Report finds child poverty is at highest point in 20 years

by Administrator 23. October 2014 13:51

According to a policy analysis published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, child poverty in America is at its highest point in 20 years. Among other findings, the report reveals that 1 in 4 children don’t have enough to eat; 7 million children don’t have health insurance; 1 in 3 children is overweight or obese; 1 in 5 experiences a mental health disorder; a child is abused or neglected every minute; and 5 children are killed daily by firearms.

Despite this overwhelming need and the fact that children account for 24% of the overall U.S. population, only 8% of federal expenditures are focused on children. 

“It shouldn’t be this hard for kids to grow and thrive in the world’s richest, most powerful nation,” said co-author Bruce Lesley, president of child advocacy organization First Focus.

We know that the effects of poverty are most destructive in a child's early years. Here in Durham, nearly 30% of children birth to 5 live in poverty. Poverty has far-reaching consequences for young children, negatively impacting brain development, physical and emotional health, and educational achievement. These are key building blocks for productive adult lives, and that foundation begins with a child’s earliest experiences. 

In response, the Partnership leads initiatives that address the multi-faceted effects of poverty. Early intervention and two-generation strategies that serve both parent and child create better futures for everyone. By increasing access to high quality care for low-income children, we buffer toxic stress and promote healthy development; parents, in turn, can work or go to school. We fund evidence-based programs that address mental health and behavioral issues, help prevent child abuse and neglect, empower parents through education and support, and encourage healthy physical habits through nutrition and outdoor learning environments that combat childhood obesity. We know that this work is making an impact. 

The JAMA Pediatrics report calls upon the federal government to set goals for eliminating child poverty and put strong measures in place to protect our young citizens. Their recommendations include expanding support for policies and programming similar to what we do here in Durham to serve our community’s young children and families. 

“Overwhelming, bipartisan support by American voters exists for measures that would enhance our nation’s investments in and focus on children’s health and well-being... The needs of our nation’s children have never been greater.”

As we are in the midst of election season and prepare for the NC General Assembly to enter its session, please consider how our legislative leaders can better support early childhood issues. Visit the North Carolina Child Care Coalition's action center and sign up for our advocacy updates to get more information on how you can become a champion for young children. 

Support the Partnership by shopping on AmazonSmile

by Administrator 21. October 2014 10:14

You can now support the Partnership by shopping online at AmazonSmile! Whenever you shop on AmazonSmile, the Partnership will receive a donation of 0.5% of the price of all eligible purchases. 

This easy way to support charitable organizations is provided at no extra cost to you, and AmazonSmile contains all of the same products, prices and shipping items that you find on Amazon. You can use your existing account if you have one, and simply visit smile.amazon.com each time you begin shopping to make sure that your purchase results in a donation. 

 

Click here to sign up or link your existing account to AmazonSmile, and click here for more information about the program. Thanks for shopping for a good cause!

Support the Partnership by shopping on AmazonSmile

by Administrator 21. October 2014 10:14

You can now support the Partnership by shopping online at AmazonSmile! Whenever you shop on AmazonSmile, the Partnership will receive a donation of 0.5% of the price of all eligible purchases. 

This easy way to support charitable organizations is provided at no extra cost to you, and AmazonSmile contains all of the same products, prices and shipping options that you find on Amazon. You can use your existing account if you have one, and simply visit smile.amazon.com each time you begin shopping to make sure that your purchase results in a donation. 


Click here
to sign up or link your existing account to AmazonSmile, and click here for more information about the program. Thanks for shopping for a good cause!

YMCA offering free online Stewards of Children training

by Administrator 17. October 2014 14:50

Join the movement to better protect children in Durham, Orange and Chatham counties with free training through the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA’s Darkness to Light initiative. The YMCA has partnered with the national non-profit Darkness to Light to train adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, in an effort to spread awareness and create a community where this abuse is not tolerated or simply ignored. 

That is why the Y has trained more than 7,300 adults in Stewards of Children. This 2-hour, evidence-based training focuses on each adult’s responsibility in preventing child sexual abuse and the role that our community can play in creating awareness and knowledge surrounding child protective behaviors. Until now, this powerful training has only been offered in person, but a recent grant has provided a new opportunity to reach even more community members by offering Stewards of Children online for free! 

Click here to make a commitment to protecting children by taking the Stewards of Children free online training, and please spread the word about this opportunity. Help keep more children safe by providing these valuable tools to as many adults as possible!

