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Child Care Aware® of America and thread Honor Senator Mark Begich During Week of the Young Child (April 22-28)


Arlington, VA -- Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA) joins with thread, Alaska’s Child Care Resource and Referral organization, in honoring Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) for his work on behalf of young children during the “Week of the Young Child.”

The Week of the Young Child is a specific week during the year to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that work with young children.  The Week of the Young Child was first established in 1971 in recognition of the fact that the early childhood years lay the foundation for a child’s future success in school and later in life. The theme for the Week of the Young Child 2012 is “Early Years are Learning Years.”

“We are pleased to join with thread to commend the work of Senator Mark Begich,” said Ollie M. Smith, the Interim Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies).  “Senator Begich is a leader for young children. He understands the importance of the earliest years in a child’s life and how important those years are to laying a foundation for future growth and development.”

In March, Senator Begich introduced three bills to strengthen early childhood education.   The first bill, S. 2180, the Tax Relief for Early Educators Act, will offer up to $3,000 in tax credits to early childhood educators and increase the child care tax credit so more parents can afford to put their children in quality child care programs.   A second bill, S. 2181, the Preparing and Re-investing in Early Education Act, will create a new student loan forgiveness program for graduates of associate’s or bachelor’s programs in early education.  Last, a third bill, S. 2182, the Child Care Public-Private Partnership Act, will establish a program to provide child care through business partnerships.  Matched 50/50 (50 percent from private sector businesses and 50 percent from federal funding), this program would expand the supply of affordable, quality child care for working parents.

“Senator Begich is clearly looking for creative solutions to strengthen the quality of care,” said Smith. “Children should be safe in child care and in a setting that promotes their healthy development.”  Smith said,  “We released a report in March, Leaving Children to Chance: 2012 Update, which shows that states vary greatly with regard to their child care licensing policies.  But, most states have weak protections for children.”

“During the Week of the Young Child, I’m proud to join with Child Care Aware of America® in commending Senator Begich,” said Stephanie Berglund, thread’s CEO.  “It’s really refreshing to see policymakers push aside politics to look out for children.  I’m hopeful that the Senate can move forward on these bills.”

thread is one of 47 Child Care Resource and Referral Networks across the nation. The Alaska Child Care Resource and Referral Network was formally established in 2008. Last year, thread provided early care and education referrals and parenting support to over 7,600 families, trained over 2,500 early educators, and provided technical assistance and consultation to 196 early care and education programs throughout Alaska.

Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies), is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about Child Care Aware® of America and how you can join us in ensuring access to quality child care for all families, visit us at www.naccrra.org.

Pictured with Sen. Begich are:

Kim Kober, Senior Policy and Parent Advocacy Advisor, Child Care Aware of America

Grace Reef, Chief of Policy and Evaluation, Child Care Aware of America

Ryan Green, 8th Grader on Career Day from Fairfax County                                                                                                                                                                           

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