News

June 29, 2021

Trying Together Releases Family Resources in Spanish

To increase accessibility, Trying Together is releasing family resources in Spanish through our Developmentally Appropriate Parenting (DAP) Series, Parenting Together Pathway, and #SummerofPlay campaign.

Creating Accessible Resources for Families

All families and caregivers deserve access to high-quality resources that provide information on parenting, child development, play, child care, and more. However, many families cannot access family resources simply because they are not published in their home language. To increase the accessibility of our content, Trying Together published family resources in Spanish from our Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series, Parenting Together Pathway, and #SummerofPlay social media campaign.

Spanish is the second most spoken language in Pennsylvania with nearly 635,000 people over the age of five speaking Spanish at home. Although the printable and video resources featured in this post are only available in English and Spanish, all content on the Trying Together website is available in multiple languages by using the “Select Language” box in the top right of our website.

Developmentally Appropriate Parenting

The Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series is a family resource content series developed by Trying Together that empowers caregivers to create high-quality experiences at the earliest stages of their children’s lives. The series currently features information on Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Childhood Physical Health, Child Care, Early Intervention, Safety, and Social-Emotional Development. More topics will be added through 2022.

Series Topics Available in Spanish

Parenting Together Pathway

The Parenting Together Pathway is a video-based learning series that provides high-quality information on early childhood development topics to parents and caregivers in Allegheny County and surrounding areas. Currently, families can learn about brain development, interactions and relationships, play, child care, advocacy, and technology. More videos will be released through 2021.

All videos, video transcripts, and PDFs are available in English and Spanish. Start watching today to explore these early childhood topics and better support your children’s healthy growth!

Pathway Topics

#SummerofPlay

As Fred Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” In celebration of the power of play, Trying Together and Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative are calling on families to join our #SummerofPlay campaign on social media by sharing their favorite playful pictures, activities, creations, and more!

Join us in celebrating by using our social media toolkit. The toolkit is available in Spanish and includes tips, hashtags, sample posts, and more! Help us spread the word that #PlayMatters.

Report a Barrier

If you or someone you know is experiencing a barrier in accessing our online or printable content, please contact Trying Together at info@tryingtogether.org. All feedback will be reviewed and considered in upcoming content planning.

News

June 28, 2021

OCDEL Releases Child Care Best Practices for COVID-19 Operations

A new announcement from the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development, and Bureau of Certification provides best practices for operating a certified child care facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Child Care Best Practices During COVID-19

The announcement clarifies ongoing requirements and recommendations, including information on:

    • dealing with confirmed cases and exposure to COVID-19,
    • returning to care,
    • reporting,
    • health and safety plans,
    • technical assistance availability,
    • next steps, and
    • additional resources.

Why does it matter?

Children under the age of 12 are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. To protect the health and safety of children in their care, child care providers are urged to stay up to date on the most recent CDC Guidance for Operating Child Care.

View the Full Announcement

For more information, see Announcement C-21-04, Best Practices for Child Care Facilities Operating During the Novel Coronavirus.

News

Update: Pittsburgh Summer Programs & Special Events

In June, the City of Pittsburgh announced the return of the Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park and summer concerts, reopening of several Community Recreation Centers, and continuation of grab-n-goal meal distribution for youth and seniors.

 

Summer Events and Recreation Updates

 

The Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park

The Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park will return starting with “Spiderman: Far from Home (PG-13)” at Flagstaff Hill on July 7. Movies begin at dusk. View the full schedule and all locations.

Summer Concerts

Summer concerts will return starting July 10. Currently, confirmed performances include:

    • July 10 – Stars at Riverview Jazz Series with “Reggie Watkins Quartet”.
    • July 11 – Bach, Beethoven & Brunch at Mellon Park with “Aeolian Winds of Pittsburgh”.
    • August 1 – Reservoir of Jazz at Highland Park with performers to be announced.