For more information and to see the in-person training dates, click here. Please contact Tricia.Smar@YMCATriangle.org with any questions. 

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Hillary Clinton announces early literacy toolkit for pediatricians and parents

by Administrator 14. October 2014 10:20

This past weekend, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the launch of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) new early literacy toolkit for pediatricians and parents. The toolkit – Books Build Connections – provides updated, practical resources for pediatric professionals, as well as guidance for families on the importance of talking, reading, and singing with their children to promote early learning. The toolkit will be shared with the AAP’s 62,000 pediatrician members at their annual convention this week.

In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced a partnership with Too Small to Fail (a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation), Scholastic Inc., and Reach Out and Read to raise awareness among parents about early language development. The organizations have committed to supporting early literacy and ensuring that doctors, parents and caregivers have the information, tools and books they need to promote talking, reading out loud and singing to children every day starting in infancy.

Early literacy is a crucial part of a child’s development, as reading to children enhances vocabulary, builds important communication skills, and gives them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life.  But many low-income children are exposed to very little reading before entering school, and in fact, studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper class families hear 30 million more words than their lower income peers.

“Coming to school without words is like coming to school without breakfast or books,” said Clinton.

This disparity in hearing words from parents and caregivers translates directly into a disparity in learning words, which puts children born with the fewest advantages even further behind. Unfortunately, it’s easy to understand how the achievement gap is evident long before children start school. 

"Fewer than half of children younger than 5 years old are read to daily in our country... now, more pediatricians are taking a stand to spread the news more widely through our recent policy, toolkit and partnership with Too Small to Fail. Talking, reading and singing with young children is a joyful way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships, foster early language skills and promote children's development,” said James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP.

Pediatricians offer a nearly universal way to reach children before they begin school, and it is exciting to have the AAP’s 62,000 members as powerful advocates for reading and talking to children early and often! 

Click here to watch Clinton's full remarks at the AAP conference, and to read more about the early literacy toolkit, please click here. If you are interested in helping to inspire a love of reading through our Readers as Leaders volunteer program, please click here or contact Krissy Dunn.

Join us on Twitter!

by Administrator 10. October 2014 10:46

You can now follow the Partnership on Twitter, along with our Facebook page and this blog! We're excited to join the conversation with local and national organizations who are working to make young children and families a priority. We hope that you will connect with us and join the conversation, so please follow us at @DPFC_NC

For the next several months, we are teaming up with DurhamCares and a host of other wonderful agencies in Durham to talk about education in Durham. We know that the early years are leaning years, and the critical window between birth and age five makes all the difference in a child's future. It is the beginning of the road to college or career, and we are excited to make sure that the conversation about education in Durham includes early childhood.

We will be participating in a "tweetup" to talk about education and answer questions TODAY from 11am - 1pm, so please follow along with the hashtag #educatedurham, join us here, and stay tuned for similar events this fall.  

Now accepting applications for new and continuing Smart Start funding

by Administrator 7. October 2014 16:24

The Partnership is now accepting new and continuing proposals for Smart Start funding for FY 2015-2017. Smart Start funds are made available by the N.C. General Assembly and administered by the Partnership to support services in Durham County for children birth to age 5 and their families. Applications must be received in the Partnership office by Monday, Dec. 8, 2014 at 12 pm

Smart Start is a state-wide initiative created in 1993 to provide a high-quality comprehensive system of care and education for young children. Funds are available to community-based organizations and local nonprofit and governmental agencies that wish to provide and develop evidence-based and evidence-informed practices for young children and families. 

The Partnership seeks proposals for activities that:

  • Improve the quality of early care and education 
  • Increase access to quality early care and education
  • Enhance parenting skills and family literacy
  • Enhance social and emotional development of young children
  • Enhance early intervention services for children at-risk of developmental delays or disabilities
  • Enhance physical health and well-being of young children
  • Improve school readiness outcomes 

Within these needs, the Partnership’s Board of Directors has identified several areas that will be given priority in the new funding cycle, including a focus on promoting physical and mental health, engaging and empowering families through early literacy and parenting practices, and increasing the number of 4-year-olds served in high-quality pre-kindergarten programs. Programs that serve the most at-risk young children and families will also receive priority.

All awards are contingent upon Smart Start funding made available by the N.C. General Assembly and the allocation decisions of the Partnership and its governing bodies. Application materials and additional information are available on our website. Please contact Megan Gray, Program Coordinator, at 919-403-6960 x231 or megan@dpfc.net for more information. 

