindergarten programs. Because a variety of early education settings are needed to meet the needs of different families, schools, Head Start programs, and community-based child care can compete for resources to provide quality care in communities that need it. States will also have the flexibility to use funds for quality improvements and to serve infants and toddlers.

High-quality early education experiences are widely recognized as key to preparing young children for school success and improving the lifetime employment and earnings of low-income children. It’s now up to members of Congress to move this legislation forward. The Strong Start for America’s Children Act would be transformational for children, families and early childhood systems. It would expand access to high-quality child care and early education services for the youngest, most vulnerable, low-income children and families in the country—providing the strong start that all children need.

Expanding high-quality early childhood education is an issue where Americans from both sides of the political aisle see eye-to-eye. And voters have expressed their overwhelming, bipartisan support for increased federal action, according to a poll by the First Five Years Fund last year.

ml615This bill has the support of more than 70 organizations across the country, including Every Child Matters.

Business leaders, the law enforcement community, brain scientists and economists all agree that early learning is one of the strongest investments we can make as a society.

The Strong Start for America’s Children Act is a critical investment that would provide short-term and long-term economic benefits for states and communities across the nation. We strongly urge Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to come together to pass this important legislation.

Sources: The First Five Years Fund, CLASP, American Federation of Teachers

GROWING UP GRANITE

The following is a piece from NH Public Radio’s weeklong series, The First Decade.

Full-Day Kindergarten Closes Achievement Gap, Yet N.H. Lags Way Behind In Adopting It
By SAM EVANS-BROWN

Kindergarten is a year of transition. Kids are learning how to listen, follow directions, sit still… but while they are making that transition, there’s a lot of mandatory wiggling.

In Mr. Woody’s morning kindergarten class, in Plainfield, a class of students blows off some steam while doing a “wiggle dance.” A stereo plays a children’s song that Mr. Woody sings along to, and the kids giggle and flail.

Mark Woodcock is something of a legend in this town. He’s been at it so long that several of the students in this class are children of his former students. “I am on my second generation here, yes. If I get to the third someone please show me the door, I’ve been too long at the party,” he says laughing.

His half-day program starts with morning circle. The kids take attendance, record the weather, and sharpen their math skills and number sense by counting their days at school. They have library time, they do a lesson on the lifecycle of a frog, they have snack and a bit of free play. To cap it all off, they read a story, also frog-themed.

And then that’s it.

Their three hours are up. The kids run outside to play while they wait for their parents to arrive.

“With three hours, it’s real hard. It’s very stressful,” says Woodcock, “I’m at the point where come May I’m looking at some students and I’m thinking ‘They’re going to first grade! I feel like maybe I haven’t done my job!’”

But that’s about to change.

“I’m over the moon excited about next year. I can balance all of it now, because I have the time now. They can get math and language arts in one day,” he explains, “It also gives me the chance now with a longer day to bring in parts that I’ve dropped off, some of the science, some of the social studies.”

The town of Plainfield voted to go to full-day kindergarten this year. The effort followed a letter-writing campaign led by parent Suzanne Spencer-Rendahl, whose daughter went through half-day kindergarten. At the time, her working schedule made half-day something of a nightmare.

“I had to take her all the way – because there’s not many child-care options in the town – so I would have to take her to Lebanon, drop her off for after-care, and then go to work,” Spencer-Rendahl remembers.

NH Lags Behind In Full-Day K

Plainfield is just the latest district to opt for full-day, and one of nine districts this fall. Next year, there will be more than 90 schools that have chosen to expand their half-day programs.

But compared to the rest of the nation, New Hampshire lags.

A report from Education Week found New Hampshire was second-to-last for attendance at full-day kindergarten. Just 55 percent of kindergarten aged New Hampshire students are in full day programs, compared to 75 percent nationwide. This is in part due to the fact that the state offers funding only for half-day programs, but it’s likely also in part because New Hampshire was the last state to mandate public kindergarten.

Plainfield is not a rich town, but that doesn’t seem to hurt its chances for expanding kindergarten. An analysis done by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies for NHPR finds that districts with high child poverty are more likely to have full-day programs. It found no connection to enrollment trends, property values in towns, or rural versus urban schools.

While many working parents clamor for a longer day, parents as a whole are not a unified block.

“I feel really conflicted about it,” says Emily Twarog who stays home to care for her kids in Plainfield. She baby sits for two others after kindergarten lets out, and says she values the time for unstructured play that her kids get in the afternoon.

“They go to school for a lot of years, and I just enjoy having them home as long as I can,” she says. Twarog says she notices a kind of fatigue in her kids when they are done with class, and thinks a full-day would be too much.

But not every kid is going to a never-ending play-date after school, many parents can’t afford a babysitter or an aftercare program.

“They cost money, so not all kids can get into those programs,” says Mark Woodcock, “and some may be going home with grandparents and they have a quieter day than say kids that are going to another program after me.”

