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NJ Needs to Expand Summer Meals to More Hungry Children
In 2014, New Jersey’s summer meals programs reached only 19 percent of the roughly 419,000 children who received free- or reduced-price school lunch in the 2014-15 school year. The national Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) recommends that states serve at least 40 percent of these low-income children. School districts can play a key role by becoming a summer meal sponsor, bringing additional federal funds into New Jersey to feed hungry children.
Senate President Steve Sweeney calls for preschool expansion
“It’s one of the few programs where it is universally agreed we need to invest more,” Sweeney said, adding it should include universal full-day kindergarten as well. “When people see you are investing in the right places, it is attractive for them to come into the state.”
The roundtable – “New Jersey’s Youngest Children: Policies at a Crossroads” -- was aimed at exploring the status and prospects of expanding public preschool and other childhood services. ACNJ Executive Director Cecilia Zalkind participated on a panel with Senator Sweeney, Ginger Gold with the New Jersey Education Association and Sam Crane, director of the Pre-K Our Way Campaign.
“I am certainly excited to hear you say that, senator,” Ceil told the Senator. “I think you are absolutely right, that there has been a lot of support for preschool.”
Legislative breakfast focuses on child care
More than 70 child care directors and staff were joined by about 12 legislators at a Statehouse legislative breakfast that focused on child care issues. The breakfast, hosted by Senator Kip Bateman, highlighted two issues:
• The need to require family day care providers and certain members of their households to undergo criminal history background checks;
Child care providers spent time discussing the issues with legislators and plan to continue working with them to build support for these critical initiatives.
How are NJ babies faring?
Parents needed for focus group on family leave
The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) is launching the New Jersey Parenting Project to learn how the state’s Family Leave Insurance (paid leave) program is working for parents. As part of this project, discussion groups, called “focus groups,” will be held in Newark, Camden and Trenton to bring together parents to talk about their experiences balancing work and family after the arrival of a new child.
Project administrators are seeking any new parents in NJ to talk about their experiences. Parents will be paid $100 for just two hours. If you or someone you know may be interested, please call 1-888-245-9988 to see if you’re eligible.