September 15, 2021

DHS Enforces Mask Mandates in Child Care

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has issued clarification about the minimum necessary documentation that must be maintained by a child care provider to demonstrate a masking exemption and the enforcement actions that the Department of Human Services will take for noncompliant licensed child care providers.

Comply with Masking Mandate

Since September 7, 2021, all staff and children in K-12 schools and licensed child care facilities have been required to wear face coverings under an order issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Child care providers striving for compliance can work closely with certification representatives for strategies and resources to maintain full compliance.

Failure to implement measures for staff and children to follow the order subjects a child care provider to the following child care licensing enforcement actions:

  • Initial citations for non-compliance.

  • Failure to return a license inspection summary with an acceptable Plan of Correction (POC) within ten (10) calendar days after notification of noncompliance may result in the DHS denying, refusing to renew or revoking your certificate of compliance.

  • A downgrade to a Provisional Certificate of Compliance as a result of noncompliance to the order will result in the inability to apply for, or receive, a Child Care Stabilization Grant.

  • Continued non-compliance may result in continued enforcement action up to and including issuance of an Emergency Removal Order. Citations will not be issued to providers where there are temporary instances when staff and children are not wearing their face mask but there is intent to comply with the order.

Process for Exemptions to the Face Covering Order

Any child care facility simply permitting a parent’s/caretaker’s sign-off without medical documentation that the child has a medical or mental health condition or disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering is not in compliance with the order.

Under the order, child care facilities must require all individuals, two years of age and older, to wear face coverings unless the individual has an exemption. While there are exceptions, a parent’s/caretaker’s opposition to the order is not one of them.

Before an individual is exempt from the face covering requirements, all alternatives to a face covering, including a face shield, are to be exhausted.

Parents/caretakers indicating their child is exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition must have individualized documentation from the child’s physician. Form letters and parental/caretaker notes are not sufficient for documentation of compliance.

Parents/caretakers and staff must submit appropriate documentation that is signed by a medical professional to the child care provider by September 21, 2021.

More Information

For more information, read the full masking order and OCDEL’s Announcement C-21-08: Compliance with Acting Secretary of Health’s Face Covering Order. For more news, visit our news page.


Open Child Care Positions in Pittsburgh

Are you looking for open child care positions? Early learning programs in the Greater Pittsburgh Area are hiring Preschool Head Teachers, Child Care Teachers, and more! See this week’s featured jobs.



Child Care Positions in Pittsburgh

Preschool Head Teacher

The University of Pittsburgh’s Child Development Center is looking for a talented early childhood professional to work with three-year-old children. The center is a play-based, accredited program located close to Pitt’s campus.

Early Childhood Educator

Cyert Center of Carnegie Mellon University is seeking Early Childhood Educators to work with children ages 12 months through five years of age.

Child Care Teacher

All About Kidz is looking to hire full-time and part-time Child Care Teachers to work with infant through school-age classrooms.



Submit a Job

Each week, Trying Together highlights employer-submitted jobs on our website, social media, and in our newsletter.

All jobs submitted after September 21 will be published in the following week’s news post. Publication dates may vary due to state and federal holidays. Unrelated jobs will not be included.

For questions, contact Kara Bayer at



Other Jobs in Early Childhood

See More Child Care Positions

To see which other child care programs are hiring, visit our older news posts:

ECE Hire

Visit the ECE Hire website to view early childhood education job listings and helpful tips on interviewing, resumes, and more.

Submit a Job to PACCA

Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA) offers a Job Board for its members to post jobs for free and sends out submitted jobs via their Facebook page and e-newsletter. PACCA members can submit jobs online after signing into their membership account. For questions, contact Maureen Murphy at



Receive Jobs in Your Inbox

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Supporting Children through Responsive Interactions

Did you know that your simple, everyday interactions with young children build their brains? That is right! Responsive interactions, also known as “Serve and Return,” are essential to supporting the healthy development of young children.

What are Responsive Interactions?