Community Recreation Centers

The following Community Recreation Centers will reopen (for limited programming/activities) starting June 28, 2021:

    • The Ormsby, Brookline, Magee, and Warrington Recreation Centers will operate summer camp activities and the weight/fitness room areas only for general public use from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Phillips Recreation Center will operate summer camp activities and the weight/fitness room areas only for general public use from 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    • West Penn Recreation Center will operate for gym and weight room only for general public use from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Jefferson Recreation Center will operate only its summer camps from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Arlington Recreation Center will be activated later this summer for special sports programs and utilization of the gym.
    • Ammon and Paulson Recreation Centers remain closed for indoor programming due to ongoing facility renovation work.

Capacity limits and other health efforts are posted at each location.

Grab-N-Go Meals for Youth

Citiparks will continue grab-n-go meal distribution for youth through Summer Food Service Program meals at 14 Citiparks locations and 34 partner locations. Citiparks locations include:

    • Recreation Centers: Ammon, Brookline, Jefferson, Magee, Ormsby, Phillips, and Warrington
    • Spray Parks: Arlington, Beechview, Mellon, Paulson, and Troy Hill
    • Pools: Ream
    • Playgrounds: Anderson (Schenley Park)

View the full list of Summer Food Service Program locations.

Grab-N-Go Meals for Seniors

Senior grab-n-go lunches will continue at Beechview, Brighton Heights, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hazelwood, Homewood, Lawrenceville, Mt Washington, Sheraden, South Side, and West End Healthy Active Living (Senior) Centers. Healthy Active Living Centers will remain closed for other activities with more information coming soon.

More Information

Information about summer special events and recreation activities can be found on the Citiparks and Office of Special Events websites. Residents can follow Citiparks on Facebook and Twitter and Special Events on Facebook and Twitter for additional news and updates.

News

Early Learning Pennsylvania Response to 2021-22 State Budget

The principal partners of Early Learning Pennsylvania (ELPA), a statewide coalition of advocates focused on supporting young Pennsylvanians from birth to age five, believes the Commonwealth’s economic recovery hinges on helping working families by prioritizing greater state investments in high-quality pre-k, child care and evidence-based home visiting. ELPA operates four issue-based advocacy campaigns: Pre-K for PA, Start Strong PA, Childhood Begins at Home, and Thriving PA. Reaction statements from three of these campaigns regarding the FY 2021-22 state budget follow:

Pre-K

“Pre-K for PA applauds the $25 million in new state funding for Pre-K Counts and $5 million for Head Start Supplemental Assistance as part of the 2021-22 PA State Budget. This funding continues the commonwealth’s tradition of expanding access to high-quality pre-k – providing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to more than 3,200 additional young learners. 

“Research shows that high-quality pre-k benefits children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. A new study by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill confirmed that the commonwealth’s investment in pre-k pays dividends for the children fortunate enough to access pre-k through the Pre-K Counts program. In language and math skills, the study showed that these kids outperformed their kindergarten peers who did not enjoy access—an advantage that equated to four to five months of learning gains. Even with this budget increase, more than 100,000 eligible three- and four-year-olds still lack access to high-quality pre-k.”

Child Care

“The General Assembly and the Wolf Administration unfortunately missed the opportunity to prioritize families who are struggling to return to work. Ignoring recommendations developed with input from over 1,000 child care providers and parents, Pennsylvania’s elected leadership has fallen significantly short on ensuring American Rescue Plan child care funds are used to help families find and afford high-quality child care and to stabilize the industry.

“Given that 70% of Pennsylvania children under the age of five had all adults in their household in the labor force prior to the pandemic, high-quality child care is an essential workforce support. That workforce must be able to return to work for Pennsylvania to recover from the pandemic’s economic devastation.  

“We now call on the Wolf Administration to prioritize and implement our recommendations for Pennsylvania’s $1.2 billion in American Rescue Plan child care funding. With nearly 700 child care programs permanently closed and over 350 temporarily closed, families are struggling to find child care. Those child care providers that have managed to stay open are still incurring additional pandemic-related costs while operating significantly under capacity and are struggling to attract and retain teachers.

“Not only is there less child care capacity in the system, only 42% of certified child care capacity currently meets high-quality standards. And only 39% of infants and toddlers that receive subsidized care attend programs that have met high-quality standards. High-quality care and education mean safer, healthier children and are critical to maximizing the period of a child’s most rapid brain growth. 

