News

January 31, 2020

ECE Advocacy Fellows Complete First Month of Program

Convening for the first time at Trying Together’s main office, 2020 ECE Advocacy Fellows completed their first month of the Fellowship program this January.

About

In January 2020, Trying Together launched its second Early Childhood Education (ECE) Advocacy Fellowship. Now through September, Fellows will meet once per month to gain public policy knowledge, build on their leadership skills, and develop their voices as early childhood advocates.

In January, Fellows met for their first workshop session where they learned about Early Learning PA (ELPA) campaigns, including Start Strong PA, Pre-K for PA, and Childhood Begins at Home, and heard from past Fellows about how to make the most out of their Fellowship experience.

If you’re interested in advocacy, visit our Take Action page!

More Information

If you’re interested in learning more about the Fellowship, visit our webpage, sign-up to receive our newsletters, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Updates will be shared as information becomes available.

News

January 30, 2020

Registration Now Open for UnConference: Exceptional Care

Are you interested in learning about the role collaboration plays in creating inclusive environments for young children? Join Trying Together and The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh on March 28 at The Children’s Institute (1405 Shady Avenue) for “UnConference: Exceptional Care with a Team Approach to Inclusion.”

About

Young children thrive and grow in their natural learning environments, including children with developmental differences. Educators play a critical role in creating an inclusive and diverse environment for children to feel a sense of belonging, to feel valued as a member of the classroom and to feel empowered to learn to their full ability. This UnConference dives into the importance of working together – a collaboration between teachers, intervention specialists, and parents/caregivers – to provide this environment for children to learn and grow in differentiated ways yet feel included in the group.

Our keynote features Wendy Pardee, President and CEO of The Children’s Institute, who will share how they have created a collaborative environment that provides a positive view on early intervention in an effort to bring different parties together in the best interest of the child. The keynote is followed by a panel discussion featuring an educator, parent, and intervention specialist. Other workshops include: developing an understanding of what early intervention is, how to work with families, what you need to know during early intervention strategies, how to adapt lessons for different learning abilities, and more.

Conference Details

UnConference: Exceptional Care with a Team Approach to Inclusion
Saturday, March 28, 2020
8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh
1405 Shady Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

What’s Included

By attending the UnConference, professionals will:

    • enjoy a light breakfast and lunch,
    • participate in hands-on, interactive workshops,
    • network with professional colleagues,
    • be eligible to receive 5.5 PQAS/DHS credits and/or Act 28 hours;
    • and experience refreshed or refined thinking about our work with young children.

Registration

Registrations to attend must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020. For individuals or groups with less than six people, please register using the form below. For groups of more than six people, contact Yu-Ling at conference@tryingtogether.org to learn more about receiving a 10% discount.

When workshops are finalized, participants will receive an email from Yu-Ling to select their preferred workshops. Due to limited space in each workshop, Trying Together recommends registering early as placement is dependent on the date of your registration. UnConference staff will do their best to match participants with their requested workshops, but placement is not guaranteed.

More Information

For more information, visit Trying Together’s UnConference page.

This event is sponsored by PNC Grow Up Great and co-hosed by The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh.

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January 29, 2020

Census Mini-Grants Now Available

The Pittsburgh Foundation, Allegheny County-City of Pittsburgh Complete Count Committee, and Census 2020 Philanthropic Fund recently partnered together to create a mini-grants program to support census-related activities. Community-based organizations in Allegheny County are eligible to apply for a grant of up to $2,500 to advance the work of the 2020 Census with populations identified to be at risk of an undercount.

Eligibility

Eligible applicants must be either:

    • an incorporated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization operating in the City of Pittsburgh and/or Allegheny County;
    • a school or educational institution operating in the City of Pittsburgh and/or Allegheny County; or
    • a municipality in Allegheny County.

Community-based organizations that are not schools, municipalities, or incorporated 501(c)(3)s must obtain a fiscal sponsor that is an eligible 501(c)(3) in Allegheny County to apply. For questions on how to obtain a fiscal sponsor, contact Emmie Calland at callande@pghfdn.org.

Priorities

Proposal submissions should focus on outreach activities to increase participation in the 2020 census and must benefit historically undercounted and hard-to-reach communities in Allegheny County. These populations include:

    • seniors,
    • people of color,
    • foreign-born residents,
    • children ages birth to five,
    • low-income residents,
    • persons experiencing homelessness,
    • persons with disabilities, and
    • persons who do not live in traditional housing.

Use of Grant Funds

Proposed activities should take place between now and July 31, 2020. Grant activities should focus on increasing census participation among the hard-to-count groups above. Activities could include:

    • alleviating language barriers in promoting census awareness and completion,
    • hosting events that encourage people to answer the census,
    • creating unique materials to encourage census participation for the populations you serve, and
    • purchasing technology to allow people to fill out the census on the spot.

