KU and Child Care Aware advocate for nation’s youngest learners

September was a busy time for Knowledge Universe’s Government Relations, Subsidy, and Region 9 teams as they joined with Child Care Aware to advocate for the importance of high-quality early childhood education and care. Child Care Aware is a national leader working to ensure all children have access to a quality early childhood experience in an affordable, healthy, and safe setting.

Tivia Carlin walking the Capitol

Subsidy tuition coordinator Tivia Carlin walking the Capitol.

On September 8, Celia Hartman Sims, KU’s vice president of government relations, spoke at a Congressional briefing at the U.S. House of Representatives. The topic of the briefing was Reauthorizing the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): The Need for Quality Care. CCDBG provides federal financial assistance for child care to low-income working parents. Dr. Elanna Yalow spoke to the Senate about CCDBG in the spring. Approximately one-third of KU children receive assistance under CCDBG.

KU was the only provider asked to speak at this Congressional briefing. Other panelists included a distinguished researcher from Yale University, a parent, and a state child care and resource referral agency.

Speaking after the panel, Celia said, “What a great honor to represent Knowledge Universe at this Congressional briefing. KU leads the nation in its commitment to and execution of quality early childhood and education and it is important that we use our voice and our expertise to help raise the quality of early care and education nationwide.”

Later in September, KU participated in Child Care Aware’s inaugural Family Advocacy Summit. A select group of parents from around the U.S. were invited to participate in this two-day summit. Several parents invited to the summit were parents whose children were tragically killed in low-quality child care settings. Summit participants met with representatives from Congress, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the White House.

KinderCare parent Major Charles Neumann, an Army father living in northern Virginia, was among those parents invited to participate in the Summit. Major

Center director Sheena Robertson and parent Major Charles Neumann.

Center director Sheena Robertson and parent Major Charles Neumann.

Neumann’ son attends the Alexandria KinderCare. The U.S. military provides financial assistance to military families so their children can attend high-quality nationally accredited care centers. KU is the Department of Defense’s largest partner, providing high-quality community-based childcare to some 2,700 active duty families.

“I would personally like to thank Child Care Aware and Knowledge Universe for extending the invitation to the 2014 Family Advocacy Summit,” Major Neumann said. “This was my first Family Advocacy Summit, and while my family’s issues centered mainly on child care accessibility and affordability to the military family en-route to a new community, new job, and new home, I found that it really paled in comparison to the parents and families out there that paid the ultimate sacrifice with the loss of their children.”

Sheena Robertson, center director at the Alexandria KinderCare and Tivia Carlin, KU subsidy tuition field supervisor, also participated in the Summit.

“Being able to be a part of the Summit was truly rewarding for me in many ways: being able to see and hear how many states put the safety and care of child at the bottom of their priority list was so heart-breaking,” said Sheena. “I am so glad that I was able to be a part of the change.”

“Child Care Aware is allowing the voices of parents and providers to be heard through constructive and actionable conversation,” said Tivia. “I believe Knowledge Universe can be essential to modeling and implementing the future requirements coming from the passage of the Child Care and Development Block Grant, as we currently uphold strict adherence to state licensing and inspection requirements and much more. We are proof that families can experience peace of mind that their children are not only experiencing a fun and interactive education, but are doing so in the safest environment.”

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