How Much School Is Too Much School?

Chloe Gibbs, a researcher at the University of Virginia, says this question launched her career.

“I really thought it was an open question, do five-year olds really get benefit from being in a classroom for that many hours or are we really keeping them too long past a certain point?” says Gibbs.

But after more than a decade of asking that question, Gibbs says the answer is clear: kids who go to full-day kindergarten do better on tests for years afterward, though other students tend to begin to catch up by fourth grade.

“The effect I find on average is about an additional three, three-and-a-half months of schooling effect,” says Gibbs. That benefit is even higher for kids who come into school with low literacy skills.

Gibbs says full day kindergarten has a bigger impact than smaller class sizes and participation in Head Start programs and it generally costs less.

It seems, in New Hampshire, that’s part of what is convincing towns to extend the day.

Pembroke was one of the first schools in the state to go full-day.

The daily schedule hanging on the wall in Trois Montana’s kindergarten classroom  has more than twice as many classes on it than the one in Plainfield, including separate times for reading, writing, and math. Sitting for an interview during her lunch hour in tiny little chairs at a tiny little table, Montana says she can’t imagine trying to cram her curriculum into a half-day.

“I mean we’ve even seen it where in first grade, they get 8-10 new students from other towns, and most of those kids have had a half-day program and they end up being the low ten percent of the first graders,” she says.

She explains that even those kids that qualify for federally funded Title I programs, which benefit low-income students see a boost. “Those newer kids that came from other towns that had a half-day they’re actually lower than our title kids, so our title kids look incredible! Every single year we see that.”

Keeping up with the Joneses

Pembroke’s kindergarten even attracts parents from neighboring towns who don’t actually live there. Families will sometimes claim they live with a grand-parent or a friend with a Pembroke address to get their kids into a full day program.

That’s certainly what Mr. Woody, the kindergarten teacher up in Plainfield, is hoping for… though he’d like folks to get into to his class through the traditional route.

“Well, we’re hoping we’re going to put together the best dog-gone kindergarten program in the whole Upper Valley, and people are going to be driving down to Plainfield buying up houses left and right, and we’re going to be busting at the seams!” he says, flipping into full kindergarten teacher performance mode.

Some of those families may soon get full-day kindergarten in their own towns. Since 1999, about five schools a year have been expanding their programs, even without funding from the state.

And as towns increasingly find their neighbors have gone to full-day, pressure from parents to keep up with Joneses could be what pushes New Hampshire schools to keep up with the national trend.

Granite State Rumblings: Making The Case for Expanding Head Start Programs 

Image by U.S. Department of Education

Image by U.S. Department of Education


Over the past few months I have been in at least three different venues across the state where the topic of Head

Start has come up. In each of those conversations at least one person has said that Head Start does not work and Congress should do away with it.  They did not say we should fix what they perceive to be wrong with Head Start, just do away with it.

I have to admit I left those places shaking my head and wondering if the people who feel so strongly about doing away with Head Start have spent time in the classrooms with the children, teachers, and parents. If they had they would have seen that every day Head Start programs help children to catch up cognitively, socially, and emotionally with their peers who are higher up on the economic ladder, encourages and celebrates parents as their child’s first teachers, help pregnant women receive the services they need in order to give birth to healthy babies, and puts smiles on the faces and hope in the hearts of children and their families.

Young children living in poverty are more likely to face challenges that can negatively impact their development and create disparities in their cognitive and social abilities well before they enter Head Start or pre-school programs at age 4. In an effort to ensure that all young children have the same opportunities to succeed in school and life, the federal Early Head Start program was created to support the healthy development of low-income infants, toddlers, and pregnant women.

Research shows that Early Head Start makes a positive difference in areas associated with children’s success in school, family self-sufficiency, and parental support of child development, but federal funds are reaching fewer than 4% of eligible children and families. Children who participated in Early Head Start had significantly larger vocabularies and scored higher on standardized measures of cognitive development than children in a control group who did not participate in Early Head Start. Additionally, Early Head Start children and parents had more positive interactions, and these parents provided more support for learning than did those in a control group. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Making a Difference in the Lives of Infants and Toddlers and Their Families).

In addition to early learning opportunities, Head Start and Early Head Start’s comprehensive early childhood development programs provide children and families with access to a range of services such as health screenings, referrals and follow-up support, parenting resources, and social services. Programs emphasize the importance of parental involvement and staff work to cultivate parents’ abilities as their children’s first teachers.

So you may ask, if Head Start and Early Head Start provides all of this for children and their families, why do some people want to get rid of it? 

The answer to that may come down to this word: fadeout.

Our friends at The First Five Years Fund have this to say about the Head Start Fadeout Myth.

Head Start Fadeout, a common argument against investing in early childhood education, is based on a highly selective read of research findings found in Head Start evaluations and, to a lesser extent, the Perry Preschool project.