According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Serve and Return is about “responsive interactions between children and the people who care for them.” 90 percent of the brain develops before age five, which means early childhood is a critical period of learning and growth. By ensuring that your child has access to caring, responsive relationships with adults, you build your child’s brain and help them reach their full potential.

What is a Serve?

The term “serve” refers to moments where a child is reaching out to you for attention. This could be through eye contact, pointing, facial expressions, crying, babbling, touch, speech, gestures, and more. While these serves may seem like small, everyday interactions, they actually play a big role in your child’s learning and development.

What is a Return?

The term “return” refers to moments where an adult recognizes a child’s serve and responds appropriately through eye contact, gestures, facial expressions, speech, or another relevant response. Caregivers can also name what a child is seeing, doing, or feeling to make important languages connections to the action or interaction.

What does Serve and Return look like?

Serve and Return can be broken down into five easy steps:

  1. Notice your child’s serve and shift your attention to what they are looking at.
  2. Return your child’s serve by offering support or encouragement.
  3. Name what your child is seeing, touching, hearing, tasting, or doing.
  4. Keep the interaction going. Take turns, keep it going back and forth.
  5. Practice beginning and ending activities.

Learn More

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has developed several resources on responsive interactions with young children. To learn more, visit their website or check out these resources:

For more news, visit our news page or sign up to receive our digital newsletters.


September 14, 2021

STEMIEFest: Support STEM Learning with Young Children

Attend STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Fest (STEMIEFest) this October to learn how to support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math learning with young children!

What is STEMIEFest?

Hosted from October 4 – 8, 2021, STEMIEFest is a five-day interactive learning experience that discusses strategies and opportunities to support STEM learning with young children. Attendees will hear from STEMIE staff, STEM and inclusion experts, museums, and other organizations doing amazing work in the field of early STEM education.


Registration will be available later in September. For now, save the date (October 4 – 8, 2021)! Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and/or professional learning certificates will be available.


All sessions will include ASL interpreters and captioning. Sessions will also be available in Spanish.

Last Year’s Sessions

For examples of what STEMIEFest 2021 could look like, check out last year’s sessions:

Learn More

To learn more, visit the STEMIEFest web page. For more news, visit our news page or sign up to receive our digital newsletters.


Campaign Strives to End Lead Poisoning in Pennsylvania

Approximately 8,000 children in Pennsylvania are poisoned by lead every year. The Thriving PA campaign wants to change that.

Lead Poisoning in Pennsylvania

According to Colleen McCauley, Health Policy Director at Public Citizens for Children and Youth, there are 8,000 children in Pennsylvania who are poisoned by lead each year. Exposure to high levels of lead may lead to negative health and developmental outcomes, including:

    • damage to the brain and nervous system,
    • slowed growth and development,
    • learning and behavior challenges, and
    • hearing and speech problems.

Lead poisoning is also a racial equity issue. Five times more Black children and two times more Hispanic children are poisoned by lead than White children in Pennsylvania. Lead poisoning is 100 percent preventable, and the Thriving PA campaign is looking to end it in the state.

What is the Thriving PA campaign?

The campaign seeks to:

    • secure a dedicated pot of state money to get lead out of kid’s homes,
    • screen more kids for lead, and
    • improve services for children who are poisoned by lead.

The campaign also focuses on perinatal health, children’s health insurance, prenatal nutrition, and children’s nutrition. To learn more, watch the video below.




Access a Comprehensive Guide

The Lead-Free Promise Project released a comprehensive guide for Pennsylvania health care providers and other child-serving professionals with critical follow-up resources for children poisoned by lead. The guide includes crucial information on:

    • how to get free home lead inspections for children with Medicaid and CHIP,
    • connecting low-income families with free programs,
    • assisting higher-income families with lead paint removal, and
    • how to access care management staff in Medicaid and CHIP health plans.

Download the full guide.

More Information

For more information, visit the Thriving PA website. For more news, visit our news page.


September 13, 2021

Celebrating National Kinship Care Month

Celebrated in September, National Kinship Care Month recognizes and celebrates the grandparents, aunts, uncles, relatives, and non-relatives who care for children when they cannot safely remain with their parents.

