News

August 13, 2019

Community Members Encouraged to “Call It Child Care”

In June 2018, the Pennsylvania state legislature passed House Bill 1677 to update Pennsylvania’s regulations and code to use the term “child care” rather than “day care” to reflect the work of early learning programs more accurately.

Trying Together worked closely with the bill’s prime sponsor, Representative Jason Ortitay, who represents Allegheny and Washington counties. To further support this effort, Trying Together is launching the “Call It Child Care” initiative.

Why Call It Child Care?

Trying Together recognizes that shifting commonly used language can be difficult. However, by using the term “child care” instead of “day care,” you recognize that:

1. The impact of child care is much longer than a day.

    • Early childhood programs support lifelong success for children and families.
    • Research has shown that high-quality child care builds a strong foundation from which children grow and thrive.
    • By having access to early care and education programming, families experience multi-generational benefits, with young children achieving higher test scores and graduation rates, committing fewer crimes, and earning higher wages, to name a few.
    • Caregivers are able to reenter the workforce, increasing the financial stability of the family and the long-term professional success of the caregiver.

2. The words we use matter.

    • The words we use affect the public’s perception of the early care and education field and affect the field’s own accountability in providing high-quality care.
    • Using “child care” rather than “day care” recognizes the important work of these professionals, in addition to the work children put in to learn, develop, and grow.
    • Accurate language is critical to gaining respect, validation, and investments in currently under-resourced systems.

3. “Child care” acknowledges the complexity of high-quality early care and education programs.

    • High-quality child care programs employ, develop, and retain educated credentialed staff.
    • Child care professionals use a curriculum, lesson plans, and family engagement activities to promote the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development of the children they serve.

How You Can Help

Please join us in the coming months as an advocate for the “Call It Child Care” initiative.

If you’re an early care and education professional, use the term “child care” when speaking about your work and update your materials as needed. If you’re a family or community member, embrace the term “child care” and use it when referencing your child’s program!

Digital Resource Toolkit

Interested in doing more? Use our digital resource toolkit to advocate for “Call It Child Care” today!

Learn More

To learn more about the initiative, visit our Call It Child Care page.

News

August 5, 2019

For Children’s Long-Term Success, Families Need Paid Leave

When a family introduces a new child into their life, the last thing they should have to worry about is if they have the time and money to properly care for and bond with their child. However, families across the Commonwealth are in that exact situation, with many caregivers involuntarily reducing their work hours, changing jobs, or leaving the workforce entirely.

Early Interactions Matter

While many may associate childhood learning with the education system, learning and development begin much earlier than a child’s first classroom experience. Parents and caregivers are children’s first teachers, and to support the long-term success of the next generation, we need to ensure that all caregivers are afforded the opportunity to care for and bond with their children.

In Pennsylvania, there are more than 870,000 children under the age of six. Of those children, 41 percent live in low-income households. While about 51 percent of children birth to age five are in non-parental care for at least 10 hours per week, accessing such services can be difficult and expensive. Due to high costs, limited seats, and child care deserts, families across the Commonwealth are left without access to the affordable, high-quality child care services they need.

The difficulties don’t stop there. Without child care access, families have limited options. They can rotate their child through a list of available family members and friends; reduce or shift their work hours; change their profession; or leave the workforce entirely. More often than not, these challenges disproportionately affect women who make up 94 percent of workers that involuntarily work part-time due to child care problems. While these options exist, all of them can lead to negative outcomes, including financial insecurity, inconsistent caregiving, increased family stress, and difficulties reentering the workforce.

Research shows that positive interactions with consistent adult caregivers are important during children’s early development, as they optimize the development of brain pathways for the visual and auditory senses, motor and language processing, higher cognitive functioning, and emotional regulation. This challenge is more than just having someone around to look after a child. It’s about establishing the conditions children need to experience success later in life.

Current Policy

In the current family leave system, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. FMLA was designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities, providing this benefit to employees at public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. However, just because unpaid leave is available does not mean that it is accessible. In January 2019, the National Partnership for Women and Families reported out that unpaid leave under the FMLA is inaccessible for 59 percent of working people.

The Family Care Act

If Pennsylvania passes the Family Care Act, families will no longer have to choose between remaining financially stable in the workforce and caring for their young child in the most critical period of their life. The Family Care Act establishes a statewide insurance fund, similar to Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation fund, which allows individuals to draw down a portion of their salary for:

    • Up to 12 weeks to care for a family member with a serious health condition
    • Up to 12 weeks to care for a covered service member as covered under FMLA
    • Up to 20 weeks to care for their own serious health condition
    • Up to 20 weeks to care for a new child after a birth, adoption, or placement through foster care

In Pennsylvania, families should come first. To ensure caregivers’ financial security, healthy relationship development, and workplace success, we need to make sure that they have access to the paid leave they need to care for their family. For the long-term personal, academic, and professional success of our youngest generation, we need to pass the Family Care Act.

Take Action

Paid family leave is not only a family value, it’s also a Pennsylvania value–and that’s a fact. Use your voice to advocate for families by encouraging the state government to pass the Family Care Act. Visit the campaign page to learn more.

To stay up-to-date on advocacy opportunities, sign up for Trying Together’s Public Policy newsletter or visit our Take Action page.

News

May 17, 2019

PPS: Take a Father to School Day 2019

Pittsburgh Public Schools welcomes fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and positive male role models to participate in the nationally recognized Take a Father to School Day.

In support of the District’s long-term outcome of increased proficiency in literacy for all students, this year’s theme is #ExpectGreatThings. Every school will have an activity or event planned to celebrate the day.

Ask your school for details!

Questions

For questions, contact Larry Meadows at 412.529.3851.

Share this flyer with your network.

News

May 7, 2019

Email Congress in Support of the FAMILY Act

This week, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing on paid family and medical leave, with testimony from expert witnesses, including advocates, a business owner, a state official, and researchers. But without your expertise, they will miss the voice of crucial stakeholders – babies!

What You Can Do

In advance of the hearing, babies need you to contact your Members of Congress and urge them to support comprehensive paid leave for working families – the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. The Family Act is:

  • Inclusive: Provided to all working people, no matter where they live or the nature of their job;
  • Comprehensive: Offers extensive coverage of personal family caregiving and medical needs;
  • Meaningful: Gives a meaningful duration of leave to allow people sufficient time to meet their care and health needs – at least 12 weeks – and a wage replacement rate and benefit level that makes taking leave financially possible for everyone;
  • Sustainable: Funded in a way that is affordable for workers, employers, and the government without harming other essential programs; and
  • Secure: Protects workers from retaliation or adverse employment consequences for requesting or taking leave.

With public demand for comprehensive national paid leave stronger than ever before, now is the time to urge your Members of Congress to cosponsor the FAMILY Act.

Take Action

Email your Members of Congress now in support of our nation’s babies and families!

*Information provided by Zero to Three