Critics argue that gains made through early childhood education disappear by the third grade. They acknowledge that disadvantaged children who received early education arrive at kindergarten ahead of peers who did not, but use third grade evaluations to claim there is no lasting effect to justify the investment.

A measurement of progress in the third grade is not a measurement of life outcomes. It’s simply a snapshot in time—and an incomplete one at that.

Research from many studies—including those cited by fadeout critics—overwhelmingly show that the benefits of early childhood education become more evident throughout schooling and adult life. There is no fadeout; there is constant, steady movement into upward mobility.

Disadvantaged children who receive quality early childhood education are more likely to persist in school, enjoy better career outcomes, higher wages and healthier lifestyles. These findings can be found in analysis of the Perry Preschool Project and Abecedarian in the United States, as well as the British Cohort Study in Great Britain, all of which are randomized control studies with longitudinal data that spans upwards of 35 years.

We’ll take 35 years of evidence over three any time.

The fadeout myth comes from an incomplete read of data and a narrow view of what constitutes success.

For example, the Perry Preschool Project has been criticized for not permanently increasing IQ among the treatment group. IQ gains that are evident at kindergarten among the treatment group tend to equalize with the control group during schooling years.

However, IQ is not the only measure of success in an individual. Nobel Laureate Economist James Heckman found that the social and emotional skills learned through early childhood education were the major drivers of success in school, career and life among the Perry treatment group, who far outperform the control group in adult outcomes.

Similarly, the 2012 National Head Start Impact Study shows achievement among the treatment group equalizing with the control group by third grade. In this case, the Impact Study was flawed because many in the control group were allowed to attend other preschool programs, including Head Start programs in other locations. We may be seeing parity here because we’re comparing children with similar experiences.

Heckman says that using the Head Start Impact Study to claim that early childhood education is ineffective is “a generalized conclusion that is neither thoughtful nor accurate.” (Read more of his analysis here.) Heckman also finds that “Head Start graduates tend to be more persistent in their education, more inclined to healthy behaviors, and less inclined to be involved in criminal activity.”

“Head Start is by no means perfect, but that should not rule out efforts to improve the program’s quality and surround it with other high-quality birth-to-five programs that will deliver better outcomes for children, families and society.” – James Heckman


In May of 1965, President Lyndon Johnson announced Project Head Start. Head Start was part of Johnson’s War on Poverty, which embodied a basic belief that education was the solution to poverty.

It began as an 8 week demonstration project.

In 1977, under the Carter administration, Head Start began bilingual and bicultural programs in about 21 states. Eighteen years later, in1995 under the Clinton administration, the first Early Head Start grants were given to provide high quality child development and family services to income eligible pregnant women and families of very young children.

Head Start was most recently reauthorized again in 2007, under the George W. Bush administration, with several provisions to strengthen Head Start quality.  The statute also included a provision that regulations be promulgated to move programs from an indefinite project period to a five-year grant cycle. In 2009, under the Obama administration, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act added more than 64,000 slots for Early Head Start and Head Start programs.

Sequestration had a major impact on Head Start in 2013. The Office of Head Start reported that approximately 57,000 children were cut from Head Start programs nationwide because of sequestration. In addition to turning away those 57,000 children, Head Start programs were forced to

  • Cut 1.3 million days of service
  • Provide 18,000 fewer hours of service through shortened school days
  • Terminate or reduce salaries of 18,000 employees

In January of 2014 President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. This Act included $8,598,095,000 for programs under the Head Start Act, representing an increase of approximately $1.025 billion over the fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding level.

The approximately $1.025 billion increase restored the 5.27 percent reduction from sequestration and provided all grantees with a 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The FY 2014 funding level also included $500 million for expansion through the Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership to support communities in expanding high-quality early learning and development opportunities for infants and toddlers.

State funding for Head Start was eliminated by the NH Legislature in the 2010.

In recent years, Head Start has served as a successful, comprehensive model for states in developing high quality pre-kindergarten systems. Additionally, Head Start’s unique shared governance structure provides a model to promote meaningful partnerships with families. Each program has a Policy Council that includes parents of children in the program and makes policy decisions together with staff.

Most children in New Hampshire Head Start programs attend 5 days a week for part of the day. Children and families receive an array of comprehensive supports and services. The top two services families receive are parenting and health education.

Pregnant women also receive a variety of supports and services. Included are coordination of prenatal and postpartum health care, dental and mental health services and follow up (substance abuse prevention and treatment), prenatal education on fetal development, information on the benefits of breastfeeding, emergency/crisis intervention, and others.

