Arlington, VA — Child Care Aware of America joins with thread, Alaska’s Child Care Resource and Referral organization, in honoring Sen. Mark Begich for his work on behalf of young children during this year’s Week of the Young Child, April 22-28.
The annual Week of the Young Child focuses public attention on the needs of young children and their families and recognizes the early childhood programs and services that provide for young children. The Week of the Young Child was first established in 1971 in recognition of the fact that the early childhood years lay the foundation for a child’s future success in school and in life. The theme for the Week of the Young Child 2012 is “Early Years are Learning Years.”
“We are pleased to join with thread to commend the work of Senator Mark Begich,” said Ollie M. Smith, Interim Executive Director of Child Care Aware of America (formerly NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies). “Senator Begich is a leader for young children. He understands the importance of the earliest years in a child’s life and how important those years are to laying a foundation for future growth and development.”
In March, Senator Begich introduced three bills to strengthen early childhood education. The first bill, S. 2180, the Tax Relief for Early Educators Act, will offer up to $3,000 in tax credits to early childhood educators and increase the child care tax credit so more parents can afford to put their children in quality child care programs. A second bill, S. 2181, the Preparing and Re-investing in Early Education Act, will create a new student loan forgiveness program for graduates of associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs in early education. Lastly, S. 2182, the Child Care Public-Private Partnership Act, will establish a program to provide child care through business partnerships. Matched 50/50 (50 percent from private sector businesses and 50 percent from federal funding), this program would expand the supply of affordable, quality child care for working parents.
“Senator Begich is clearly looking for creative solutions to strengthen the quality of care,” said Smith. “Children should be safe in child care and in a setting that promotes their healthy development.”
Also in March, Child Care Aware of America released a report, Leaving Children to Chance: 2012 Update. “The report shows that states vary greatly with regard to their child care licensing policies,” said Smith. “But, most states have weak protections for children.”
“During the Week of the Young Child, I’m proud to join with Child Care Aware of America in commending Senator Begich,” said Stephanie Berglund, thread’s CEO. “It’s really refreshing to see policymakers push aside politics to look out for children. I’m hopeful that the Senate can move forward on these bills.”
thread is one of 47 Child Care Resource and Referral Networks across the nation. The Alaska Child Care Resource and Referral Network was formally established in 2008. Last year, thread provided early care and education referrals and parenting support to over 7,600 families, trained over 2,500 early educators, and provided technical assistance and consultation to 196 early care and education programs throughout Alaska.
To learn more about Child Care Aware of America, visit us at www.naccrra.org.