February 28, 2023

February Recalls on Children’s Products

Parents and caregivers should be aware of several child-related product recalls.

Learn More

Here is a list of February recalls collected from the major federal agencies: the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

More Information

For recall details, visit the links above or review the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration websites.


February 24, 2023

Request for Applications: PA Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is requesting applications for Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships (EHSCCP).

Partnerships are made possible by an EHSCCP grant, and forty partnership opportunities are available. Applications are due by March 20.

About EHSCCP and the EHSCCP Grant

Pennsylvania’s EHSCCP grant enables partnerships between high-quality child care providers and OCDEL, which provide funded child care to infants and toddlers.

All providers who meet eligibility standards are encouraged to complete an application for consideration.


To apply for an EHSCCP opportunity, child care providers must:

  • have and maintain a STAR 3 or 4 rating
  • provide full day (10 hours or more) and full year care to infants and toddlers (ages 6 weeks – 3 years) of income-eligible, working or student families or caregivers
  • adhere to all Head Start Program Performance Standards and OCDEL Early Head Start (EHS) policies including:
    • meeting a staff to child ratio of 1:4
    • maintaining a maximum group size of eight children
    • providing two qualified, in-room staff members at all times
    • assigning children to primary care groups
  • retain or hire qualified staff to work in EHS classrooms
    • EHS classroom staff must have an Infant Toddler CDA and/or a degree in Early Childhood Education.
  • facilitate ongoing staff coaching with an OCDEL EHS coach
  • maintain full enrollment and fill vacant slots within 30 days
  • participate in Child Care Works (CCW)
  • continue to provide care to children who lose their CCW until they transition from the program
  • never unenroll children due to loss of subsidy
  • utilize GoEngage data system (previously known as MyHeadStart)
  • work collaboratively with the comprehensive service provider holding their contract, if applicable
  • waive any fees typically charged to enrolled families, except for subsidy co-pays

How to Apply

To apply, complete the application below:

EHSCCP Application

Applicants must submit their applications via email. Send completed applications to by Monday, March 20.

Learn More

The OCDEL EHS Team will host a Q&A via Zoom to address questions about the requirements of the grants and the application process, and to provide general information about EHSCCP on Thursday, March 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pre-registration is not required.

To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.


February 23, 2023

Members for New Pittsburgh Advisory Committee for Youth and Family Resource Centers Named

City of Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and City Council President Theresa Kail-Smith recently named the members of the new Advisory Committee for Youth and Family Resource Centers in their joined effort to tackle youth violence in Pittsburgh.

The nine-member committee will find ways to utilize existing city assets to launch resource centers. These centers will serve as a safe spaces for children and youth, while providing support services for families in need.

About the Advisory Committee for Youth and Family Resource Centers

Pittsburgh City Council chose five members of the committee and Gainey chose the remaining four members.

 Members of the Advisory Committee for Youth and Family Resource Centers include:

As chosen by the Pittsburgh City Council:

  • Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess
  • Councilman Anthony Coghill
  • Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle
  • Ricky Moody – Community Health and Human Services Policy Manager
  • Diane Hobson – Community Engagement Specialist

As chosen by Mayor Ed Gainey:

  • Lisa Frank – Chief Administrative and Operations Officer
  • Kathryn Vargas – Director Parks and Recreation
  • David Jones – Assistant Director of Community Affairs, Department of Public Safety
  • Education Coordinator – Office of the Mayor Ed Gainey

Learn More

The committee will soon convene their initial meeting. In this meeting, they will discuss their meeting schedule, public engagement, and timeline for their strategic plan to open up city owned facilities in areas being impacted by youth violence.

To learn more, visit the City of Pittsburgh website.


February 22, 2023

ELPA Poll Shows Strong Support for Investments into Early Childhood

A new poll, commissioned by the Early Learning PA Coalition and conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research from February 1 – 7, 2023, found that 98% of PA voters believe that early childhood education is important. The poll also showed strong voter support for increased investment for early care and education programs like pre-k, high-quality child care and home visiting services.

There has been significant growth in voter’s overall support from a June 2022 poll, where 90% of voters said they found early childhood education to be important.