 “Start Strong PA’s recommendations for American Rescue Plan child care funding will stabilize, strengthen and ultimately secure the child care industry. This industry is critical to the success of our economic recovery.”

Evidence-Based Home Visiting

“On behalf of the pregnant women, children, and families who would benefit the most from evidence-based home visiting – especially those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic – Childhood Begins at Home is dismayed that there is no increase in the state budget for these voluntary services backed by decades of research.

“Without funding increases to reach more Pennsylvania families, the unmet need remains at a staggering 95%. The Community-Based Family Centers line will be level-funded, and the Nurse-Family Partnership line will receive a minimal increase to restore the line to its prior level due to a slight reduction resulting from the state using enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding last year.

“Throughout budget negotiations, policymakers emphasized the infusion of federal stimulus dollars to inform state spending decisions. Of the total amount of one-time state funds Pennsylvania received from the American Rescue Plan ($7.3 billion), home visiting gets less than .02% (or a paltry $1.3 million) through the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. This funding has yet to be distributed to programs that received no aid during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is limited in its use and timeframe to spend these dollars.

“Only pennies on the dollar for evidence-based home visiting are coming in federally. It adds insult to injury that policymakers in the legislative and administrative branches did not step up and recognize constituents would benefit from the same services that have been a lifeline for so many during the last 15 months.  

“While states’ use of the ARP funds is flexible, the federal stimulus funding for evidence-based home visiting would not even reach one family in each of Pennsylvania’s 253 legislative districts.

“From birth to age five, brain growth is rapid, learning is happening, and our coalition of advocates is committed to ensuring that families can access it in high-quality, developmentally appropriate settings. In Pennsylvania, funding has not been prioritized to ensure the resources are there to offer these irreplaceable opportunities, creating deep inequity among children and their families at a very early age. We, and our tens of thousands of supporters, will continue to urge lawmakers to invest in early learning boldly – it is an urgent necessity.”

About Early Learning Pennsylvania Initiatives

Pre-K for PA launched in 2014 with the vision that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. Learn more on the Pre-K for PA website.

 Start Strong PA launched in 2019 to support healthy child development, working families, and the economy by increasing access to and affordability of high-quality child care programs for young children. Learn more on the Start Strong PA website

Childhood Begins At Home is a statewide campaign to help policymakers and the public understand the value of evidence-based home visiting and support public investments in the programs.  Learn more on the Childhood Begins at Home website

News

June 25, 2021

Complete the Latest NAEYC Survey

Early childhood educators, will you take a few moments to complete the latest National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) ECE Field Survey: Child Care Relief & Recovery survey.

NAEYC Child Care Relief & Recovery Survey

Your responses and voices make a huge difference in helping policymakers and the public understand the continued urgency of the challenges you face, how relief is helping, and how much more is needed. 10 people will be randomly selected to win a $50 gift card.

Complete the Survey

Early childhood professionals can complete the survey in English or Spanish. All surveys must be submitted by Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

News

Funding and Support Available for Early Learning Providers In Pittsburgh

Child care providers in the City of Pittsburgh can now receive financial and technical support. Available through June 2022, these supports are being offered as part of the economic recovery efforts associated with COVID-19. These supports include: forgivable loans, grants, educational training, technical assistance, and a tailored shared services pilot. To learn more about applying for these supports, child care providers may read the details listed below.

Childcare Reinvestment Business Fund (CRiB)

The Childcare Reinvestment Business Fund (CRiB) is a forgivable loan pilot program. These new CRiB loans will assist new and existing child care businesses in the City of Pittsburgh. Capital, payroll, professional development, enrollment scholarships, software, supplies, and leasehold improvement costs may be covered by these loans. The Chatham University Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship will also provide technical assistance to providers who receive a CRiB loan. The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh with funding from The PNC Foundation is providing the CRiB loans.

To apply (PDF) and learn more about CRiBs loans, review the program guidelines (PDF) and flyer (PDF) at investpgh.org. For questions about CRiB loans, call 412.255.6622 or email lmorris@ura.org.