National Kinship Care Month

When children are unable to live with their parents, it is critical that they live with someone they know and trust. This helps to create a sense of security, community, and cultural identity and can reduce the trauma of being removed from their home. Kinship care refers to circumstances where grandparents, extended family members, and other adults with family-like relationships with children take on the primary caregiving role when biological parents are unable to do so.

Unfortunately, not all children who are removed from their parents have an opportunity to live with their kin. National Kinship Care Month is a reminder of the important work of keeping children connected to their kin. Additionally, it is a great time to thank the caregivers who are supporting children both inside and outside of the child welfare system.

2020 Statistics

In 2020:

    • more than 68,000 children were informally being raised by kin without a parent present,
    • over 6,000 children in Pennsylvania were being raised by kin formally through the child welfare system, and
    • for every one child raised by kin through the foster care system, it is projected that there are 10 children being raised informally.

The KinConnector Program

Pennsylvania’s KinConnector program provides valuable resources to kind who are caring for children informally or formally through the child welfare system. Every Wednesday in September, the program is hosting virtual information forums on a variety of topics, including:

    • financial assistance,
    • legal rights,
    • education and child care,
    • mental health,
    • and more.

These events are open to the public. To register and learn more, visit the event page.

More Information

For more information, visit the KinConnector website. For more news, visit our News page.


Pittsburgh Celebrates Welcoming Week 2021

From September 10 – 19, you are invited to celebrate the rich cultural fabric of Pittsburgh through Welcoming Week 2021. Events will be held to bring together immigrant and U.S.-born neighbors.

What is Welcoming Week 2021?

On September 10, Mayor William Peduto’s Welcoming Pittsburgh initiative kicked off Welcoming 2021, a national celebration recognized locally that brings together immigrant and U.S.-born neighbors for community-based events to promote pride in the rich cultural fabric of Pittsburgh.

Join the Celebration

Join the celebrations by participating in the following events!

Watch the Welcome, Neighbor Video Series

Daily “Welcome, Neighbor” videos are available on Welcoming Pittsburgh’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Stories from local Pittsburghers will be posted each day at noon from September 10 – 19.

Watch a New Play

The Rivers Don’t Know is a new theatrical play at City Theatre that tells the story of immigrants and refugees in Pittsburgh from the 1940s to the present day. It runs from September 10 – 18, 2021. Each performance will feature an Artisan Marketplace with food, crafts, merchandise, art, and food.

Other Events in Pittsburgh

Additional Pittsburgh Welcoming Week events include:

    • Universal Representation Roundtable
      September 13, 2021  |  5:00 p.m.  |  Live on Welcoming Pittsburgh’s Facebook

      Learn how community advocates across Pennsylvania have worked to establish a program for the legal defense of people facing deportation and how Mayor Peduto and Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia have supported the work.

    • Naturalization Ceremony
      September 16, 2021  |  10:00 a.m.

      Join the City of Pittsburgh for a public event to celebrate the naturalization of new American citizens!

    • Special Announcement
      September 17, 2021  |  12:00 p.m.  |  Live on Welcoming Pittsburgh’s Facebook

      Join Mayor Peduto as he makes a special announcement about Pittsburgh’s welcoming work.

More Information

Welcoming Pittsburgh is guided by the Welcoming Pittsburgh Roadmap, a comprehensive citywide plan for immigrant, refugee, and New American advocacy. To learn more, visit the Welcoming Pittsburgh website. For more news, visit our news web page.


September 10, 2021

Free Family-Friendly Events in Pittsburgh

Now through October 10, 2021, family-friendly events will be hosted for free throughout Pittsburgh as a part of RADical Days 2021.

Free Family-Friendly Events

Hosted from September 9 through October 10, 2021, RADical Days features free admission, tours, performances, and family activities offered by organizations and attractions that are funded by the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).

