April 24, 2023

Westmoreland County Chamber Hosts Summit to Address Child Care Crisis

Area lawmakers, child care providers, and members of the business community met at Westmoreland County Community College on Thursday, April 20 to discuss concerns about a historic staffing shortage within the child care sector and its impact on the economy and working families.

About the Summit

Entitled, “Supporting Our Workforce: Child Care in Westmoreland County,” the event was organized by Start Strong PA and the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with:

It featured several speakers, including Pennsylvania State Representatives George Dunbar and Eric Davanzo, General Manager of Live! Casino Pittsburgh Sean Sullivan, Queens College Economist Dr. Clive Belfield, Executive Director of Trying Together Cara Ciminillo, and CEO of the Greensburg YMCA Suzanne Printz, all of whom detailed new research regarding the impacts of the child care crisis.

Summit Highlights

  • Sullivan noted impact that limited child care options has on the workforce, saying, “When parents don’t have reliable, affordable, and quality child care, their work suffers which has an impact for both the employee and employer.”
  • Belfield, who conducted the research for the recent ReadyNation report which revealed that gaps in the Pennsylvania child care system cost employers and taxpayers about $6.65 billion annually, cited the report. He explained that 60% of parents surveyed reported being late for work, leaving work early, or missing full days of work due to child care problems. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they quit due to child care struggles.
  • Ciminillo referenced a new Start Strong PA study showing the average child care teacher in Pennsylvania earns $12.43 per hour or less than $25,844 per year.Our research shows that 50 percent of early learning educators say they do not plan to or are unsure of whether they will remain in their jobs in the next five years due to low wages,” Ciminillo said. 
  • Printz noted that child care providers can’t just raise teacher wages because families are already struggling to afford the costs of care.
  • Participants referenced the dire impact that low wages are having on the availability of care and a recent Start Strong PA survey that revealed more than 3,600 open staff positions across the state, resulting in more than 1,500 closed classrooms with a combined waitlist of more than 35,000 children.
  • Participants discussed a series of action steps for both policy makers and the private sector to better ensure affordable high-quality child care for Pennsylvania’s working families. Private sector actions included flexible working schedules, child care referrals, tuition assistance programs, dependent care flexible spending accounts, and even on-site care. For policy makers, participants stressed the urgent need for the Commonwealth to help implement and pay for a wage scale for child care teachers that will help providers better compete in the current labor market.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the the Start Strong PA website.


September 22, 2021

2021 National Prenatal-to-3 Research to Policy Summit

The National Prenatal-to-3 Research to Policy Summit will be held virtually only on Thursday, October 7, 2021. Join thousands of policymakers, scholars, and practitioners across the country to learn how to strengthen state policies that impact the foundational prenatal-to-three development period, starting with rigorous evidence.

More Information

Registration to attend this virtual and free event via the online registration form. Sessions will include:

  • Top Takeaways from States

    • Through all the challenges of the past year, many states have remained committed and increased investments that strengthen systems impacting the prenatal to age 3 period (PN-3). Hear directly from state leaders about what actions they’ve taken and what lessons they’ve learned over this historic year.
  • 2021 Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap Release

    • The annual Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap is the go-to guide for the field that details which specific state policies and strategies are most impactful on the PN-3 development period and where states are on each of them.  The new 2021 Roadmap has been streamlined and is packed with new data to incorporate into your work.
  • Same Family, Different Support

    • State policy choices have a significant impact on the resources available to families. See the Roadmap come to life in a unique in-depth analysis of how a set of state policy choices leads to substantial variation in the resources available to a sample family of three – a single mother with an infant and a toddler, who works full time at a minimum wage job – based on the state in which they live.
  • On the Horizon

    • Through systematic, rigorous reviews of research, the Policy Impact Center works to identify which state investments best support the most sensitive and rapid period of a child’s developing brain and body. Hear about our newest reviews of the evidence on promising and innovative prenatal-to-3 policies and strategies, including the child allowance, fair work scheduling, and more.


December 16, 2020

Preparing for ECE Advocacy in 2021

Are you interested in learning about newly elected state legislators, the budget process, and forthcoming policy agenda priorities? Join Trying Together on January 20 for our free virtual workshop, “Connections and Conversations: Preparing for ECE Advocacy in 2021.”