Poll Details

Partners of the Early Learning PA Coalition released the new polling data on voter support for early childhood care and education programs during a press conference held on Tuesday, February, 21, 2023 at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg, PA.

According to the poll:

  • 78% of PA voters support increasing state funding to serve more eligible children in pre-k programs, which is an increase from 65% in 2022;
  • 78% of PA voters also support increasing state funding to help more low-income working families afford high-quality child care, up from 67% in 2022;
  • 68% of PA voters support increasing state funding to provide voluntary home visiting services to eligible families , up from 60% in 2022; and
  • 81% of PA voters favor allocating state funding to increase wages of child care workers.

“As we start budget season here in Harrisburg, the partners of the Early Learning PA Coalition urge Governor Shapiro and all members of the General Assembly to respond to this level of voter support for growing the Commonwealth’s investments in early care and education,” said Kristen Rotz, President of the United Way of Pennsylvania and principal partner in the Early Learning PA Coalition. “Pennsylvania must make these programs more accessible to children and families that qualify and further stabilize and strengthen the system by addressing historic teacher shortages caused by low wages.” said Rotz.

Visit the Pre-K for PA Facebook page to watch the February 21, 2023 press conference in full.


Office for Civil Rights Issues Fact Sheet on Diversity & Inclusion Activities

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released a fact sheet for educators, parents, and students on the legality of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training in federally funded spaces.

The fact sheet confirms that DEI training and similar activities are generally consistent with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In most circumstances, they are permitted in states, school districts, public schools, and public and private colleges.

About the Fact Sheet

This fact sheet was created in response to confusion regarding the legality of diversity, equity, and inclusion activities in schools. It clarifies that federal civil rights laws do not categorically prohibit schools from offering activities such as instruction on the impact of racism, cultural competency training, or school climate surveys.

Download the Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet: Diversity & Inclusion Activities Under Title VI | English

Fact Sheet: Diversity & Inclusion Activities Under Title VI | Spanish

About Title VI

Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. Activities intended to further objectives such as diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion are not prohibited under Title VI.

Title VI allows activities such as:

  • diversity, equity, and inclusion training
  • instruction in or training on the impact of racism or systemic racism
  • cultural competency training or other nondiscrimination trainings
  • efforts to assess or improve school climate, including through creation of student, staff,
    and/or parent teams, use of community focus groups, or use of climate surveys
  • student assemblies or programs focused on antiharassment or antibullying
  • investigations of and issuance of reports concerning the causes of racial disparities within a
  • use of specific words in school policies, programs, or activities, such as equity, discrimination,
    inclusion, diversity, systemic racism, or similar terms

Learn More

OCR is responsible for the enforcement of Title VI. To contact OCR for technical assistance, call 1-800-421-3481 (TDD: 1-800-877-8339) or email

The Department of Education also funds regional Equity Assistance Centers, which provide technical assistance and training at the request of school boards and other related governmental agencies on issues such as racial harassment, prejudice reduction, and other issues occasioned by desegregation. To contact the Equity Assistance Centers, visit the Department of Education’s website.

To learn more at


February 15, 2023

Home Grown Child Care Shares Tax Guidance for Home-based Child Care Providers

Home Grown Child Care has partnered with Civitas Strategies to develop a tax workbook for home-based child care providers. “Preparing for Tax Season: A Guide for Home-based Child Care Providers,” is available in English and Spanish.

About the 2022 Tax Workbook

This tax workbook was created to provide home-based child care providers with timely guidance on navigating tax preparation. It is designed to simplify the process of completing taxes and to alleviate tax-based stress by providing step-by-step guidance on tax work.

Home-based child care providers can share this resource with a tax professional or use it to complete their own taxes.

Download the 2022 Tax Workbook

Download the workbook in English

Download the workbook in Spanish 

Learn More

To learn more about Home Grown Child Care’s 2022 tax workbook, visit the Home Grown Child Care website.

To find tax guides for all child care providers, visit the “New Tax Guides for Child Care Professionals,” Trying Together webpage.