September Events

Here are some of the events hosted in September:

    • Free admission at the Carnegie Science Center.
      September 12, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  |  Get Timed Tickets
    • Free admission at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens.
      September 14, 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.  |  Make a Reservation
    • STEM-based activities at Sto-Rox Public Library.
      September 15, 12 – 5 p.m.
    • Free tours and activities at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.
      September 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  |  Call 412.565.6000 to reserve a time.
    • Pirate & Princess Party at South Park Theatre.
      September 19, 1 – 5 p.m.
    • Free tours of Heinz Field.
      September 21, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  |  First-come, first-served. Enter at Gate B.
    • Musical performances and vendors at Pittsburgh Musical Theater.
      September 25, 2:30 – 4 p.m.
    • Free choral classes at Pittsburgh Girls Choir.
      September 28, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. (1st – 3rd graders) or 6 – 7:30 p.m. (4th – 8th graders)
    • Free events on the Northside by Northside Corridor.
      September 30, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

To learn more and view all events, download the full schedule.

More Information

For more information, visit the RADical Days website. For more news, visit our news page or subscribe to our digital newsletters.


September 8, 2021

City Council Considers Assured Cash Experiment Initiative

The Pittsburgh City Council will consider an Assured Cash Experiment initiative that seeks to combat poverty and inequality through unrestricted monthly cash transfers.

Inequality in Pittsburgh

According to a 2019 Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race report, Black women and children in Pittsburgh are more likely to live in poverty than in comparable cities. Pittsburgh’s Black women are five times as likely (and twice as likely as white women) to live in poverty.

In response to this, the Office of Mayor Peduto designed a guaranteed basic income policy to address the poverty inequitably faced by Black women in Pittsburgh communities.

What is the Assured Cash Experiment Initiative?

Assured Cash Experiment PGH (AcePGH) is a guaranteed basic income pilot that seeks to combat poverty and inequity in the City of Pittsburgh. The initiative would provide an unrestricted $500 monthly cash transfer to 200 people in the city. 100 of those participants will be Black women.

How would participants be selected?

The 200 participants must be 18 or older and will be recruited in two groups:

    • 100 Black women who live in the City of Pittsburgh and earn at or below 50% of the area median income who participate in Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Centers, an initiative of Mayor Peduto’s Office of Equity.
    • 100 City of Pittsburgh residents randomly selected from five disadvantaged zip codes citywide.

What will participants receive?

Participants would receive a monthly payment of $500 on a debit card to spend on what they or their families need for 24 months. Findings from other pilots show participants most frequently use cash to meet their basic needs like food, merchandise/wholesale, and utilities.

How would the program be funded?

The City of Pittsburgh will join cities nationwide in utilizing relief funds from the American Rescue Plan to fund part of the program through OnePGH, a nonprofit organization that is supported by public and private investment to allow for the collaboration of local government, business, philanthropy, and nonprofits to improve the lives of all Pittsburghers.

The program will also be funded through grants from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and MGI.  See how other cities are defining and funding their pilot programs.

Guaranteed Basic Income in History

Guaranteed basic income was championed by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King who said that poverty could be eradicated by providing every American a direct, guaranteed middle-class income. He argued that other programs to address poverty were less effective because, as he wrote, “they are indirect.” He continued, “Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else.”

Learn More

To learn more, read the full press release. For more news, visit our news page.


COVID-19 Prevention in Schools: Updated CDC Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their guidance on COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools.

COVID-19 Prevention in Schools

On August 4, 2021, the CDC updated its guidance on COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools to recommend universal indoor masking for all students, staff, teachers, and volunteers (regardless of vaccination status). The guidance also includes recommendations for fully vaccinated people and updated considerations for contact tracing in schools.

What does the guidance include?

In addition to the updated guidance on universal indoor masking, recommendations for fully vaccinated people, and updates to contact tracing in schools, the webpage includes information on:

    • prevention strategies to reduce the transmission of COVID-19;
    • promoting equity in learning and health;
    • creating emergency operation plans;
    • resources to support school screening testing programs; and
    • additional considerations for K-12 schools such as disability or other health care needs, visitors, recess, physical education, food services, sports, etc.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the CDC website. For more news, visit our news page or sign up to receive our digital newsletters.