In New Hampshire, Head Start grew from 1,267 enrolled children in 1997 to more than 2,000 children (cumulative) enrolled today. New Hampshire is funded to serve 1,618 children and their families at any given time, but actual enrollment can be higher. However, far too many eligible children are not served due to lack of funding:

  • Nationally, it is estimated that Head Start serves less than 43% of eligible children and their families, and Early Head Start serves less than 4% of eligible infants and toddlers. 
  • New Hampshire Head Start serves only about 18% of eligible children aged birth to five years and their families.

Here is some more NH specific information from the 2013-2014 Program Information Report (PIR):

  • Cumulative Enrollment of Children by Age – Total 2,027    
    • Less than 1 Year Old – 139
    • 1 Year Old – 161
    • 2 Years Old – 185
    • 3 Years Old – 693
    • 4 Years Old – 849
  • Total Classes Operated – 87
  • Homeless Children Served – 175
  • Foster Care Children Served – 38
  • Child Welfare Agency Referral Children Served – 52
  • Number of Programs Providing Transportation – 2
  • Children with Health Insurance (at end of enrollment year) – 1,995
  • Children without Health Insurance (at end of enrollment year) – 32
  • Total Number of Families – 1,868
    • Two Parent Families – 795
    • Single Parent Families – 1,073

Recent research has shown what the Head Start community has long observed: Head Start works! Not only does it promote gains in children’s learning and development, Head Start also is associated with improved children’s health, promotes family self-sufficiency, and is cost effective.

Has Head Start had an impact on your life?  We would love to hear your story to share with others.

AFT’s Weingarten on White House Summit on Early Childhood Education

WASHINGTON –American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten participated in a panel today at the White House Summit on Early Childhood Education, where President Barack Obama announced more than $1 billion in public and private spending on early learning programs, including roughly $700 million in already appropriated federal funds.

Following is a statement from Weingarten on behalf of AFT, which represents more than 90,000 early childhood educators in every type of early learning setting across the country:

“Access to high-quality early childhood care and education is key to giving all children a running start. High-quality early learning not only helps to bridge the achievement gap for low-income children, but it’s also a strong economic investment in our nation’s future. As President Obama mentioned today, every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood programs saves us up to eight dollars in the future.

“The most important determinant of a high-quality early learning program is the educator who nurtures, guides and educates our children. Right now, many early educators aren’t getting a living wage. Nearly half rely on public assistance, costing taxpayers $2.4 billion annually. That’s why it’s vital that we give the early child care workforce the resources, working conditions and wages they need to help put our nation’s early learners on a path to success.

“We are proud to work with the White House on this important effort, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that all children have access to high-quality early childhood education. As these public and private partners commit to invest in early childhood education today, we hope that they will invest in the educators who are giving our nation’s early learners a strong start on life.”

Granite State Rumblings: The High Cost Of Child Care Hurts Working Families

A new report on the cost of child care was released last week. Child Care Aware of America’s 2014 report, Parents and the High Cost of Child Care, summarizes the cost of child care across the country, examines the importance of child care as a workforce support and as an early learning program, and explores the effect of high costs on families’ child care options. This year’s report continues to expose child care as one of the most significant expenses in a family budget, often exceeding the cost of housing, college tuition, transportation or food.

The high cost of child care can be a crippling burden for families with young children. The Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2014 report not only examines the high cost of care, but investigates potential solutions for providing high-quality child care to families who need it at a cost that they can afford.

The following is the report’s Executive Summary. You can download the full report here.

Child Care in America
Nearly 11 million children under the age of five across the nation require child care services each week. High-quality child care not only helps parents to be more productive at work, but also provides benefits to young children, including improving school readiness.

This section details common child care settings, the economic benefits of high- quality child care for parents and their employers, and the developmental and educational benefits of high-quality child care for young children.

Why Child Care Costs Are High
Child care and early education is a labor- intensive industry which leads to high costs for families, despite the fact that child care workers are among the lowest paid professionals nationwide.

This section explores the costs that child care providers bear, including the inputs needed to provide high-quality child care and the necessary state regulations that providers must meet.

Average Cost in the States
The cost of child care varies widely across states, and the cost of living in each state also affects the affordability of child care for families. In order to compare the cost of child care across states, we examine the average cost of care in each state in relation to the state median income for married couples with children and the state median income for single mothers.

Using this method, this section ranks the top ten least affordable states for center-based child care at each age level, including infant care, four-year-old child care, and before and after school care for a school-age child.

Child Care and the Family Budget
Child care costs consume a major portion of family expenses. Average expenses for child care can rival expenses for housing, transportation, and even tuition and fees for public colleges. The high cost of child care can be particularly difficult for low-income families and single parents. Across all 50 states, the cost of center-based infant care averaged over 40 percent of the state median income for single mothers.

In this section, we examine how the cost of child care compares to other family expenses, including housing, transportation, food, and college tuition. Additionally, we examine the high relative cost of child care for families at the poverty level.

