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"Three Questions" with Heather Briccetti, President & CEO of the Business Council of New York State:
High-quality child care supports and strengthens families by allowing parents to work while providing educational opportunities in safe spaces for children. Yet 2/3 of New Yorkers live in child care deserts, where the need for care far outweighs the number of programs/providers. Even when programs exist, the cost of care in our State is amongst the highest in the nation, making it unaffordable for many, especially the working poor.
PCANY supports increasing funding for childcare subsidies while exploring creative ways to expand access to high-quality early childhood education. We are proud to serve on the Governor’s Child Care Availability Task Force with Heather Briccetti.
What is the BCNYS’s general position on child care?
Access to affordable, high-quality child care is a critical requirement for parents to participate in the workforce and to support their families. The lack of affordable child care keeps many women out of the workforce entirely and often affects the ability for both parents to be fully employed. The economic impact of the lack of access to
child care is estimated to be a loss in the billions of dollars, both by employers and in tax revenue to the State.
The Business Council supports programs and policies that will improve access to high-quality child care across the State. While subsidies are a part of the equation, there is still a tremendous shortage of access across the board, even for families who do have some ability to pay for it. This challenge will require creative solutions beyond subsidies, and we believe there is an opportunity to approach the challenge with bold new ideas that may even shake up the system. The current funding mechanisms in the system are overly complex and are not adequately serving the needs of families.
What role can the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) play in expanding access to high-quality programs? What can independent businesses do?
I’m not sure the REDCs are equipped to address the issue on their own, but there may be an opportunity for them to assess local child care needs and see if there could be a consortium of local employers willing to provide resources to support a child care center for the regional workforce. Across the State, there are exponentially more small businesses than large, and any small business on their own isn’t equipped to address their employees’ child care needs. Employers could begin to have conversations with other regional businesses and child care providers to see what types of existing resources could be leveraged, and what new resources would be needed to adequately address local needs.
How can NYS better support the child care workforce, who are often undercompensated?
There needs to be a cost estimate to determine the true cost of high-quality child care programs with well- educated staff who are adequately compensated. Currently, we know what it costs to subsidize programs at rates that lead to undercompensated staff in which child care business owners can still barely remain open. If you’re a child care business owner receiving subsidies that barely allow you to keep the doors open, you
certainly can’t afford to increase wages of even the best employees.
We have to start with knowing what the cost of a high-quality child care program is and then examine some of the current public funding mechanisms to support them. The complex web of public funding for child care doesn’t make this a simple task, but if enough people are committed to truly coming up with solutions, there could be the political will to make changes in the system that will benefit more New York families, and in turn the State’s economy.
During the tail end of May and throughout June, PCANY has worked diligently on an initiative to instill a “trauma-informed” legislature. Jenn O’Connor, Director of Policy and
Advocacy, and Margaret Dickson, Marist intern, have arranged and participated in 28 meetings with various legislative offices thus far, with approximately 25 more meetings planned before the end of June. The number of meetings secured is staggering, as the end of session has proven to be a busy time at the NYS Capitol! Arrangements for meetings will continue throughout the rest of the year, ambitiously resulting in meetings with 214 legislative offices!
The meetings are intended to educate legislators (Assembly Members and Senators) and legislative staff about the influence of childhood trauma, particularly Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) upon the overall success of a child, physiologically and psychologically. Educational packets detail ACEs in tandem with protective factors, and include a list of definitions, a resource PCANY urges legislators to utilize when drafting bills or memos in an effort to ensure usage of correct language. Responses have been positive, often transitioning to a conversation about personal experiences, anecdotes about divorce or observations about friends who matured in an unstable home. Numerous staffers have inquired about how to implement ACEs knowledge within legislation, or have identified possible education reform, recognizing the role ACEs play in the disruption of the school day. These conversations have been supplemented by the underlying biological research about the nervous system, and the influence prolonged arousal of the sympathetic nervous system (“Fight or Flight” mechanism) has upon hyperactivity and aggression. This point of conversation has been utilized to discern the difference between ACEs and toxic stress, simultaneously illustrating the interconnectedness of the phenomenons.
Ultimately, the initiative has sparked a broader conversation about childhood trauma, introducing new ideas about how to intercept a child acting out earlier in life and educating those unfamiliar with the topics. PCANY looks forward to upcoming legislation that addresses the impact of ACEs upon a child, mitigating these effects and ensuring an overall more successful, healthy individual.
The PCANY Training and Staff Development Team held their annual Advanced Day trainings for Program Managers and Supervisors throughout NYS this spring. Developed by the team, the training focused on the HFA Service Plan, a road map for Healthy Families New York services, and included many interactive elements. More than 75 program staff took part in the training that will assist them to:
- Work with staff to reduce family risk factors, promote protective factors and support healthy parent-child relationships.
- Connect the Parent Survey to Service Planning.
- Utilize the Service Plan tool as a blueprint for on-going HFNY services.
