October 30, 2021

Drive-Up Food Distribution in Pittsburgh

Drive-up food distribution sites are available in Allegheny Valley, Duquesne, McKeesport, West End, and Wilkinsburg. Individuals and families can obtain at least 50 pounds of food in one or more pre-packed boxes. There is no required proof of eligibility, but advance reservations are required.

Make a Reservation

To make a reservation, go to the Pittsburgh Food Bank website or call the Food Bank at 412.460.3663, ext. 655. Reservations open four weeks before each event and close at 5 p.m. the day before the distribution. View a list of locations and times.

For the safety of those at the event, walk-ups are not permitted at drive-up distributions. If you do not have a vehicle, you may have another individual drive you to pick up food. Each household must complete a reservation to receive food. The same car and license plate can be used up to three times for the same event. There are no exceptions to one reservation getting one share of food. For one car to get two or three shares of food, the car must have more than one family or household.


October 29, 2021

Search for Child Care in Your School District

The Allegheny Child Care Finder Tool now has a new filter to search for available child care in your school district. When navigating the finder tool, the school district filter can be found by choosing “More Filters”.

About Allegheny Child Care

Allegheny Child Care is a unique pilot project that was developed to support the care and education needs of families. Caregivers and parents of young children can search available spots at all early learning, after school, summer camp, and virtual programs in Allegheny County in real-time with the Allegheny Child Care, After School, and Summer Camps finder tool.

The Allegheny Child Care initiative is: managed by Trying Together in partnership with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, and Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST, an initiative of the United Way of Southwestern PA); with additional support from the City of Pittsburgh; and was developed in collaboration with Child Care Aware of AmericaThe Heinz Endowments, and technology partners BowtieBrightHive, and BridgeCare.

Additional Information

For additional support in finding care and education environments and with funding needs, visit the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5 website or call 412.350.3577.



October 28, 2021

It’s Not Too Late to Sign Up for Child Tax Credit Payments

Families can still enroll to receive the advance Child Tax Credit payments or change their information with the IRS. Families can use the CTC update portal to check their eligibility for advance payments or payment status, change their address or bank account information, and opt out of advance payments. If a married couple filed jointly, they must each make their own account and make any updates in both accounts. The ability to add children born in 2021 is not available.

What do families need to do?

Getting Ready for Next Tax Season

Families who are receiving advance CTC payments must file a tax return next year to receive the other half of the Child Tax Credit. Families will receive a letter from the IRS in January 2022 that has the total amount of advance payments they received. This letter can be used when preparing their taxes to make sure they received the correct amounts for the advance payments. Any missed payments can be claimed on their 2021 tax return.

The tax season will run from January-April, and families can make an appointment for free tax preparation by calling 2-1-1 in mid-January 2022.


Just Harvest is available answer questions over phone and email, at 412.431.8960 (choose the tax help option), or at Individual appointments are available until November 15th, 2021.


October 27, 2021

Patient Care Technician Training Available

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is offering a four-week paid training program for Patient Care Technicians. Training includes instruction on how to assist with activities of daily life; instruction in patient hygiene and comfort; and how to obtain and record vitals and other health indicators. Upon successful completion of the training, participants will be considered for part-time or full-time employment.

Additional Information

The four-week training takes place from Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Applicants much be at least 18 years old and:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
    Possess general computer skills
  • Pass a background check

Note that other conditions may apply. Interested individuals can contact 412.482.3365 or


October 26, 2021

Hotline to Assist Pandemic EBT Recipients

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) has launched a live hotline to assist families with the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program.


Pennsylvanians who have not received their child’s P-EBT benefits or have an issue with P-EBT can dial 484-363-2137 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

P-EBT is designed to help eligible families cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches their children would have been eligible to receive for free or at reduced price through the National School Lunch Program in child care or school settings that closed temporarily or permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Families can use their P-EBT benefits to purchase almost any food item in a typical grocery store, and the program follows the same rules as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).


According to an announcement by the DHS, more than one million children in Pennsylvania are eligible for P-EBT and more than 757,000 cards have now been activated by families who choose to use the benefit. DHS has received approximately 30,000 requests to reissue lost cards or cards that were never delivered.

Staff are monitoring the phone line and webform, and they are responding to inquiries and mailing replacement cards when they are requested. While parents may experience long wait times on the hotline initially, DHS is continuing to hire and train additional staff to help families resolve outstanding inquiries as quickly as possible.


