August 10, 2022

Trying Together Hosts Virtual Meeting to Discuss Proposed Child Care Certification Regulation Changes

OCDEL has invited early childhood professionals to use the OCDEL Certification Regulation Rewrite Project Feedback Tool by August 19, 2022 to submit feedback on proposed changes to drafted proposed child care certification regulations. 

In preparation of the public input submission deadline, Trying Together is hosting its OCDEL Certification Regulation Rewrite Project Feedback Meeting on Tuesday, August 16 at Noon. This brainstorming session will serve to discuss proposed changes, as well as give an opportunity for child care professionals to discuss their suggested changes in a peer-to-peer environment.

This meeting will be presented virtually on Zoom.


WHEN: Tuesday, 8/16 | 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. ET

Please register in advance for this meeting:



Visit our recent post on the Certification Rewrite Project to learn more about the process, timeline, and how to participate.


November 1, 2021

COVID-19 Best Practices for Child Care: Cohorting Strategies

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has developed best practices for early learning professionals navigating COVID-19 protocols in their child care programs. The third topic is cohorting strategies.


To keep child care providers informed on the latest best practices for keeping children, staff, and families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Key created a webpage that highlights recommended best practices.

The latest information is about cohorting strategies in child care programs. “Cohorting” or assigning staff and children to groups every day limits the number of close contacts they have and lowers the risk for spread of COVID-19.

Strategies include:

  • assigning children to small groups and trying to keep them the same every day, to the greatest extent possible.

  • Assigning staff to individual groups and avoid mixing with other groups.

  • Tracking which groups come together (including children’s and staff’s names) and the timeframes they are together.

  • Staggering use of communal spaces such as indoor large motor spaces, active play areas, playgrounds, gyms, halls, cafeterias, etc.

  • Prioritizing outdoor drop-off and pick-up, if possible, and staggering them, if possible.

More Information

For more information about best practices on face coverings, indoor air quality, and cohorting, visit the PA Key website.


October 7, 2021

Pittsburgh Child Care Career Openings

Are you looking for open child care positions? Early learning programs in the Greater Pittsburgh Area are hiring! See this week’s featured jobs.



Child Care Positions in Pittsburgh


Early Childhood Educator

Angels’ Place, Inc. is seeking a full-time Early Childhood Education Lead Teacher for their location in Swissvale. Angels’ Place is a non-profit family support organization serving single, full-time student and working parents and their children. The ideal candidate would have an associate’s degree or higher in ECE and experience working with at-risk families. Salary commensurate with education and experience.

Early Childhood Assistant (EAIIA)

Pittsburgh Public Schools Early Childhood Program is seeking an Early Childhood Assistant to support the classroom teacher in carrying out an educational program preparing children for school readiness. Candidates must hold an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree (any content area) or current Preschool CDA (Child Development Associate) Credential. Experience in working with early childhood (preschool) students is preferred. City of Pittsburgh residency required.

    • Apply: To apply, visit the Pittsburgh Public Schools website, click “Apply Now,” and create an account. This position is listed under Central Office and School Based Support.

Lead Pre-K Teachers

Hilltop Community Children’s Center is looking for two Lead Pre-K Teachers. A Pre-K teaching certification is required.



Submit a Job

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

All jobs submitted after Tuesday each week 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


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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September 22, 2021

Free or Reduced-Cost Lead Testing

Individuals who have concerns about lead levels in their water supply may be eligible to receive free or reduced-cost assessments of paint, dust, soil, and water.

Obtaining an Assessment

As part of the local “Get the Lead Out, Pittsburgh” initiative, coordinated by the nonprofit Women for a Healthy Environment, individuals may be eligible for a free or reduced-cost lead risk assessment.  Fill out this form to register.

The Allegheny County Health Department also provides some free resources to qualifying households. These resources include blood lead level testing for children who are uninsured or underinsured and free full home lead assessments for households with children whose blood lead levels are elevated by the Center for Disease Control’s standards (above 5 ppb). The ACHD’s “Get Ahead of Lead” resource list contains more information and instructions for who to contact.

Additional Information

Individuals who are not able to qualify for free or reduced-cost can access a list of water authorities that said they offer or help to facilitate residential drinking water tests. Public Source Pittsburgh has information on how to read these findings and private companies who perform lead tests.


June 28, 2021

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 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


March 25, 2021

Homewood Father Funds His Son’s Future

Through the Homewood Early Learning Hub & Family Center, families participated in Fund My Future – a program in which all families in Pennsylvania save for college and other post-secondary goals. This program provides sessions for caregivers related to financial goals and open savings accounts for their children. Fund My Future offers monthly prizes as an incentive for participating in this program.

