June 29, 2023

Resources for July Observances

Various organizations, states, and nations recognize a number of observances each month. Resources help parents, caregivers, and child care professionals acknowledge and navigate them.

Here is a list of resources for July observances:

Month-Long Observances

National Parks and Recreation Month

National Make a Difference to Children Month

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Days of Recognition

July 4 is Independence Day

July 14 is International Non-Binary People’s Day

July 24 is National Parents’ Day

July 25 is World Drowning Prevention Day

July 26 is National Disability Independence Day


ELRC Region 5 Requesting Feedback on Evening Phone Hours

The Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5 is asking Allegheny County families and child care providers to complete a brief survey on evening phone hour offerings.

ELRC Region 5 currently offers evening phone hours from 5 – 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. However, center leaders seek to find the best day and time to offer evening service to county families and child care providers. By completing the survey, respondents allow ELRC Region 5 to better serve the community.

The survey is just five questions. All responses are confidential and will not be shared.

Access and Take the Survey

Access and take the survey on SurveyMonkey.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the ELRC Region 5 website or call 1.888.340.3572 or 412.350.3577 for assistance.


June 28, 2023

CitiParks Announces Free Pool Access for Area Youth

The City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation (CitiParks) recently announced that it will make access to CitiParks swimming pools free to all Pittsburgh children from birth to age 15.

About CitiParks Pool Access

Previously, Pittsburgh children needed a Recreation Center Membership Tag to access pools for free.  This summer, CitiParks is waiving the Recreation Membership Tag requirement for area youths.

Season passes are still available for purchase by Pittsburgh’s adult residents.  Non-residents of Pittsburgh are also able to purchase season tags.

Find full details and the 2023 Pool Tag form on the CitiParks website.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the City of Pittsburgh website.


Allegheny County Family Resource Map Highlights Supports for Locals

Did you know the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5 offers an interactive, online tool to help families navigate area programs and services?

The Allegheny County Family Resource Map provides caregivers of young children and other residents in Allegheny County the opportunity to locate available supports closest to them.

About the Allegheny County Family Resource Map

Launched in 2020, the map highlights the addresses, phone numbers, and websites of a variety of family supports, including those on:

  • aging
  • care and education
  • employment
  • family activities
  • food
  • health
  • housing
  • new parents
  • outdoors and recreation
  • transportation, and
  • wi-fi locations

Through the map, families can find countywide resources and services closest to them, such as senior community centers, family centers, early learning programs, public schools, WIC offices, parks, libraries, food pantries, diaper banks, clinics, public housing, Port Authority bus stops, and more.

Access the Map

Access the map here or visit the ELRC Region 5 website.

Learn More

For questions or to submit a map suggestion, please contact ELRC Region 5 at 412.350.3577 or


June 27, 2023

June Recalls on Children’s Products

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

Learn More

Here is a list of June recalls collected from the following 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.


June 26, 2023

Housing Resources Available for Allegheny County and Pennsylvania Families

Local and state organizations continually offer a number of resources and programs to help families with housing, rent, utilities, and repairs. To support families in need of assistance, Trying Together compiled a list of these resources.

Find the list below.

About the Trying Together Housing Resource List

Entitled, “Housing Resources for Allegheny County and Pennsylvania Families,” the Trying Together housing resource list features information on:

  • homebuying assistance
  • mortgage and rent assistance
  • homelessness and housing insecurity
  • public and low-income housing
  • assistance with utilities
  • assistance with home improvement and repairs
  • housing mediation and legal services
  • other housing supports

Access the Trying Together Housing Resource List

Access or download the Trying Together housing resource list.

Additional Resources

For additional housing, food, employment, and safety resources, visit:

Learn More

To learn more, use any of the above links to access online information about housing resources or programs. Additional help and information can be found by calling United Way at 2-1-1.


Trying Together Shares Advocacy Tools for Families and Child Care Providers

Trying Together has created two new advocacy tools to aid families and child care providers in their efforts to impact state budget negotiations and persuade state legislators to directly invest in the workforce behind the workforce by raising child care wages.

Trying Together Advocacy Tools

Simple, everyday advocacy efforts often start with quick, common interactions between providers, educators, families, and legislators. Calling your state representative or emailing with waitlisted families are great ways to communicate challenges facing the child care industry and advocate for change. Phone and email scripts can assist on these occasions.

For Providers & Families:

Phone Scripts for Calls to State Representatives & Legislators

For Providers:

Email Response to Waitlisted Families

Take Action with PennAEYC

Tell your legislators how important child care is to you and take action in seconds. The Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PennAEYC) has constructed a tool that allows you to send an email to your legislators stressing the importance of child care with a single click.

Take action now. 

Additional Advocacy Tools

The Pre-K for PA and Start Strong PA campaigns, of which Trying Together is a partner, have also compiled advocacy tools for family and provider use. Some of these include:

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Trying Together “Take Action” page.


June 23, 2023

ELRC Region 5 Now an Infant Formula Bank

The main office of the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5 in Downtown Pittsburgh is now an infant formula bank location of the Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank.

About the Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank

Managed by Beverly’s Birthdays and their baby division, Beverly’s Babies, the Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank is a resource to support families in need of baby formula during a personal, situational, or financial emergency/crisis.