Child Care Quality Fund (CCQF)

Licensed child care programs located within the City of Pittsburgh may apply for grants through the Child Care Quality Fund (CCQF). The CCQF grants aim to increase the availability of high-quality early learning programs in Pittsburgh by providing funding to support facilities and/or program improvements. Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5 and Trying Together will provide assistance and manage the application process.

Full details on the CCQF grants are available on this webpage. Interested applicants may share their interest in applying for the CCQF grants via this online form. Once the interest form is received, a representative from Trying Together will follow up to assist with the application process. Grantees will be required to provide a final expense report with receipts. For questions about CCQF grants or assistance with the application, email grants@tryingtogether.org.

During the first round, 11 licensed child care facilities received a total of $387,250 in grants.

Shared Services Pilot

The Shared Services Pilot will be a year-long program that offers select child care businesses technical assistance in finance, human resources, and marketing. Later this summer, child care businesses that are interested may apply to the Shared Services Pilot. Trying Together will manage the Shared Services Pilot to begin in November 2021.

Providers located within the City of Pittsburgh can express interest in the Shared Services Pilot by sending an email to sharedservices@tryingtogether.org by August 1, 2021. Interested providers should include the name and address of their program, a short statement on their current knowledge of shared services, and how they see a Shared Services Alliance benefitting their program.

Trying Together is seeking service providers to offer human resources and financial services to a diverse mix of 12 childcare programs during the pilot year, roughly November 2021 through November 2022.

Proposals for both RFPs should be submitted electronically via email to sharedservices@tryingtogether.org by Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.

Learn more about the Human Resources RFP.

Learn more about the Financial Services RFP.

More Info

The CRiB, CCQF, and Shared Services Pilot programs listed above are made possible by:

  • Allegheny County Department of Human Services
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5
  • Office of The Mayor
  • Pittsburgh City Council
  • The PNC Foundation
  • Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
  • Trying Together

For details, watch an informational webinar hosted by Trying Together in collaboration with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the City of Pittsburgh:


Additionally, this informational flyer (PDF) provides more details regarding all three opportunities.

For questions, email info@tryingtogether.org.

News

June 24, 2021

Apply for a Children’s Trust Fund Grant

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is offering Children’s Trust Fund grants of up to $50,000 per year to support community-based child abuse and neglect prevention projects.

Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) Grant

CTF grants promote community-based primary and secondary child abuse and neglect prevention programs/projects throughout Pennsylvania. The maximum CTF grant award is $50,000 per year.

Which organizations are eligible?

Any organization located and operating in Pennsylvania that provides direct services and meets eligibility criteria can apply for a CTF grant. Selected applicants must use evidence-based or evidence-informed programs that focus on the parent, or the primary caregiver, and their child, or the whole family. The program cannot focus solely on the child.

When are funds available?

Funds are available for up to a three-year grant cycle that begins on the effective date of the grant agreement and ends on September 30, 2024. The continuation of grants each year of the three-year cycle is contingent upon the availability of funds and successful program evaluation of the project.

Do applicants need to provide a match?

Applicants must provide a minimum local match of 25 percent of the requested CTF grant award for the first year and a minimum local match of 50 percent of the requested grant award for the second and third grant years.

How Can I Apply?

Application details and forms are available on the eMarketPlace website.

    • Applicants must submit a completed copy of the Submittal (Technical and Budget, along with all requested documents) via email to RAPWRFAQUESTIONS@PA.GOV by 12 p.m. on July 19, 2021.
    • All emails should include the subject line “RFA 01-21 Application”.

The CTF Board will vote to approve the number of awards at their meeting on August 19, 2021.

More Information

If you have a question, send an email to Eric McCoy at RAPWRFAQUESTIONS@PA.GOV. All emails should include the subject line “RFA # 01-21 Question” and must be submitted by June 23, 2021, at 12 p.m. Written answers will be posted on the eMarketPlace website on July 9, 2021.

News

CDA Scholarships for Family & Group Home Providers

In partnership with OCDEL, the Pennsylvania Key is offering 100 full scholarships for Family Child Care and Group Home Providers to complete Child Development Associate (CDA) coursework through Better Kid Care.

