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NJ Child Care Efforts Advance
ACNJ recently learned that two of our key recommendations on the child care front are moving forward. The New Jersey Department of Children and Families recently hired 16 additional inspectors to ensure the health, safety and quality of care for children across the state. In our December 2013 report, Meeting the Child Care Challenge, we noted that New Jersey was nearly last in the nation for oversight of child care centers and that inspectors had heavy caseloads that may prevent them from conducting thorough inspections. We commend DCF for addressing this important issue.
In addition, the department now has a searchable online directory of child care providers, giving parents a central place to get basic information, including center location, size and the ages of children served. This information had previously been available only in pdf format.
State officials say they are still working on posting inspection reports and violations online in a user-friendly format for parents. We’ll keep you posted of their progress.
Proposed Federal Budget Invests in Kids
This week, the White House released a federal budget that would increase investments in nearly every aspect of a child’s life. Key elements of the president’s budget for children include more child care funding, expanded child care tax credits and stronger investments in early learning. The proposal would also extend funding for the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2019 – key to ensuring that children keep their health insurance in New Jersey through NJ FamilyCare and across the nation through similar publicly-funded programs.
Other funding priorities include public schools, reducing youth violence, family housing, child nutrition and protecting children from abuse and neglect.
Join the PreK Our Way Campaign
This new campaign, launched last week, brings together state and business leaders, foundations, advocates and the early care and education communities to make expanding quality preschool a top priority for New Jersey. The campaign is planning several forums around the state to build a grassroots movement for preschool expansion.
As a leader of this campaign, ACNJ believes this is an opportunity to finally keep the promise of preschool to thousands of children throughout the state. These children currently lack access to high-quality early education offered in about 30 New Jersey districts. Campaign leaders include former Republican Governor Tom Kean and former Democratic Governor Jim Florio. The campaign welcomes support from anyone who wants children to be prepared for school and ready for success.
Skadden Fellow Joins ACNJ Staff
Peter Chen, J.D., has joined ACNJ staff through a 2-year fellowship funded by the Skadden Foundation. Peter’s focus is on early intervention services, which help optimize outcomes for children ages 0-3 who have developmental delays or conditions requiring intervention. He is available to respond to questions regarding early intervention services in NJ and to provide training to parent groups.
Contact Peter at email@example.com or (973) 643-3876.