Mark, a single father of 11-year-old Elijah, completed the Fund My Future Three-Part Saving Series in December 2020. He was a participant of the first cohort hosted by the Homewood Early Learning Hub and Family Center, where he is involved in the weekly program, Fathers Trying Together.

Through Fund My Future, Mark learned about opening a PA529 account for his son, accessing his credit reports during the COVID-19 pandemic, how to receive one-on-one financial counseling, and the importance of saving for his son. In an interview with Fund My Future, he stated that he “will use the information he learned to help his son manage his money so that when he gets older he will have developed the habit of saving and managing money.”

More Information

For more information about The Homewood Early Learning Hub and Family Center and participating in Fathers Trying Together, please visit the Trying Together website.



December 17, 2020

COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan for Pennsylvania

On December 11, 2020, the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force and Pennsylvania Department of Health released a COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan for Pennsylvania (PDF). The goal of the interim COVID-19 vaccination plan is to provide a transparent strategy to vaccinate all Pennsylvanians who want to be vaccinated so that Pennsylvanians can return to everyday activities as quickly and safely as possible.

At this time, early childhood education professionals including teachers, school staff working directly with students, child care employees, and early intervention staff fall under the 1B category (page 14), defined as essential business personnel who cannot work remotely or maintain social distancing.

A variety of factors influence the distribution of vaccinations, including vaccine supply levels, number of critical personnel requiring the vaccine, and vaccine storage requirements. The vaccine supply is projected to increase quickly over the proceeding months, allowing vaccination efforts to be expanded to additional critical populations and the general public. It is important to note that recommendations on the various population groups to receive initial doses of the vaccine could change after the vaccine is available, depending on each vaccine’s characteristics, vaccine supply, disease epidemiology, and local community factors. The Pennsylvania Department of Health will follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) ACIP recommendations in identifying populations of focus.

More Resources for COVID-19

To best support these community members and the young children in their lives, Trying Together has created two resource lists, featuring helpful resources that families and educators can use to maneuver this difficult time.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Allegheny County Health DepartmentWorld Health Organization (WHO), or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.


September 17, 2020

Recess Helps Students Reach Their Full Potential

As we begin a very different school year, the Recess Advocacy Team continues to elevate play and provide support to educators and families. Recess is key to helping students reach their full potential within the classroom and beyond. Several studies show that recess increases children’s attention span and productivity in the classroom.

New Resources from the Recess Advocacy Team

Send a letter to your child’s teacher

The Recess Advocacy Team updated their student letter asking teachers to remember the importance of play to reflect our current times.
(1) Download the letter
(2) Enter information for the teacher, your child’s name, and your name in the editable boxes
(3) Save the letter with your information
(4) Send the electronically signed letter via email

If your child is attending school in person, you can still download, print, and share a hard copy.

Play and Physical Activity Resource Guide for Educators and Families

The Recess Advocacy Team compiled a list of resources for educators and families to make sure play and physical activity are a part of childrens’ days and serve as a foundation for their learning, growth, and development. This list includes resources, activities, and considerations for ensuring play shows up in our daily lives—and ways that educators and families can incorporate play/physical activity into children’s learning. Families are encouraged to share this resource when sending the letter to the teacher.

Learn More About the Recess Advocacy Team

The Recess Advocacy Team is a group of organizations dedicated to health, wellness, education, and play with a focus on recess practices and policies in pre-k through sixth grade. You can learn more about the Recess Advocacy Team on the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative website.


April 18, 2019

Interview with Family Check-Up Staff

Using a family-centered and collaborative approach, The Family Check-Up (FCU) model aims to promote child and family well being by providing parents with new skills and tools to strengthen family relationships.

The program includes an initial interview followed by an assessment of the family’s strengths and needs. Using motivating strategies, tailored goals are then developed to meet the unique needs of each family. A final feedback session provides insight on possible follow-up services and an opportunity to continue building parenting skills through Everyday Parenting Curriculum.

For more than 20 years, research has shown positive outcomes in early childhood and adolescence for children whose families participated in FCU. The FCU has helped parents improve their skills and confidence. Benefits of this include a reduction in family stress, conflict, and challenging behaviors displayed by pre-schoolers, school-aged children, and teens. The FCU has also been found to lower family stress and conflict.

To schedule an appointment, contact:

  • Adriana Chung | 412.727.6649

Parents and caregivers can also visit Adriana in her office. She is at the Homewood-Brushton Family Support Center every day of the week except for Tuesdays. Note that she may be in a session at the Center or out on a home visit, but if you are willing to wait, she is always happy to schedule appointments in person and answer any of your questions.



We interviewed Adriana Chung, Family Coach at the Center, to learn more about her experience working Family Check-Up.


