October 18, 2019

ACF Seeks Input On Improving Quality Child Care Access

On October 2, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) posted a Request for Information (RFI) on improving access to affordable, high-quality child care in the United States.


ACF is focused on finding innovative solutions to improve working families’ access to affordable, high quality child care, as well as investigating how access to child care affects America’s workforce, present, and future. Child care is one of the biggest expenses a family faces and can be a barrier to work. The average cost of center-based infant child care in 28 states is more than college tuition.

At the same time, there is concern about the quality of child care and ensuring that child care settings are a place of education that promote and enhance child and youth development and well-being. High-quality child care is a critical investment that pays off now, for parents by enabling them to work, and later, by supporting children’s development and success in school and life. This request for information seeks public comment on innovative ways to address the affordability and access crisis of child care in the U.S., without compromising on quality.

Information collected through this RFI may be used by ACF in the development of future rulemaking and technical assistance, the formation of legislative proposals and research agenda, and/or strategic planning. To learn more, visit the RFI page.

Intended Audience and Stakeholders

AFI is looking to receive input from a wide range of stakeholders, including, but not limited to, parents who use child care; parents of children with disabilities; small child care businesses; employers; state and local chambers of commerce; foundations; faith-based and other community organizations; family child care networks; child care resource and referral agencies; universities and other institutions of higher education; child care workforce development organizations, etc.

RFI Topics

    • Building Supply of Child Care
    • Improving Child Care Regulations
    • Cultivating the Child Care Workforce
    • Developing Better Child Care Business Models
    • Transforming Financing of Child Care and Early Education Programs

Submit Your Comment

To submit a comment, visit the RFI page. All comments must be submitted by December 2, 2019.

*Information provided by the Administration of Children and Families


July 18, 2019

Eye Contact with Babies Increases Information Coupling

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that shared eye contact increases information coupling between infant and adult brains.


Communication is a fundamental part of life, especially when considering the early learning and development of a newborn child. In conversation, we use different types of social signals, both verbal and non-verbal, to share meaning with others. These signals can include things such as mimicking facial expressions, vocal tone, and eye contact. However, a recent study concluded that eye contact in specific can be a powerful tool to increase information coupling between infants and adults.

Information Coupling

In the study, researchers state that “previous research indicates that when communication is successful, close temporal dependencies arise between adult speakers’ and listeners’ neural activity.” Through these dependencies, an individual that’s communicating with another person can have varying levels of influence on the other person’s neural activity. In short, this coupling acts as a form of “social connectedness,” where the actions, reactions, and expressions of a person impacts how another person’s brain responds.

For adults interacting with young children, using social signals such as direct eye contact can bring the child and adult’s “brains into temporal alignment, creating a joint-networked state that is structured to facilitate information sharing during early communication and learning.” Temporal alignment between adults and infants is important, as it “plays a vital role in supporting early learning across multiple domains of language, cognition, and socioemotional development.”

Infants spend a lot of time looking at the faces of others, interpreting the way their facial features move, where their eyes shift to, and how their voices sound. And as they rely on these social cues to interpret meaning in their daily life, direct gaze is thought to be one of the most important cues for individuals and infants to infer communicative intent. Babies prefer to look at the face people who are looking right at them, with direct gaze even reinforcing the social responses that babies produce and their ability to recognize face-related information.


In conclusion, adults working or living with infants should consider using direct eye contact frequently with their child. Whether an adult is playing with, reading with, bathing, or even singing a nursery rhyme to a child, shared eye contact can act to build strong communication and information sharing between the two.

To learn more about the importance of speaker gaze, read the full report.

Article Citation

Leong, Victoria, et al. “Speaker Gaze Increases Information Coupling between Infant and Adult Brains.” PNAS, National Academy of Sciences, 12 Dec. 2017,


July 9, 2019

New Clearance Required for Child Care Providers

Due to a federal requirement under the reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), child care providers are required to complete a new clearance—the National Crime Information Center/National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR).


The NSOR clearance will verify that a check of the National Sex Offenders Registry was conducted and if the individual can or cannot work for a regulated child care provider. This clearance is required in addition to a Child Abuse History Clearance, Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check for Employment or Volunteers, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Fingerprinting.

There is no fee for the NSOR clearance.