- Plan and develop strategies for implementing the Service Plan through supervision.
- Train their teams on the purpose and use of the Service Plan.
Overall, the training was a huge success. Feedback included that staff appreciated the time to connect with others in their roles in different parts of the state, learn from each other some new and creative “tips and tricks” to service planning, and collect more intervention strategies.
The HFNY network now has a better understanding of the recently released HFA Service Plan and is looking forward to integrating it into their work with families to achieve success.
To locate a HFNY home visiting program near you please visit http:/www.healthyfamiliesnewyork.org
Prevent Child Abuse NY Staff attended the Cost of Inequity Conference hosted by the Early Care & Learning Council (ECLC) on June 13, 2019 in Latham, New York. Our staff enjoyed hearing from the keynote speaker, Dr. Walter Gilliam and his research on early childhood and preschool educator experiences. PCANY would like to thank ECLC for having us attend the event and be a part of the discussion.
PCANY Staffers Brittany Enekes and Melody Tien at the Cost of Inequity Conference
“Three Questions” with Misha Marvel, Child Nutrition Program Specialist, Hunger Solutions:
Most of us have heard of WIC, but can you share how the WIC program supports families?
Good nutrition during pregnancy and in the first years of a child’s life is very important. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy food, breastfeeding support, nutrition counseling, and referrals to other services that can help women and young children in need. WIC is for pregnant women, postpartum moms, breastfeeding moms and children up to their 5th birthday. Dads, grandparents, and caregivers, including foster parents, can also apply for children in their care. Research has found women who use WIC while pregnant have healthier births, reduced infant mortality and better infant feeding practices. It has also shown that children on WIC have diets that are more nutritious, which helps them do better in school. WIC can improve lifetime health for women, their infants, and young children, and many moms don’t even know they are eligible!
We hear there’s a new way to shop with WIC now. Can you help us understand?
It’s true; shopping just got easier with eWIC! WIC benefits are now given electronically on an eWIC card account instead of paper checks. Parents and caregivers can use their eWIC card just like a debit card at the WIC-approved store’s register to buy their WIC-approved foods. These foods can also be purchased in more than one shopping trip, and when it works best for them. Participants just need to be sure to use all of their benefits before they expire on the last day of their 30 day benefit cycle. WIC participants can also download and use the free WIC2Go app on their smartphone. WIC2Go helps participants find WIC-approved stores, and WIC Clinics, scan foods at the market to see if they are WIC-approved, check their WIC benefit balance, and view their next
What would be the next step for someone who thinks they would benefit from WIC services?
In 20 counties across the state, the WIC Help New York program can help. WIC Help Specialists provide one-on-one services to connect potential applicants to the WIC program. Specialists can tell someone if they may be eligible, and help them set up and prepare for their first appointment at a WIC clinic near them. It is free and confidential. Outside of the 20 counties where WIC Help Specialists are located, anyone can call the Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1-800-522-5006 and ask for help with WIC.
The HVCI continued its webinar series in May with presentations on the Pyramid Model, Aspire (NYS’s early childhood workforce registry) and maternal depression. You can view the archived recordings at www.nyshomevisitcoord.com.
June 12 at 10:00:
Understanding Infant Mental Health (two parts)
Part I: This one-hour webinar will provide an overview of infant mental health—what it is, what to expect, and how to teach parents about social-emotional development. Presenter: Laura Krug (Zero to Three/HealthySteps)
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6229360486372895490
Webinar ID: 679-135-579
June 19 at 10:00:
Understanding Infant Mental Health (two parts)
Part II: This one-hour webinar will focus on HealthySteps, a program that co-locates mental health specialists in pediatric practices. Presenter: Laura Krug (Zero to Three/HealthySteps)
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1366243646463879682
Webinar ID: 811-763-179
We are also pleased to announce that, with funding from the federal Preschool Development Grant through the NYS Office of Children and Families, we were able to hire a full-time HVCI Coordinator. Amanda O’Brien joined us this month!
We have also contracted with several nonprofit organizations around NYS to help organize regional summits. Stay tuned for information on this exciting project, which officially launches this month.
The Tompkins County Enough Abuse Campaign (EAC), led by the Advocacy Center, has once again ramped up efforts in their local middle schools to make sure students are trained on recognizing and responding to child sexual abuse. Since March, 237 middle school students have taken part in the “It’s Not Just Jenna” module during their health classes.
This module is an 18-minute video accompanied by a post-viewing discussion about the lessons Jenna’s story teaches us about child sexual abuse and how to prevent it. When asked what they like best about the lesson, one student stated that “It helps me to understand better how to handle a situation like this even if it isn’t you and it’s one of your friends”. Another student added, “I liked how it helped us better understand abuse and to know what to do if that happens. Now if I see that happening I know what to do. I know to call the Advocacy Center.”
If you are interested in bringing the EAC campaign to your school or community, please contact Brittany at email@example.com