How to Apply

To apply for a mini-grant, complete the online application. All applications must be submitted no later than February 1, 2020. For technical questions related to the application, contact Jennifer Steinmetz at steinmetzj@pghfdn.org.

More Information

To learn more about the 2020 Census, visit the Allegheny County-City of Pittsburgh Complete Count Committee website. For questions about the program or content of the grant application, contact Emmie Calland at callande@pghfdn.org.

*Information provided by The Pittsburgh Foundation

News

January 28, 2020

Study Opportunity: Parents Promoting Early Learning

Parents of four-year-old children are invited to participate in a new University of Pittsburgh study named, “Parents Promoting Early Learning.” Compensation provided.

About

Parents Promoting Early Learning studies how parents and their four-year-old children interact and how such interactions help prepare the child for school. Study participants will be compensated and must complete:

    • two visits, hosted at the participant’s home or at a University of Pittsburgh office, where the parent and child complete games and assessments,
    • questionnaires and interviews about the child’s development and activities, and
    • a one-year follow-up visit for more games and assessments.

Requirements

    • Child is age four (or almost four)
    • Parent must participate
    • Both parent and child identify as either African American or White
    • Both parent and child are fluent in English
    • Child has never been diagnosed with a disability

More Information

For more information, call 412.204.6845, email ppel@pitt.edu, or visit the research study webpage.

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January 27, 2020

Take Action to Support Infants and Toddlers in Pennsylvania

Are you interested in advocating to increase access to and the affordability of child care for infants and toddlers in Pennsylvania? Take action by completing Start Strong PA’s current advocacy ask!

About

In December 2019, a campaign for high-quality child care in Pennsylvania called Start Strong PA delivered a New Year’s resolution photo frame to every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The frames included a spot for a photo, a place for their signature, and the following resolution:

In 2020, I resolve that all children deserve to start strong.
I will support the healthy development of all Pennsylvania’s infants and toddlers by fighting for greater access to high-quality child care.

Now, Start Strong PA is encouraging the General Assembly to take a picture with the signed photo frame and share it across their social media platforms. However, Start Strong PA needs your help! Throughout January, the campaign is asking Pennsylvania families and caregivers to send in photos of their infants and toddlers to place inside the frames. Will you reinforce Start Strong PA’s mission to increase access to and the affordability of high-quality infant/toddler early learning programs?

How You Can Help

To send in a photo, complete the following steps:

    • Find your Senator or Representative by visiting: http://bit.ly/StartStrongPAresolution.
    • Type in your address and press search.
    • You will be given links to your Pennsylvania House and Senate members.
    • Click on the link (their name) and you will be sent to their website. On the left-hand side, you can find their Harrisburg office address.
    • Place the 4 x 6 photo(s) and a message that says “Make me your New Year’s resolution!” in an envelope, add postage, and mail to their Harrisburg office.

Looking to go a step further? Send your Senator and Representative a reminder as well by completing a pre-filled form on our Take Action page!

More Information

For questions or to send your picture to Start Strong PA, email info@startstrongpa.org.

News

January 9, 2020

Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Maximum Benefit Increased

For Fiscal Year 2019-20, the maximum benefit for the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance (RSTA) program has increased to $8,000 per individual.

About

Administered by The Pennsylvania Key, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)’s RSTA program helps cover a portion of tuition costs for Pennsylvania’s early childhood educators. Tuition costs net of other funding sources such as scholarships, stipends, discounts, or grants (except the Pell Grant) are used to determine the amount of assistance, with the Fiscal  Year 2019-20 maximum benefit listed as $8,000. It is recommended completed applications be submitted at least four weeks prior to the start of the course, or prior to the tuition due date, whichever is first.

More Information on Rising STARS Tuition Assistance

For eligibility requirements, the application process, and more, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.

*Information provided by PA Early Ed News

For more information for professionals, visit Trying Together’s professional development page.

News

January 8, 2020

Changes to Clearances for Employees Having Contact with Children

In July 2019, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order to strengthen protections for vulnerable populations, including children who receive child care services outside of their homes.

About the Change

The federal Family First Prevention Services Act requires all adults who work in child care settings that receive Title IV-E funding to obtain child abuse clearances, even if they are not working directly with children. Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services law formerly allowed a 90-day provisional hire period for individuals who had applied for but were still waiting for clearance results. However, in 2019, Act 47 eliminated this 90-day provisional hire period to ensure that all adults working with children are legally able to do so.

Based on Act 47, child care centers, group child care homes, and family child care homes can request a waiver to hire an employee on a provisional basis for no longer than 45 days. The Department of Human Services is required to process Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearances within 14 days from the day in which the request is received and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history background checks within 30 days from the date of receipt. Generally, these clearances are processed more quickly than required.

New employees are not permitted to work alone with children and must be in the immediate vicinity of a permanent employee until all clearances are received. To access the waiver and instructions, visit the Keep Kids Safe website.

More Information

For more information on obtaining clearances, visit the Keep Kids Safe website.

*Information provided by PA Early Ed News