February 14, 2023

NAEYC Report Quantifies Impact of Recent Child Care Challenges

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has released a report on the results of their fall survey. Entitled, “Uncertainty Ahead Means Instability Now: Why Families, Children, Educators, Businesses, and States Need Congress to Fund Child Care,” the report quantifies the impact of recent child care challenges.

About the NAEYC Survey and Report

The NAEYC survey was conducted in October 2022 using SurveyMonkey.

The resulting report represents the responses of 12,897 individuals working in all states (including 941 individuals working in Pennsylvania child care programs) and early childhood education settings, including faith-based programs, family child care homes, Head Starts, and child care centers. It is intended to present the experiences of the respondents, as captured in the moment that they took the survey.

Summary of Pennsylvania Survey Data

Data on Stabilization Grants

Over the course of the pandemic, Pennsylvania utilized federal relief funding to stabilize the child care sector. This included one-time bonuses for child care teachers and increased subsidy payments for providers to increase staff salaries. However, this relief funding will soon end. As a result of the end of pandemic relief funding:

  • 62% of Pennsylvania child care center directors reported that they will have to raise tuition
  • 29% of Pennsylvania child care center directors reported they will have to cut staff salaries

Data on Staffing and Supply

  • 57.7% of Pennsylvania child care center directors reported serving fewer children than they would like, primarily due to staffing shortages
    • 65.8% of Pennsylvania child care center directors reported currently experiencing a staffing shortage
  • 33.7% of Pennsylvania early childhood educators (ECE) indicated “yes” or “maybe” to considering leaving their job or closing their family child care home
    • 45.8% of family child care providers indicated “yes” or “maybe” to considering leaving their job
    • 35.4% of ECEs in minority-owned child care businesses indicated “yes” or “maybe” to considering leaving their job
    • 9.9% of ECEs in non-minority-owned child care businesses indicated “yes” or “maybe” to considering leaving their job
    • However, the majority of ECEs indicated competitive wages would convince them to stay at their jobs.

Data on ECE Workforce Well-Being

  • 34.9% of Pennsylvania respondents reported experiencing financial insecurity in the last year, despite 54.7% reporting an increased wage
  • Additionally, 78.6% of Pennsylvania respondents indicated that burnout/exhaustion contributed “greatly” or “to some extent” to problems retaining teachers

NAEYC Recommendations

NAEYC recommends that congress build on the successes of child care funding to prioritize additional, sustainable investments.

These investments ensure programs and educators can meet the needs of families, children, and businesses, and states can continue to build towards an early childhood education system that works.

Learn More

To learn more about the NAEYC survey results, read the full report.


February 13, 2023

Nominations for the 2023 Fred Rogers Institute Helper Awards Now Open

The Fred Rodgers Institute recently announced the inaugural Fred Rogers Institute Helper Awards.

Informed and inspired by the legacy of Fred Rogers, the Helper Awards are an opportunity to honor and recognize the individuals who care for children in ordinary and extraordinary ways in their daily and professional lives.

Nominations for the awards are now open and will be accepted through Monday, May 1, 2023.

About the Fred Rodgers Institute Helper Awards

Helpers will be selected across the following categories:

  • First Responders (such as Police Officer, Firefighters, etc.)
  • Healthcare Professionals (including Medical and Mental Health)
  • Early Childhood Educators or Administrators
  • Elementary Educators or Administrators
  • Middle Grades Educators or Administrators
  • High School Educators or Administrators
  • Post-secondary Educators or Administrators
  • Out of School Time Educators (Librarians, Museum Educators, Afterschool Educators, Camp Counselors, Coaches)
  • Community Leaders (such as Religious Leaders, Activists, Community Organization Leaders, etc.)
  • Everyday Helpers (Crossing Guards, Bus Drivers, Neighbors, etc.)

Winners will be honored at The Neighborhood Gala at the Fred Rogers Institute in the fall of 2023.

Learn More

To learn more about the Fred Rodgers Institute Helper Awards or to nominate someone for an award, visit the Fred Rodgers Institute website.


February 9, 2023

Shapiro Administration Urges CHIP Recipients To Update Contact Information

The Shapiro Administration and the Department of Human Services (DHS) is urging anyone enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, also known as Medical Assistance (MA), to update their contact information.