How did you become interested in working with families?

Originally, I wanted to work with children, so I started as a child therapist. But through my work with young children with developmental delays and behavioral/emotional challenges, I realized that I couldn’t do the work without building relationships with their caregivers. So I would have sessions with the children alone, complementary sessions with parents alone, and then joint sessions with both of them together as well.

How long have you been here at the Center, and what was your first impression?

I’ve been working at the Center since August 2018, so about seven months now. The Center was very impressive in a lot of ways, but what stood out to me most was the culture here. It’s very family-like, not just the physical space but even the relationships among staff members, and between staff members and the families. There is a sense of genuine care and compassion for one another.

What can families expect when coming to their first Family Check-Up (FCU)?

Parents may find that FCU sessions are different from standard parenting and family management programs. There is a bidirectional relationship, even in the very first session, which is called “Getting to Know You.” The goal is not just for me to get to know the family but for them to get to know me and the FCU as well. We ask questions about one another. Everything starts with building a trusting relationship. We have different conversations about family values, traditions, and beliefs, and we focus on the strengths of the family in that initial meeting and what is going well for them, but through that we are still able to address parent’s questions or concerns.

How have the families impacted you?

They have impacted me in a lot of different ways, but mostly they are teaching me about resilience, which looks different in every family and exists on both individual and family levels. They are also showing me a huge sense of connectedness. I’ve noticed families look out for one another and for each other’s children. I think it may be the culture of the community, so I’m learning about Homewood values as well.

What do you find most satisfying about your interactions with families? What is most challenging?

I was encouraged to find that most families have already begun thinking about making changes in their personal lives and the way they approach parenting. This makes my work so much easier – we begin a step ahead of the game because they are already motivated to talk about those things. Also, the parents genuinely want the best for their children. I’ve seen this in every single parent I have met and am working with. I can feel it.

Most challenging to my work here has been being the new person. There is an established culture at Family Support. Most of the families have been participating here for longer than I have. They’ve known each other and the staff for longer as well. Because I’m new, and I’m from a different state and city, I have to take time to build trust.

What are some common goals that you see often in parents who come to you for services?

That really varies actually. Some parents want to be able to understand and communicate with their child better. Others want to improve the parent-child relationship and instill openness and honesty. Also, some come to improve their relationship with their partner, improve their co-parenting skills so they can resolve differences around parenting more effectively, which they know affects their well-being. Finally, some parents desire to improve their own well-being because they know that it impacts that of their child. At the end of the day, all of them are really concerned about the child’s well-being and don’t want to jeopardize it, so their goal is to address whatever is getting in the way of their parenting and their child’s well-being.

What’s the biggest misconception that parents have about therapy?

Many parents have this idea that therapy or counseling is only for people who have diagnoses or have been severely traumatized and aren’t able to function on a daily basis. I think that stigma may keep some people away. Confidentiality can be another issue at a Center like this where the relationship is very family-like. I want everyone to know that everything is strictly confidential unless I fear that someone’s safety is at risk.

How is working with a parent different from working with other individuals?

The biggest difference is that whatever we’re talking about is going to impact the child. The same thing goes for any goals being set; they will impact the child and the parent-child relationship, even in the case of a parent who feels depressed or wants support in managing their stress. I use a parenting framework, so it’s not just about how the parent themselves can cope with that stress, but we may also explore how that level of stress impacts the way the parent responds to their children, so I bring that perspective into every appointment.

What has been your biggest success in this role?

Well, I can’t say that I made this happen by myself, but I feel that the number of families that have participated in the FCU is a success. The Family Development Specialists have helped me a lot. They are like gatekeepers to the Center, and they are great at facilitating my ability to build relationships with the families since they have built theirs already. More than half of the families enrolled at the Center have had at least one session with me, and that makes us all feel good. We collaborate well, and we are a great team.


April 24, 2018

Wolf Administration Announces Selection for New Regional Centers to Support Child Care Services

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) announced the selection of regional Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs), created to improve the quality of and access to early learning services in the state and help families identify the best child care options that meet the needs of the child(ren) while offering connections to additional services, such as a child care subsidy.

“The Wolf administration believes that all children and families should have access to high-quality child care,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “The announcement of ELRCs is groundbreaking for Pennsylvania’s comprehensive early learning system. The department looks forward to supporting integrated, innovative agencies as they increase access to and continue quality-building for early learning programs.”

Through the ELRC, child care professionals can obtain support in building quality outcomes for children by working with quality coaches to achieve Keystone STAR 3 and 4 status, building connections with community partners, and supporting children and families in accessing additional services, such as PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start, home-visiting, and Early Intervention.

Learn more at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website.