Monthly Archives: April 2010

Child Care included in Task Force Recommendations to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Nutrition rules for child care centers were included in the14 recommendations put forth by the Legislative Task Force on Childhood Obesity last week. The Task Force, which consists of six House members and six Senate members, spent four months researching the effects of childhood obesity on the economy, schools, and health system. The Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report’s “Recommendation 3” calls for improving nutrition and physical activity practices in child care.  

Approximately 37% of North Carolina’s children between the ages of 2 and 5 are enrolled in licensed child care centers and may consume between 50% and 100% of their Recommended Dietary Allowances while at the center (NAP SACC Report). Clearly, early childhood programs can play an important role in combating the national obesity epidemic.

The Task Force suggests legislation that would create nutritional “Child Care Rules” that would:

  • Eliminate sugar sweetened beverages for children
  • Give reduced fat milk (skim or 1%) to children older than 2
  • Limit juice to a total of four to six ounces per day for children over 1

 The Task Force also recommends legislation that would look into physical activity levels.

To read the full report, visit Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report on the General Assembly’s website.

To learn more about Smart Start’s NAP SACC program, which has been working to improve health and nutrition in child care in North Carolina, visit NAP SACC Report on www.ncsmartstart.org.

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“Hold the Line” for NC Children Virtual Advocacy Day is May 18!

On Tuesday May 18, show your support for programs and services that invest in North Carolina’s youngest children. Take part in the first ever “Hold the Line” for NC Children Virtual Advocacy Day. It’s an easy way to raise awareness about the need for legislators to “hold the line” on funding for programs and services that provide early education and care for young children and strengthen our society.

In these difficult economic times, our state leaders need to know where you want precious state money spent. While we know increased funding for these critical health and education services is unrealistic, we can at least ask for no further cuts and that policymakers “hold the line” on funding.

Joining the action is easy. If you’re on Facebook:

-Find your North Carolina Legislators and post the following question on their Facebook walls: Will you hold the line on investments in young children?

-Post this short video clip in which Dr. Shonkoff of Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child explains the Science of Early Childhood(3:58).

-Or, you could post this emotionally moving video called Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything (3:57), which shows how early care and education programs serve young children.

-Create a “Hold the Line” video about why you think legislators should keep funding early education initiatives. Here’s a sample script to get you started. You could post it as a “Hold the Line” video on YouTube and share it with legislators and friends through a link on Facebook. Here is a sample script.

If you’re a blogger:

-Post this banner on your blog to draw attention and link people to information.

– Blog about early education from your own experience or using this background information:

– Why investing in early education and care matters.

– What investments in young children in NC look like.

Why investments in early education and care are good for the economy.

– Post brief video clips about brain development and how early education programs and services support families.

– Other resources.

If you’re on Twitter, tweet about why you want legislators to “Hold the Line” on investments in young children.

If you or your company has a website, post this “Hold the Line” banner on May 18th to show your support.

North Carolina’s future prosperity depends on how we strengthen and build our communities today. Future citizens are born every day, and by working together to ensure they all have opportunities for healthy development, success in school, and a productive life, we build a stronger North Carolina for everyone.

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Filed under budget, Early Childhood, Legislative and Governmental, Uncategorized

Sample “Hold the Line” Video Script

My name is _________________________.
 
 I (am a teacher, parent, child care provider, business person, nurse, etc.) at _________ and live in _____________.
 
 My message is for (Representative __________or Senator ____________)  (Click to find NC Legislators).
 
I ask that you hold the line and continue to invest in North Carolina’s youngest citizens.
 
 [Tell a short story about either what Smart Start has done for you or why Smart Start services are needed in your community. Be personal and specific as to why this matters to you.] 
 
“Will you hold the line on investments for North Carolina’s young children?”  

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Why investing in early care and education matters

  • The first five years of life lay the foundation for all future learning.
  • More than 40 years of early education research show that high quality child care programs positively impact young children. 
  • At least half of the education achievement gaps between poor and non-poor children already exist at kindergarten entry. The larger the gap at school entry, the harder it is to close.
  • Each year, tens of thousands of North Carolina children from K-3rd grade are “held back” and do not advance to the next grade. Worse yet, they will fall far short of what the job market will demand at a time when the economy places a premium on high skills and the ability to adapt to new technologies.
  • Investing early offers the biggest return on investment as illustrated in this Heckman Equation Graph

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Filed under budget, Early Childhood, Legislative and Governmental

Why investing in early care and education is good for the economy

  • In North Carolina, the child care industry generated $1.77 billion annually and provides more than 47,000 jobs.
  • It benefits all industries in the state by enabling parents to work productively outside the home.
  • For every new dollar invested in early childhood education, the average economic benefit is almost $2.
  • For every new job created in early childhood education, the average economic impact is 1.5 jobs.
  • Unscheduled absences at the workplace cost small businesses an average of $60,000 annually and large companies an average of $3.6 million. Nearly 25 percent of the unscheduled absences are due to family issues, including child care needs.

 

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Filed under budget, Early Childhood, Legislative and Governmental, Uncategorized

Why your voice is needed now

North Carolina legislators are meeting right now in Raleigh and making tough decisions about what to fund with a limited budget. Let them know that you want funds to go towards initiatives that invest in young children in North Carolina. Because today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, parents, and workers, every North Carolinian has a stake in making sure all children thrive. After all, communities thrive when children thrive! 

Services for young children are in jeopardy. Legislators have steadily cut funding for nearly a decade to some programs that serve young children, while the need in North Carolina has continued to grow. This means completing cutting or significantly reducing programs that: 

  • Provide early learning opportunities to help children succeed in school and in life. 
  • Make sure children have well-child doctor visits and screenings to ensure healthy growth and development.
  • Help parents find and afford high quality child care.
  • Promote nutrition and physical activity in child care to prevent obesity.
  • Strengthen families through parent support and parent education programs.
  • Improve the quality of child care through professional development and technical assistance for child care providers.
  •  

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Filed under budget, Early Childhood, Legislative and Governmental, Uncategorized

What investments in young children look like

These are programs and services that give young children birth to five the best start in life, support families, and elevate the quality of North Carolina’s early childhood care and education system. These programs may:

  • Provide early learning opportunities to help children succeed in school and in life.
  • Make sure children have well-child doctor visits and screenings to ensure healthy growth and development.
  • Help parents find and afford high quality child care.
  • Promote nutrition and physical activity in child care to prevent obesity.
  • Strengthen families through parent support and parent education programs.
  • Improve the quality of child care through professional development and technical assistance for child care providers.

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Filed under budget, Early Childhood, Legislative and Governmental, Uncategorized