Apply for a CDA Scholarship

Anyone interested in the scholarship should see the Frequently Asked Questions and complete the brief online application. Applications are subject to approval. Upon application approval, a one-time code will be sent to the applicant to be used during the payment process through Better Kid Care.

    • Deadline: Applications must be submitted by 8 a.m. on  Monday, June 28, 2021. Apply today!

Ask a Question

For questions or concerns, please contact Amy Barrett at amybar@pakeys.org.

 


 

Trying Together’s CDA Programs

Trying Together also offers three CDA programs that include individualized support for professionals in Pennsylvania. These programs include Trying Together’s CDA Credential Preparation Program, CDA Community of Practice Program, and CDA Renewal Program. Learn more.

News

Child Care Guidance: TB Testing & COVID-19 Vaccines

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) issued guidance for child care providers related to regulatory compliance with Tuberculin Skin Testing (TST) requirements after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

Child Care Guidance: TB Testing & COVID-19

DHS licensed child care facilities are required to ensure individuals receiving services and/or staff members receive a negative TST upon admission/hire and every two years thereafter. However, because new guidance from the CDC may impact a licensee’s ability to comply with requirements, the DHS has temporarily issued a limited suspension of the timing of TST provisions.

Do Not Delay COVID-19 Vaccination

COVID-19 vaccines should not be delayed because of testing for TB infection. Testing for TB infection with one of the immune-based methods, either the TST or an interferon release assay, can be done before or during the same encounter as COVID-19 vaccination. However, the two-step tuberculosis skin test should not be given within four weeks after the COVID-19 two-dose vaccination process.

How to Remain Compliant

Compliance with the TST requirements will be achieved provided that the licensee, individual, or staff person meets the following:

    • consults with their physician regarding the recent administration of the COVID-19 vaccination and upcoming TST;
    • obtains documentation of the COVID-19 vaccine administration, including the date of administration or written documentation from the individual’s or staff person’s physician of the necessity to defer TST; and
    • follows physician recommendations as it relates to TST as soon as possible after completing a COVID-19 vaccine schedule.

View the Full Announcement

For more information, read the full announcement. OCDEL also released answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and TB testing.

News

Keep Your Child Safe in Cars During the Heat

It is getting hot here in Pennsylvania. Keep your child safe in vehicles this summer by following these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and PA Traffic Injury Prevention Project.

Staying Safe in the Heat

Children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children younger than four years of age are among those at greatest risk for heat-related illness. When left in a hot vehicle, even with a window rolled down two inches, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times as fast as an adult. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death.

The temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in as low as 10 minutes when the outside temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.

Heatstroke

Warning signs of heatstroke include:

    • red, hot, and moist or dry skin,
    • no sweating, even though the child is warm,
    • strong rapid pulse or slow weak pulse,
    • throbbing headache,
    • dizziness,
    • nausea, and/or
    • confusion, or acting strangely.

If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately! Cool the child rapidly by spraying the child with cool water, but do not place the child in an ice bath.

Look Before You Lock

It is unsafe and bad practice to leave a child unattended in a car for any reason, even for a quick stop. In Pennsylvania, it is a summary offense. Accidentally leaving a child in a hot car is extremely dangerous. Take the following steps to ensure your child is not left in a vehicle:

    • Always check the back seat before you lock the vehicle and walk away.
    • Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving a vehicle. Put something you will need like your cell phone, handbag, or briefcase, etc., in the back seat to create a reminder to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
    • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a visual reminder that the child is in the back.
    • Distractions and/or a change in routine increase the risk of forgetting a child in a back seat. If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine is altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
    • Have a strict policy in place with the child care provider about morning drop-off.
      • If your child will not be attending child care as scheduled, the parent’s responsibility is to call and inform the child care provider.
      • If the child does not show up as scheduled, and the child care provider did not receive a call, the child care provider pledges to contact the parent immediately to ensure the child’s safety.
    • Never leave a child alone in a car.
    • Never let children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.
    • Never leave a child in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
    • Observe and Report: If you see a child alone in a car, call 911.

More Information

For heatstroke prevention information, visit the PA Traffic Injury Prevention Project website. For traffic injury prevention information, contact the Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics at 1.800.CARBELT, 484.446.3008, or see their website and resource page.