Durham Touchpoints Collaborative completes another Individual Level Training

by Administrator 30. September 2014 13:43

Last week, another group of service providers from agencies across Durham completed Touchpoints Individual Level Training. This is the 3rd cohort of trainees in Durham, and the 2nd group to receive training from Durham’s certified Touchpoints training team comprised of: Paulette Stephens, Touchpoints Program Coordinator from Durham’s Partnership for Children; Cate Elander from East Durham Children’s Initiative; Renee Parks-Bryant from Durham County Department of Public Health, Randy Rogers from Durham County DSS, and Kate Thegen from Durham Early Head Start.

The training team completed Individual Level Training as well as an intensive Community Level Training at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center in Boston, MA, to become a certified Touchpoints community site. This allows the Durham Touchpoints Collaborative to provide its own training for additional service providers, furthering the reach of the Touchpoints approach through our community and enhancing how professionals engage with each other as well as with the families they serve.

     

Last week’s group of trainees included representatives from Durham Early Head Start, Durham Public Schools, Durham’s Partnership for Children, East Durham Children’s Initiative, El Centro Hispano, Genesis Home, and Healthy Families Durham. With multiple people from each agency, the Durham Touchpoints Collaborative hopes to saturate these partner organizations and create a ripple effect in our community. There are now several organizations that have had 100% of their staff complete Touchpoints training!

     

Touchpoints is an evidence-based theory of child development based on the work of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton that is used by providers across disciplines (e.g. pediatrics, home visiting, early education). Once implemented by providers, this method helps parents understand regressions that accompany their children’s developmental spurts, which occur often during the first years of life. The Touchpoints approach gives providers tools to support parents during these challenging times and to strengthen the parent-child relationship. Touchpoints also helps to build relationships among providers to create a common language when working with families. 

For more information about the Durham Touchpoints Collaborative, please contact Paulette Stephens.

New poll finds major support for early childhood education in North Carolina

by Administrator 23. September 2014 14:01

A new bipartisan poll shows that there is an issue that unites all North Carolinians - early childhood education! Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents support investments in early childhood programs, including expanding access to Smart Start, Pre-K, teacher training, and home visiting programs. 

The poll shows that an overwhelming 83% of voters believe that investments in early childhood programs will benefit North Carolina’s economy in the short and long term, and ranked ensuring children get a strong start as a top priority for policymakers, second only to jobs and the economy, and well ahead of reducing the tax burden on families. 

Voters are very concerned that children get a strong start in school and see high quality early childhood education as the answer. Three-quarters of state voters support expanding access to the NC Pre-K and Smart Start programs so that more children in the state can benefit from them. In addition, 88% want North Carolina to invest in training and classroom resources for all pre-school and early elementary school teachers.

Increased state and federal investments would mean more children would benefit from high-quality early learning programs, which in turn creates better education, health and economic outcomes for everyone in North Carolina.

The poll was conducted by the bipartisan team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research for the First Five Years Fund and the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. To view a summary report of the poll results, please click here. To help share the news, please click here

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Durham Head Start grand opening

by Administrator 19. September 2014 15:51

Durham Head Start welcomed the community to the agency headquarters today for their grand opening ceremony!

The agency, which provides services for three and four year olds in Durham, is re-opening after transitioning to a new grants administrator, the Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project (CHTOP). The event was a wonderful celebration of all of the collaborative partnerships in our community that help to make this important work happen. 

“We are very appreciative of the warm welcome and goodwill that the Durham community has provided us,” said Durham Head Start Interim Project Director Terry David. “Countless individuals and organizations have reached out to help us get our program up and running."

        

CHTOP is the delegate agency that oversees day-to-day operations for Durham Early Head Start, for which the Partnership is the grantee. We look forward to working with CHTOP in new ways to continue doing what is best for young children and families. One of our key collaborations with Durham Head Start is through our administration of the NC Pre-K program, and we will continue to work closely with them to serve those at-risk 4 year olds who participate in NC Pre-K through Head Start classrooms.  

Classes for NC Pre-K students in Head Start classrooms will begin at the Leathers-Meachem Center next Monday, September 22, and all other classrooms will open on Monday, September 29. Since the transition to CHTOP this summer, a staff of 84 has been hired, many of whom worked for the program previously. The program will serve 323 three and four year old children and their families in five locations around Durham.

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