A baby can receive up to 12 cans of formula or the liquid (RTF) equivalent in his/her first year.

There are seven formula banks available for the public to directly access for support:

Allegheny County Locations

ELRC Region 5 (Main Office)

304 Wood St, 4th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

The Homewood Early Learning Hub & Family Center

7219 Kelly Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15208

McKeesport Family Center

339 5th Avenue
McKeesport, PA 15132

Hilltop Family Center

1630 Arlington Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15210

Westmoreland County Locations

Beverly’s Birthdays

11065 Parker Drive
North Huntingdon, PA 15642

Highland’s Family Center

415 Fourth Avenue
Tarentum, PA 15084

Monessen Family Center

412 Reed Avenue
Monessen, PA 15062

Find location hours and details on the Beverly’s Birthdays website.

Learn More

Details about the program are available online. Families in need can call 724-590-5106 or text pghformula to 844-511-1544.

To learn more, visit the Beverly’s Birthday’s website.


June 21, 2023

OCDEL Releases 2022 Market Rate Survey Report

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) recently released their 2022 Child Care Market Rate Survey (MRS) Report.

Data in the report reflects a challenging operating and economic environment, which child care providers continually navigate.

About the MRS Report

The MRS report is a collection and analysis of prices charged by child care providers in an open market. It includes information on private pay tuition rates, staffing, payments and fee practices, facility types, and food offerings at local programs.

OCDEL uses the report to set base reimbursement rates for Pennsylvania’s subsidized child care program Child Care Works (CCW) to ensure equal access to child care for low-income families.

2022 MRS Report

Across the state, 6,378 child care providers stayed in operation throughout the entire survey period. A total of 4,383 providers participated in the 2022 MRS, representing a 68.7% response rate.

Key Findings from the 2022 MRS Report


  • Of providers with a CCW agreement, half (50.1%) indicated that they do not usually require CCW families to pay any difference between the private tuition rate and the subsidy payment amount.
  • Family and Group Child Care Homes are more likely to require CCW families to pay the difference between the private pay rate and subsidy reimbursement amount than centers. This raises concerns about equity and access to affordable child care in these settings.
  • Among providers who did not have a CCW agreement, the most common reason for not participating was that their capacity was at full enrollment with only private pay families.

Payments & Fees

  • Providers with higher Keystone STAR designations charge more than similar providers with lower designations across all care levels and types.
  • Almost two-thirds (64.4%) of providers charge families a registration fee, with the median fee being $50. Registration fees were most often charged by centers. Incidental fees for late pickups and overdue payments were charged by most providers.
  • With so many providers requiring a registration fee, low-income families in the CCW program may face financial barriers to accessing child care. Additionally, fees for late pickups and overdue payments may cause financial strain for families who are struggling financially.


  • Over half of all providers reported unfilled job openings (54.1%), which reduced the number of children that could be served. This was most common among Child Care Centers (67.9%).
  • Only a portion of providers (36.6%) offered health insurance to any staff members. The low portion of providers offering health insurance benefits to staff members may impact the quality of care.

Food & Nutrition

  • The USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal program that provides reimbursements to providers for healthy meals and snacks — 43.3% of providers reported using the program.
  • Regardless of CACFP participation, most providers offered some meals or snacks with regular tuition.
  • The fact that over half of providers do not participate in CACFP suggests that there may be gaps in the quality of meals and snacks offered by child care providers. This could be particularly bad for children from low-income families who may rely on child care providers for healthy meals.

Access the Report

Access the 2022 MRS Report on the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) website.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Official Pennsylvania Government website.


Application Period for Early Intervention Leadership Development Program Now Open

Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania is now accepting applications for their 2023-2024 Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking Early Intervention (C2P2 EI) Cohort.

All applicants must submit their applications by 5 p.m. on Friday, August 11, though the program will begin at the end of September 2023 and run through May 2024.

About C2Pc EI

C2P2 EI is a free leadership development opportunity for families of children who are currently receiving early intervention infant, toddler, or preschool services. It supports successful applicants in attending four, two-day, in-person sessions, and four virtual sessions (eight sessions total) which give them knowledge and skills to advocate for EI.

Throughout the sessions, participants will:

  • learn about the infant/toddler and preschool early intervention system.
  • connect with other families.
  • build skills to advocate for their family and others.

Consequently, applicants must commit to participating in all eight sessions.

The in-person sessions will be held at the DoubleTree Conference Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. However, expenses, including lodging costs, mileage, and childcare reimbursement, will be provided to participants.


Eligible applicants must:

  • have a child between birth to age five who is currently receiving Pennsylvania infant/toddler or preschool EI services.
  • have a desire to explicitly advocate for themselves and others.
  • commit to participation in all eight sessions.


Interested individuals should apply using the online C2P2 EI 2023-2024 Application Form.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, August 11. Accordingly, Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania will notify applicants of their acceptance by September 1.

Learn More

This program is funded by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and Bureau of Early Intervention and Family Supports, with support from Temple Institute on Disabilities.

To learn more, view the flyer or visit the Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children website.

Please direct any questions to Sarah Holland at