Under new federal law, continuous MA eligibility will end on April 1, 2023. By keeping contact information up-to-date, recipients of MA and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will receive timely, necessary updates about their coverage and benefits.

About Changes Medicaid Eligibility

Changes to MA eligibility come following passage of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. These changes force states to resume normal MA renewal determination processes after April 1, 2023. Prior to this passage, pandemic aid allowed individuals to remain enrolled in MA, even if they became ineligible.

No one will lose their health coverage without having an opportunity to complete a renewal. Renewals will be completed over 12 months, with March renewals being first affected by the end of continuous coverage.

If a person is found ineligible for their current coverage, their MA coverage will end. Additionally, if a person does not complete their renewal on time, their coverage will end.

Government employees will direct those who become ineligible for coverage to other sources of affordable medical coverage, like CHIP and Pennie, Pennsylvania’s health and dental insurance marketplace.

Preparing for Renewals

Individuals can find the timeline for their renewal on COMPASS or the myCOMPASS PA mobile app.

Anyone can set up a COMPASS account. If they have a mobile device, they can download the myCOMPASS PA mobile app for free.

Instructional videos on downloading and using the myCOMPASS PA app are available on DHS’s YouTube channel.

Those without computer or mobile access can call DHS’ Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930 or 215-560-7226. The Customer Service Center is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. These individuals also have the option to visit their local County Assistance Office.

Updating Contact Information

Pennsylvanians whose contact information or personal circumstances have changed can use COMPASS to make the following updates to their case file at any time:

  • Changes to the number of people living in your household
  • Changes to your email address
  • Changes to your phone number
  • Changes to your mailing address

COMPASS also allows users to sign up to receive e-notifications about their benefits. Additionally, DHS encourages Pennsylvanians to opt-in to text messages to receive information about their benefits.

Keeping information up to date will help Pennsylvanians receive reminders about their annual benefit renewal quickly so they can prevent an avoidable lapse in coverage or services.

Medicaid recipients can update their contact information on the COMPASS website.

Learn More

If you sign up to receive text messages and receive a text from the number 1-833-648-1964, it is not a scam. Messages sent by DHS via text will never ask you for personal information, and you should not provide it. These are intended to be reminders about your benefits and other important information about programs administered by DHS and the federal government.

DHS, along with other agencies across the Commonwealth, will continue to conduct outreach, informing MA recipients of these upcoming changes via mail, text, email, and phone calls.

For more information on the end of continuous coverage for MA and CHIP, visit the DHS website.


February 8, 2023

URA Offering Funds for Low-Income and First-Time Homebuyers

Low-income and first-time homebuyers looking to purchase a home in the City of Pittsburgh may now qualify for a grant from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)’s OwnPGH grant program.

The URA and First Commonwealth Bank will host an OwnPGH information session on Wednesday, February 22 at 10 a.m. in the lower level conference room of the URA office (located at 412 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15219). Attendees will have the chance to hear more about the homeownership program and talk one-on-one with URA and First Commonwealth Bank representatives.

For more information on the session, visit the OwnPGH Information Session event page.

This article was updated on February 15, 2023 to include information on the OwnPGH information session. 

About the OwnPGH Program

The OwnPGH program seeks to promote affordable homeownership opportunities within the City of Pittsburgh. It provides grants and second mortgage financing for homebuyers at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI).

Participants in OwnPGH may receive up to $90,000 in grants and forgivable loans from the URA and the city’s housing authority, with $50,000 available in grants and $40,000 available in loans.

Additionally, eligible borrowers may qualify for the Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program (DPCCAP), which provides them an additional $7,500 in forgivable loans.

Who can apply?

  • Individuals who pre-qualify for a home loan through one of URA’s three bank partners.
  • Individuals who do not exceed 80% of AMI.
  • Individuals who would like to own a property within the City of Pittsburgh. Properties outside of City of Pittsburgh do not qualify for OwnPGH assistance.

Learn More

View OwnPGH income limits, find contact information for participating bank partners, and learn how to apply by visiting the Urban Development Authority website.