Paying for Child Care
Families bear the majority of the burden for child care costs. While some public funding is available for child care, the incomplete patchwork of support often does not provide enough assistance for families, who may opt to place their child in an informal or unlicensed child care setting due to the high cost of high-quality care.

This section details the various sources of child care funding, including families, federal funding, income tax credits, and other sources.

Expanding Access to Quality Affordable Child Care
Funding high-quality child care services is a national concern for government, business leaders, and families alike.

In this section, we explore creative solutions to the high cost of child care, including building an environment for child care providers that encourages and supports high- quality practices and involving businesses in the creation of child care solutions for their employees and communities. The section also details strategies to support individual families in accessing high-quality child care.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Considering the findings of this report, Child Care Aware recommends:

➢    The commencement of a national discussion about the impact of the high cost of child care and the cost of quality in child care. This conversation should explore federal and state options; innovative, low-cost solutions that have shown success; what has worked in other industries; and what models currently exist within communities that have seen success.

➢    Congress require the National Academy of Sciences to produce a study on the true cost of quality child care and to offer recommendations to Congress for financing that supports families in accessing affordable, quality child care.

➢    Congress review and consider what policy options are available to help families offset the rising cost of child care, including, but not limited to raising dependent care limits for deductions or providing additional tax credits for families and providers, creating public- private partnerships, and looking to existing states with successful financing models.

➢    Federal and state governments commit to investing in early care and education programs, especially considering the recent historical progress at the federal level towards ensuring all children in low-income, working families have access to affordable, quality child care.

The full list of recommendations are detailed further in the concluding section of this report.

Growing Up Granite

When I began as a classroom teacher in the field of Early Childhood Education thirty years ago, most teachers at center-based programs were only making minimum wage or slightly above it with little to nothing in the way of benefits. A good portion of the child care workers were also single mothers struggling to get by on meager wages. And turnover was high.

When I became a center director ten years later, little to nothing had changed, except my awareness of this pervasive issue. The desire to increase the wages of staff was hampered by the ability to afford such an increase without increasing the parents’ tuition. But tuition increases first went to operating costs such as oil to heat the building, utility increases, program supplies, and building maintenance and then whatever was left over could go to staff. Usually it was very small if anything at all.

The National Child Care Staffing Study (NCCSS), released in 1989, brought national attention for the first time to poverty-level wages and high turnover among early childhood teaching staff, and to the adverse consequences for children of such staffing instability. In the succeeding 25 years, the national debate about the role of early care and education (ECE) in children’s lives has shifted dramatically—above all, due to a recognition up to the highest levels of government that high-quality early learning boosts children’s school readiness, and constitutes a wise economic investment in the nation’s future.

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment recently released a follow-up to its National Child Care Staffing Study. Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Early Childhood Workforce 25 Years After the National Child Care Staffing Study compiles evidence from multiple sources to provide a portrait of the early childhood teaching workforce today in comparison to 25 years ago. The report examines trends in center-based teachers’ education, wages and turnover, as well as new evidence examining economic insecurity and use of public benefits among this predominantly female, ethnically diverse workforce.

Inadequate Wages and Wage Structure
Despite a nearly two-fold increase in costs to parents for early childhood services since 1997, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, childcare workers have experienced no increase in real earnings since this time. Those who work as preschool teachers have fared somewhat better; their wages have increased by 15 percent in constant dollars since 1997. And, as was true in 1989, childcare workers still earn less than adults who take care of animals, and barely more than fast food cooks.

Lack of Premium for Educational Attainment
The disparities in wages of early childhood teachers in comparison to teachers of older children and others in the civilian labor force with comparable education are striking – a pattern that has endured over the last 25 years despite increases in earnings for some segments of the early childhood workforce. Preschool teachers with equivalent education earn about 60 percent of what kindergarten teachers earn.

Economic Insecurity
More than 600 center-based teaching staff surveyed in one state expressed worry about their family’s economic well-being, as well as about workplace policies that influenced their earnings. Importantly, these staff, nearly one-half of whom had an associate or higher degree, were employed in a relatively high quality sample of centers that included for-profit, non-profit, Head Start, and public pre-K programs.

Utilization of Public Support
In 2012, nearly one-half (46 percent) of childcare workers, compared to 25 percent of the U.S. workforce, resided in families enrolled in at least one of four public support programs: the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Participation rates in public support programs varied little by whether childcare workers were employed full- or part-time, but rates varied considerably by childcare worker wage level. Childcare workers who earned less than the proposed $10.10 federal minimum wage were 1.5 times more likely to reside in families participating in public support programs than were those in which the childcare worker earned more than $10.10 per hour.

At every level of worker education, participation in public support programs was higher for childcare worker families than for the families of all other U.S. workers with comparable education, again revealing the low premium placed on education within this workforce. Participation rates in public support programs were highest among single parent childcare workers and among workers with at least one child under five years old. The estimated cost of reliance on public benefits by child care workers and their families is approximately $ 2.4 billion per year.

