New law helps protect children in family child care homes
Governor Christie signed into law a bill S651 requiring state-registered family child care providers and adults over 18 living in the household to complete the same criminal history background checks as center-based child care providers. Comprehensive background checks are a basic safeguard, essential to protect the safety of children in child care and minimize the risks to potential abuse and neglect.
The new law, which went into effect July 1, 2017, will also help to meet the new federal requirement for states receiving Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding. As of October 1, 2017 homes that accept (CCDBG) child care subsidies must undergo a criminal history background check. There are approximately 2,000 registered family child care providers in New Jersey serving 10,000 children annually.
To learn more about family child care in New Jersey read ACNJ’s latest brief, Family Child Care in New Jersey: Challenges and Opportunities.
State budget has big wins for kids
The newly signed budget is a significant victory for children across the state. It includes $25 million for preschool expansion! These dollars are the result of years of tireless advocacy efforts to provide more kids with a strong start. The final budget deal reached by Governor Christie and the legislature will give much-needed support to families and children across New Jersey.
- $25 million in preschool expansion funding, which will help around 2,000 New Jersey 3- and 4-year-olds receive high-quality preschool education, building a strong foundation for their futures;
- $25 million in special education funding, which gives relief to school districts that have faced flat funding for several years despite increasing costs for special education;
- $100 million in additional school funding aid, which will help underfunded districts meet the educational needs of their students.
Great news for efforts to improve student attendance
On June 26th, all 40 of New Jersey’s state senators voted unanimously in favor of S447, the Chronic Absenteeism Bill.
With 147,000 or 10.5 percent of the state’s pre-k through 12th graders identified as chronically absent in the 2015-2016 school year, this bill is a strong first step in improving school attendance. It ensures that every district uses the same definition when measuring student absences and requires that all School Report Cards include data on chronic absenteeism. Moreover, schools with a chronic absenteeism rate of 10 percent or more must develop a strategic plan, which includes parent input.
Thanks to Senator Diane Allen’s (R-7) leadership in sponsoring the bill and shepherding it through the Senate, it is now headed to the Assembly Education Committee for hearings.
Summer meals in full swing
Summer is in full swing and we need to keep getting the word out about free summer meals in communities across New Jersey.
This summer, New Jersey communities are expected to host 1,400 summer meals sites, including ones where kids can just show up and receive a healthy, free meal to help replace the school meals many rely on during the academic year. At open sites, no identification or application is required. Many sites also host fun, engaging activities for children 18 and under.
Check out our easy-to-use outreach resources and start spreading the word!
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