Connections and Conversations Virtual Check-Ins are interactive sessions that highlight topics of interest to the field of early childhood education. This conversation will focus on preparing professionals to advocate for early childhood education (ECE) investments and policy priorities in the new year.

Instructors will discuss newly elected state legislators in our region and how to best inform them about the needs of the early learning field. The instructor will also provide foundational knowledge on the beginning stages of the budget process – the Governor’s budget address. Finally, the instructor will discuss forthcoming policy agenda priorities and how participants can be more involved as advocates for their profession.

Session Details

    • Session Date: Wednesday, January 20  |  6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
    • Instructors: Emily Neff
    • Core Knowledge Area: Professional and Leadership
    • CDA Content Area: Maintaining Professionalism
    • Registration Deadline: Monday, January 18, 2021


To register, visit the course PD Registry page. Space is limited. Participants will receive the course Zoom link via email within 24 hours before the start date for the course. PQAS credit will be available.

If you do not have a PD Registry account, please complete this online form to create one. If you are unable to create an account, please contact for more information.

Session Rules and Guidelines

These virtual discussions are designed to provide educators the opportunity to grow professionally and share knowledge on early childhood topics. During the meeting, participants should follow the guidelines below to ensure a successful virtual meeting for all participants.

    • Please allow all participants a chance to speak. Listen respectfully and actively.
    • Commit to learning about each other, not to debating the topic.
    • Embrace differences of opinion as healthy and support each person’s authentic self-expression.
    • Participants will be muted for the beginning portion of the session.
    • Participants may use the “Raise Hand” feature in Zoom to request an opportunity to comment or ask a question. Individuals will be temporarily unmuted by the moderator.
    • Participants may type a comment or question in the Chat or may send comments or questions directly to the moderator for them to share.
    • To receive PQAS credit, you must complete an evaluation at the end of the session and include your PD Registry number.
    • Have fun, make connections, and engage in the conversations!

More Information

For questions or more information, contact Jasmine Davis at


December 10, 2020

Infants and Toddlers Face Racism Too

Are you interested in gaining new insight into how racism shapes our lives from our earliest days? Join ZERO TO THREE on December 17 for their online event, “Continuing the Dialogue: Infants and Toddlers Face Racism Too.”


During this event, presenters will share excerpts from the session “Infants and Toddlers Face Racism Too: Science, Practice, and Policy.” Session participants will hear how racism affects America’s youngest residents, discuss this topic together, and learn about strategies and resources that can help address racism and advance equity in early childhood systems, services, and programs.


To register, visit the event registration page.


December 2, 2020

Simple Interactions + Anti-Racism and Equity

Are you interested in learning how to encourage, enrich, and empower human relationships in your work with young children? Join Simple Interactions on January 28 for “Simple Interactions + Anti-Racism and Equity.”


During this session, participants will brainstorm ways to advocate for equity and social justice and empower marginalized communities with the work on human relationships. The Simple Interactions Team will share their reflections briefly, then will go into break-out rooms with participants to discuss and listen.

This will be a facilitated conversation with the Simple Interactions Team, including Dr. Dana Winters, Emma Lee, and Dr. Annie White of the Fred Rogers Center, Dr. Junlei Li of Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Dr. Tom Akiva of the University of Pittsburgh.

Available Times

This session is available at the following times:

    • Thursday, January 28  |  12 – 1: 15 p.m.  | Register
    • Thursday, January 28  |  7:30 – 8:45 p.m.  |  Register

More Information

To learn more, visit the Simple Interactions website.


October 28, 2020

Listen to Black Women: What’s it like to be a Black Woman in Pittsburgh?

Are you a Black woman in Pittsburgh who is interested in sharing your experiences with other Black women in Pittsburgh? Join the Black Women’s Policy Agenda on November 14 for “Listen to Black Women: What’s it like to be a Black Woman in Pittsburgh?


Fixing Pittsburgh’s problems starts with listening to Black women! That’s why the Black Women’s Policy Agenda has launched a survey and is facilitating a series of community conversations where Black women share their experiences with other Black women. This event is designed to elevate the voices and experiences of Black women in Pittsburgh. It’s the first step to building collective power among Black women, advocating for the needs of Black women, and advancing policy to achieve racial and gender justice in this region.