These are exciting times for the field as developmental scientists, economists, and business leaders have lent early care and education a prominent position on this landscape in shaping children’s development and, ultimately, the health of the economy.

We are hearing about the importance of early childhood education from the White House to our State House, from economists to CEOs, from government agencies to local agencies, and from parent to parent-to-be.

As the report states in the Executive Summary:

This reality calls for a major restructuring of how we finance and deliver early care and education in the United States. We need, in the words of the 1990s Worthy Wage Campaign, to find a “much better” and “more equitable” way to help parents pay and to attract teachers and help them stay – something that our Department of Defense, a handful of state pre-K programs, and most other industrialized nations, have managed to accomplish. It is our hope that the new evidence reported here will spur the nation to not only aspire to, but to achieve livable, equitable, and dependable wages for early childhood teachers, of whom we expect so much, but to whom we still provide so little.

Image Children in preschool (Flickr US Army)

Senator Shaheen Meets With National Education Advocates From NH On Capitol Hill

Senator Shaheen and Early Learning N.H. Executive Director Jackie Cowell

Senator Shaheen and Early Learning N.H. Executive Director Jackie Cowell

At roundtable discussion, Shaheen stresses importance of investments in early childhood education

(Washington, DC) ­–U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) participated in a roundtable discussion today on Capitol Hill with New Hampshire and national education advocates and experts to address policy issues and priorities on early childhood education. Shaheen hosted Early Learning New Hampshire Executive Director Jackie Cowell at a Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee discussion, which focused on expanding access to high-quality early-learning opportunities and coincided with Week of the Young Child.

“There is no more important or effective investment in our future and our children than education, particularly in their early years,” Shaheen said. “We should all work together to make sure all children in New Hampshire and around the country have accessible, quality early childhood education that will help them form a solid foundation for their life and become productive members of society.”

Many economists note that for every dollar invested in quality early childhood education, up to $17 is realized in return in the form of economic impact.

Throughout her career, Shaheen has made it a priority to expand opportunities for young children. As Governor, she expanded public kindergarten for tens of thousands of New Hampshire children. To increase awareness about the importance of early learning, she also launched a comprehensive statewide campaign that brought the business community to the table for the first time to create the Business Partners for Early Learning. The program fostered business involvement at the state, regional, and local levels in strategies to improve the quality, accessibility, and affordability of early care and education.

Since arriving in the Senate, Shaheen has also supported efforts to bolster Head Start programs, which promote school readiness among America’s low-income children, and other investments in early childhood education to help working families. Recently, Shaheen supported legislation in the Senate to reauthorize, reform and revitalize the child care and development block grant program (CCDBG) to assist working families with the cost of child care and promote the healthy development of children and middle-class families.

Granite State Rumblings: The Importance Of Investing In Early Childhood Education Programs

Image by Cole24_ FLICKR

Image by Cole24_ FLICKR

This is the Week of the Young Child, an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The purpose of the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) is to focus public attention on the importance of early learning and to celebrate the early childhood programs, teachers, and policies that deliver early childhood education to young children.

NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. The Week of the Young Child is a time to plan how we—as citizens of a community, of a state, and of a nation—will better meet the needs of all young children and their families. The theme this year is Early Years are Learning Years.

Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers. But today, statistics show that children are spending more time in child care programs than ever before. Parents and caregivers both play an important role in the development of children.

Whether the caregiver is a relative, neighbor or child care provider, the person responsible for direct child care is shaping the experiences that encourage the brain to develop. Every caregiver is a potential source of love, learning, comfort and stimulation. Research has shown that children who receive nurturing care in quality early childhood programs have a better chance at learning success.

New research has led to important discoveries of how the brain develops. By the time a baby is born, he or she will have 100 billion brain cells. These brain cells are not yet connected in networks necessary for learning. Through a variety of experiences, the networks develop and the brain is literally wired for learning. A child’s early experiences are critical to the learning process because brain development is nonstop. This is one reason why quality child care is so important.

It also makes economic good sense. Researchers have found that every dollar invested in Early Childhood Education can produce savings of $8 – $14 dollars to the program participants and society as a whole.

GROWING UP GRANITE

Have you heard of Watch Me Grow?

The following information is from their website.

Watch Me Grow is coordinated by the NH Department of Health and Human Services and the WMG Steering Committee, which includes representatives from state agencies and public and private organizations. WMG locations and their partners throughout the state offer screening activities to families.

Watch Me Grow (WMG) helps New Hampshire families to ensure their child’s brightest future by tracking his or her growth and development. It is New Hampshire’s developmental screening, referral and information system for families of children ages birth to six years.

It offers families:

  • Information about children’s health and development
  • Developmental screening questionnaires based on the child’s age
  • Tips on how to help children grow and learn
  • Timely connections to appropriate services, supports, and resources when needed.