The following individuals must complete the NSOR verification certificate by July 1, 2020:

    • any individual 18 years or older residing in the child care facility;
    • all individuals working for Regulated Child Care Providers;
    • any individual with an ownership interest (corporate or non-corporate) in a Regulated Child Care Provider and who participates in the organization and management of the operation.

Application Process

By late summer/early fall 2019, there will be a paper application process for the NSOR clearance, and in late fall there will be an electronic process in place at

Learn More

For more information on required clearances, visit the Keep Kids Safe website.

Share this handout with your network.

*Information provided by the PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning


July 3, 2019

Refugee and English Learner Access Day

Want to learn more about the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and other local organizations? Join Literacy Pittsburgh and the Library on July 28 for Refugee and English Learner Access Day!


Refugee and English Learner Access Day (R.E.A.D.) is an opportunity to enjoy fun informal activities, tour the Library, chat with people from local community organizations, get a library card, and find out more about local literacy services. Light refreshments will be available.

More Information

For more information, contact Shayna at or 412.622.3151.


May 16, 2019

Foster Care Awareness and National Mental Health Month

Did you know that May is Foster Care Awareness Month and National Mental Health Month? In recognition of these important subjects, Every Child Inc. has highlighted information and statistics for individuals to consider as we work to better support Pennsylvania’s children, families, caregivers, and community members.



Foster Care Facts

    • Approximately 13,000 – 15,000 PA children are currently in foster care and part of the child welfare system.
    • Between 400,000 – 500,000 children in the U.S. are in foster care each year.
    • In 2013, more than 8,000 youth 13 and older lived in the foster care system in PA.
    • One in four PA youth who “age out” of the system experience homelessness and/or struggle with mental health challenges such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders, with nearly 1 in 4 youth having been arrested since leaving care.
    • Young PA women in foster care are two and a half times more likely to become pregnant by 19 than young women were not in foster care.

Mental Health Facts

    • ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children.
    • Treatment rates vary among different mental disorders:
        • Nearly 8 in 10 children (78.1%) aged 3-17 years with depression received treatment.
        • 6 in 10 children (59.3%) aged 3-17 years with anxiety received treatment.
        • More than 5 in 10 children (53.5%) aged 3-17 years with behavior disorders received treatment.
    • Mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders begin in early childhood:
        • 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.


February 15, 2019

Homewood Block Party

Young children and their families are invited to join an afternoon of free activities, food, performances, and information from Trying Together and our community partners on Saturday, April 27, 2019, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Kelly Street in front of The Homewood Early Learning Hub.

Tablers for the block party include:

  • Pittsburgh Public Schools
  • MAYA Organization
  • Richard’s Imagine Center of Hope, Inc (RICH)
  • Homewood Concerned Citizens Council (HCCC), The Oasis Project
  • The Maker’s Clubhouse
  • Allegheny Land Trust
  • The University of Pittsburgh’s Community Engagement Center (CEC)
  • Homewood-Brushton YWCA
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
  • Trying Together, Buzzword/Pgh Cultural Trust
  • Allegheny County Health Department – Housing and Community Environment
  • Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center (FEC)
  • Kenny’s Homewood
  • Homewood Children’s Village (HCV)
  • C.C. Busy, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
  • Fund My Future
  • Science Tots
  • Childcare Alliance.

Activities include face painting, balloons, free library, Imagination Playground, a science show, and a Zumba presentation!

More details coming soon. Share this PDF flyer with your networks.


December 13, 2018

DHS Releases Request for Information

The Department of Human Services (DHS) recently released a Request for Information (RFI) to explore existing individual or family needs assessments, methods of connecting individuals and families to community resources, and models for providing whole-person or whole-family case management.


The department recognizes the frustration individuals and families may experience while trying to access much-needed services in a timely manner when receiving case management from multiple agencies. DHS wants to make it easier for individuals to obtain meaningful information and access to the services they need to achieve overall wellbeing, positive health outcomes, and financial self-sufficiency. Their goal is to build a system that addresses each family’s needs and amplifies the work of health care providers and community organizations.

Submissions and Deadlines

If your organization has experience in any of the areas outlined in this RFI, respond by January 18, 2019 by visiting the Pennsylvania eMarketplace website.

*Information provided by PA Early Ed News