Take the Survey

The Black Women’s Policy Agenda is conducting a survey to hear from 250 women in the Pittsburgh region to discover how they are dealing with the double crisis of COVID-19, anti-Black violence, and being a Black woman overall. To complete the survey, visit the Black Women’s Policy Agenda website.


To register, visit the event webpage. Participants will receive a $25 gift card.

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September 30, 2020

Digital Media Literacy: A Deeper Look

Are you interested in exploring guidance on technology and digital media use with young children? Join Trying Together on October 8 for our virtual session, “Digital Media Literacy: A Deeper Look: NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center Position Statement.”


This professional development course is designed for educators and administrators to critically examine and develop a deep understanding of the intentions and guidance of the NAEYC Fred Rogers Center position statement. The course will encourage reflective practices to positively influence teaching, policy development, and dialogue about young children and technology.

Session Details

    • Session Date: Thursday, October 8, 2020  |  6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    • Instructor: Katherine Gullone
    • Core Knowledge Area: Professional and Leadership
    • CDA Content Area: Maintaining Professionalism
    • Registration Deadline: Tuesday, October 6, 2020


To register, visit the course PD Registry page. Space is limited. Participants will receive the course Zoom link via email within 24 hours before the start date for the course. PQAS and Act 48 credit available.

If you do not have a PD Registry account, please complete this online form to create one. If you are unable to create an account, please contact Jasmine Davis at for more information.

More Information

For questions or more information, contact Jasmine Davis at


September 8, 2020

Policy Change: Parents Caring for Their Own Children in Child Care

OCDEL’s Bureau of Policy and Professional Development recently released Announcement 20 #15 which explains changes to the policy regarding parents and caregivers caring for their own children in a child care setting during the COVID-19 pandemic-related Proclamation of Disaster Emergency. This policy change is effective as of September 1, 2020. Read below to learn more.


For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic-related Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, the current policy will be revised to allow for parents and caregivers to provide care for their own children in a child care facility. This change allows a parent or caretaker who is a teacher, assistant teacher, or aide in a classroom at the same child care facility where their children are enrolled to have their children in their classroom.

Parents and caregivers will be able to receive subsidized child care payments for their children as long as there is another paid teacher, assistant teacher, or aide present in the classroom for a majority of the day. Additionally, there must be at least one other child in the classroom, that is not the child of the parent or caregiver, for which the parent or caregiver is caring for.

More Information

For more information, read the full announcement.


April 6, 2020

COVID-19 Impact on Child Care Survey Now Available

Many states, including Pennsylvania, have ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their physical spaces as a mitigation effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). While lists of impacted businesses often include gyms, movie theaters, and clothing stores, they also often include a critical service that impacts families and caregivers across the nation: child care.

To better understand the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on families and caregivers, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has launched a detailed survey and is seeking submissions from the public.


On March 12, 2020, NAEYC launched a survey asking child care programs to share the challenges they were expecting to face and to comment on what they needed to protect children, families, and our nation’s supply of child care programs. NAEYC received responses from 11,500 educators in family child care and center-based programs across the country, which has helped shape federal and state responses to the pandemic. 

Now, several weeks into the pandemic, as many states take action and a federal stimulus bill has passed, NAEYC is launching a more detailed survey with the intention to help organizations and policymakers understand the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and the solutions that have been put forth thus far.

Complete the COVID-19 Impact on Child Care Survey

This survey is for everyone, including center-based programs, family child care programs, and others. However, not all questions may apply to your specific situation. Please complete the survey and fill out applicable questions to help NAEYC gather a range of perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on child care. To participate, please visit the survey page.

More Information

For questions, please contact NAEYC at or 800.424.2460. For more information on COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page here.


March 26, 2020

COVID-19: Legislative and Regulatory Roundup

Join the NIHCM Foundation, Alliance for Health Policy, and Commonwealth Fund on March 27 for their COVID-19 webinar series.


This COVID-19 Webinar Mini-Series will synthesize the information in the headlines to provide cohesive insight into the status of the response and remaining gaps in the system that must be addressed to limit the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. This week, Congress is set to pass the third major legislative package in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This webinar will offer a high-level analysis of the policies that Congress and the administration have pursued to date and what we can expect in the coming months.


To register and learn more, visit the event webpage.