The Watch Me Grow developmental screening system provides high quality, accessible and coordinated developmental screening, information and referral services and supports to New Hampshire families of young children (birth to 6 years), ensuring that children have opportunities to reach their maximum potential.

What is Developmental Screening?

Like a yardstick for measuring height, developmental screening is a tool that helps families measure their children’s development through the early years, including:

  1. How children use their hands, bodies, and senses (motor skills).
  2. How children think and solve problems (cognitive skills).
  3. How children use language – speaking, listening, and understanding communication skills).
  4. How children express their emotions and relate to others (social and emotional skills).
  5. How children help take care of their own needs, like feeding and dressing (personal).

Developmental screening is important for all young children. We know that children grow and learn at their own rate, but it’s still important to assure that they are developing as expected. Developmental screening is a fast and fun way to:

  • Make sure children are on track;
  • Learn about what’s coming next in a child’s development;
  • Discover new ways to help children grow and learn.

To get a screening questionnaire, NH families can call The Family Resource Connection at (603) 271-1188, or toll-free from within NH at (800) 298-4321 or click this link to find a location near you.

Pres. Obama’s Budget Puts Working Families And Education First

President Obama released his 2015 budget last week. He calls it “A Roadmap for Growth, Opportunity, and Fiscal Responsibility.”

Image by Pete Souza White House Images

Image by Pete Souza White House Images

The White House says that “the Budget adheres to the 2015 spending levels agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act and shows the choices the President would make at those levels.  But it also shows how to build on this progress to realize the nation’s full potential with a fully paid for $56 billion Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, split evenly between defense and non-defense priorities.”

In this budget he outlines very clearly his priorities for investments in workforce development, education and training, early childhood and family support programs, youth programs, and employment generation.

From our friends at CLASP, here is a breakdown of some of the elements of the President’s budget that make up the components of an integrated, multi-faceted anti-poverty agenda:

Child Care and Early Education
The President reaffirmed his commitment to expanding high-quality early learning for all young children by proposing investments across birth to five programs in the Departments of Health and Human Services and Education, including child care, home visiting, Head Start and Early Head Start, and pre-kindergarten.  The President called again for his Preschool for All plan proposed in last year’s budget. This includes preschool services for all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds and an expansion of voluntary home visiting programs financed by an increase in the federal tobacco tax as well as other expansions divided between the base budget and the Opportunity Growth and Security Initiative.

Job Quality, Paid Family Leave, Working Conditions
President Obama’s budget proposal sends a strong endorsement of policies that support working families.  The budget reiterates the President’s support of legislation to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 as soon as possible. He recommends a total of $105 million to support a State Paid Leave Fund, with $100 million in the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative and $5 million in the base budget for the paid leave fund. The base budget also strengthens enforcement of existing laws, including the unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), minimum wage, and overtime laws, by calling for an increase of more than $41 million for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Earned Income Tax Credit
The President proposes expanding and strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income childless workers, including non-custodial parents. His budget doubles the maximum credit for childless workers to about $1,000 and increases the income limit to qualify for the credit from less than $15,000 to $18,000. In addition, the President proposes to make the EITC available for young workers age 21 and over (currently it is only available to workers age 25-65) and older workers up to age 67, consistent with the rising Social Security full retirement age. The proposed changes would have a significant impact on low-income workers who do not currently have access to the EITC. The EITC expansion is recommended in the base budget; because it is a tax provision, it does not have to fit under the discretionary caps – but these changes would require the passage of legislation through Congress.

Workforce Training and Skill Development
The President’s budget also calls for new investments that prepare people for jobs in demand and put unemployed people back to work. His Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative includes $750 million to restore recent cuts to Workforce Investment Act formula grants to states, increase support for research and innovation, and make targeted investments in programs that serve individuals with barriers to employment. It also includes $1.5 billion for the first year of a four-year Community College Job-Driven Training Fund, which will provide competitive grants designed to increase the number of training programs and apprenticeships supported by employers and focused on jobs in demand. In addition, the proposal includes $125 million (in addition to $25 million in the base budget request) to expand the research-based Jobs Plus model, which connects public housing residents with jobs and training.  The proposal also envisions $20 million for Skills Challenge grants to support and implement bridge strategies and other models that integrate basic skills preparation with occupational skills training.