October 25, 2021

Impact Project to Rewrite PA Child Care Regulations

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has announced that an Impact Project with the National State Capacity Building Center will focus on rewriting Pennsylvania’s child care regulations with a lens toward equity, quality, and decreasing provider burden.


This rewrite will be an opportunity for the early childhood and school-age community in Pennsylvania to co-create regulations in a way that builds stakeholder confidence in the process and:

  • Increases alignment with quality improvement

  • Promotes greater equity; and

  • Decreases burden experienced by child care providers

OCDEL is seeking providers to participate in an Early Learning Council (ELC) Subcommittee that will provide feedback on the draft regulations. Learn how to apply – applications must be submitted by November 19.


OCDEL anticipates beginning the work of the ELC subcommittee in the winter of 2021-2022. The earliest that regulations could be finalized for publication is fall of 2024.

More Information

Visit the Certification Rewrite Page on the Pennsylvania Key’s website to view a video from Deputy Secretary Tracey Campanini, and learn more about the process, timeline, and how to participate.


October 21, 2021

Strengthening Business Practices for Child Care Providers

The National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, in partnership with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the PA Key, is offering a new curriculum series, Strengthening Business Practices for Child Care Programs.

Learn More

The training content and activities are designed to strengthen child care providers’ foundational knowledge of sound fiscal management and business operations.

The series contains four modules:

  • Budgets, Projections, and Planning

  • Financial Reports and Internal Controls

  • Marketing for Child Care Programs

  • Staff Recruitment and Retention for Center-based Child Care Programs

There are two versions of this series: one for center-based providers and one for family child care (based) providers. Sessions will begin as early as November and as late at February. See this flyer for session dates and registration details.

Trainings are available at no-cost to participants. PQAS and ACT 48 available. Attendance of full series is required for credit.


PA Providers Talk About Child Care Crisis in New Video

The Start Strong PA campaign has created a new video featuring Pennsylvania child care providers and parents as they talk about how the staffing crisis is impacting their business and ability to work.

Stories From the Field

Child care is crucial to many parents’ ability to work. However, child care providers are struggling to recruit and retain staff, leaving families across Pennsylvania unable to find and afford the care options they need.

Last month, the Start Strong PA Campaign partners issued results of a new survey detailing the current child care staffing crisis in 1,163 child care programs across Pennsylvania. Those results showed:

  • Nearly 26,000 children currently sit on waiting lists.
  • More than 34,000 additional children could be served at respondents’ sites if they were fully staffed.
  • 92% of respondents reported staffing shortages.
  • 51% of respondents have closed at least one classroom.

Now you can hear directly from those PA child care providers and parents in this newly released video about how the staffing crisis is impacting their business and ability to work.


October 20, 2021

Online Toolkit to Support Multilingual Students in Pre-K to Third Grade

Early Edge California and American Institutes for Research (AIR) released the Multilingual Learning Toolkit last month, an online hub of research-and evidence-based instructional resources and strategies on how to best-support multilingual learners (MLs) in grades pre-k to three.

Additional Information

The Multilingual Learning Toolkit website provides an overview of foundational principles of dual language learning and development. Additionally, educators can access a wide variety of instructional strategies and resources related to the following areas:

  • Family Engagement
  • Social-emotional Health and Development
  • Classroom Environment
  • Oral Language Development
  • Literacy Development
  • Bilingual Classrooms
  • Home Language Development
  • Additional ELD Strategies
  • Content Learning
  • Assessment
  • Building Educators’ Capacity

New resources will be added on an ongoing basis. While the Toolkit draws heavily from California-based policies, programs, and resources, practitioners across the country may find value in accessing this online hub of research-based, asset-focused principles.


2021 Children’s Mental Health Report

In light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Child Mind Institute recently released a report on children’s mental health. This report examines ongoing research, including a survey of thousands of parents conducted by Child Mind Institute.

Additional Information

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Children’s moods during the pandemic were most closely related to the lifestyle changes they’d experienced.
  • Children’s mental health three months before the pandemic began was the factor more closely correlated with their mental health during the pandemic.
  • There is a connection between economic hardship and mental health outcomes.

The full report can be accessed on the Child Mind Institute website. Additionally, tips for caregivers and educators on how to support mental health and learning are available for download.