Higher Education
The budget reaffirms the President’s commitment to making college affordable and increasing the number of Americans with a postsecondary credential. It allows the maximum Pell Grant to increase to $5,830 for the 2015-2016 academic year and takes steps to shore up the program’s funding gap in future years. It restores federal student aid for students without a high school diploma in career pathway programs who are able to demonstrate their ability to benefit from postsecondary education. These career pathway programs, which include bridge programs and co-enrollment approaches, help low-income, low-skilled adults and out-of-school youth improve their basic skills while simultaneously working toward a postsecondary credential in a high-demand industry or sector. The budget also simplifies income-based repayment options to one single plan and extends it to all student borrowers. Two new programs included in the budget are the College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus, a mandatory funding proposal that would provide $7 billion to reward colleges that successfully enroll and graduate a significant number of low- and moderate-income students on time; and the State Higher Education Performance Fund, a $4 billion competitive grant program to encourage and support systemic efforts to improve college attainment and affordability, especially for low-income students. Finally, the budget requests a permanent extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and prevents the taxation of Pell Grants.

Job Creation
The budget includes several provisions to expand the availability of subsidized employment for unemployed and disadvantaged workers.  These include a proposed $2.5 billion in mandatory funding for Summer Jobs Plus, which will fund summer and year-round job opportunities for 600,000 youth as well as innovation grants aimed at improving skills and career options for disadvantaged youth, and a plan to shift $602 million from the TANF contingency fund to support state-subsidized employment programs for low-income individuals.  Subsidized employment was shown to be an effective and well-received strategy when funding was available under the TANF Emergency Fund. Because these proposals are in line items that are in the “mandatory” rather than “discretionary” category in the federal budget, they do not have to fit under the cap – but they would require additional legislation beyond the budget to be enacted.

Disadvantaged and Disconnected Youth
Of significant importance is the Administration’s continued focus on equity and opportunity for disconnected and disadvantaged youth and students of color – advancing positive outcomes for young people, elevating effective practice, as well as addressing the federal government’s role in improving its administration of the range of programs through which young people are served.  The budget includes a new $300 million Race to the Top Equity and Opportunity competition centered on increasing the academic performance of high-need students and closing the achievement gap. This competition is based on recommendations from the Equity and Excellence Commission’s report, “For Each and Every Child.”  Through the Performance Partnership Pilots Initiative, the budget request builds on the newly established initiative authorized in the 2014 appropriations act – designed to enhance administrative flexibility to improve outcomes and accountability for disconnected youth.  The budget also acknowledges the President’s recent launch of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative that will charge an interagency task force to evaluate public and private efforts that are working for young men of color, gauge how to expand effective interventions, and address how Federal policies and programs can better support the overall development of young men of color.

Pay for Success
President Obama continues to signal his Administration’s interest in and support for “pay-for-success” models under which private investors provide up-front funding for preventive services and are paid by government agencies only if and when the programs achieve desired outcomes.  The budget re-proposes a $300 million pay-for-success fund at the Treasury department to support state and local initiatives, as well as approval to support such efforts with existing funding in areas including job training, education, criminal justice, and housing.

While I applaud the President for putting forth a budget that proposes ending sequestration cuts in 2015 and 2016, strengthens programs for children and families, will reduce inequality, and strengthen the economy, I am disappointed that he did not include funding to overturn the two recent cuts to SNAP (food stamps), and he makes a deep cut to the LIHEAP (heating assistance) program.

Congress will be working on their 2015 spending bills. Let’s hope that they include many of the President’s proposals.

GROWING UP GRANITE

Here is a more detailed look at what the President has proposed for improving the health, education, and safety of America’s children and youth.

They include:

  • The Preschool for All initiative, a partnership with the states, to provide all low- and moderate-income four-year-olds 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.
  • Access to high-quality infant and toddler care to a total of more than 100,000 children through Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and support of Head Start grantees who are expanding program duration and investing in teacher quality, through additional funding in the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative.
  • An expansion of 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, ability to learn, and to prevent abuse and neglect.
  • A substantial commitment to both maintain the number of children served by the Child Care Development Fund and improve the quality of care, with sufficient mandatory funding to support more than 1.4 million children for a full ten years while investing in significant quality improvements.
  • Help for 100,000 teachers in 500 districts to make effective use of new broadband connectivity as the Administration works to achieve the President’s goal of connecting 99 percent of American students to the digital age through broadband and wireless in schools and libraries.
  • A modernization of the Child Support Enforcement Program, which touches the lives of one-quarter of the Nation’s children and helps secure contributions toward their financial and emotional well-being from non-custodial parents.
  • $299 million for the Justice Department’s Juvenile Justice Programs which include evidence-based investments to prevent youth violence.
  • The ongoing implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 with an increased investment of $35 million in school equipment grants to aid in the provision of healthy meals and continued support for other school-based resources.
  • $20 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program to help more than 2.2 million low-income families afford decent housing in neighborhoods of their choice.
  • A strengthening of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by providing tools to States, Territories, and the Federal Government to fight fraud, waste, and abuse, and make it easier for eligible children to get and maintain coverage. The Budget also includes other program improvements aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness as States expand Medicaid.

Congress needs to act on the budget and give each proposal an up or down vote. Click here to contact your Member of Congress and tell them to support the children and youth initiatives in the President’s budget.

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