Archive for December, 2008

Families Cut Back on Day Care As Costs – and Worries – Rise

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Families Cut Back on Day Care As Costs — and Worries — Rise

* DECEMBER 10, 2008



Behind the drumbeat of grim economic news, a lot of quiet shuffling is going on as parents pull small children out of paid child care.

Enrollment at some child-care centers is falling and nanny agencies are reporting mounting layoffs as families cut child-care costs — which rival mortgage payments in many households. An October online survey by the women’s Web site found that 12% of 100-plus parents who responded are cutting child care.

Some parents are tapping grandparents or even great-grandparents for help. Others are switching to back-to-back shifts to trade off child-care duties. Still others try to work at home with their children present, or even take them to the office. And many wonder just how deeply they can cut child-care costs without hurting the kids.

Caroline Fafara’s 3-year-old son and infant twins used to be in a child-care center full-time. But now, facing soaring food and health-insurance costs and pay cuts on her husband’s city job, Ms. Fafara has withdrawn the twins and cut her son’s preschool hours to part-time. Filling the gap: an elaborate three-generation scaffolding of relatives.

Ms. Fafara, an inventory manager in Philadelphia, drops off her son at preschool each day and her husband takes the twins to his grandparents’ house, where his cousin helps care for them. After preschool, Ms. Fafara’s parents bring her son to their house. Then, the couple picks everyone up at day’s end. While she’s immensely grateful for the help, says Ms. Fafara, all the shuttling around can be hard.

Some 40% of grandparents who live near young grandchildren are regularly providing child care, according to an August survey of 500 grandparents by the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies. While research shows leaving a baby or toddler with grandparents can be good for them, the trend isn’t without its costs. Although Mayra Montano, of Los Angeles, is happy to care for her daughter’s three children, her husband was recently laid off and she needs to look for a job herself now. “I’m getting sick from all the stress,” she says.

Job hunting without child care can be tough. After losing his job in an aluminum plant last week, Kevin Eaton of Morehouse, Mo., withdrew his 4-year-old daughter from preschool and is doing his best to care for her, preparing meals and keeping her at home during a cold snap. But he already missed out on one job opening after other applicants showed up at the plant to apply in person, he says. Juggling bills, child care and a job hunt, Mr. Eaton — whose wife works full-time — describes his state of mind as “confusion.”

Other parents are giving up family time. Devorah Hicks, a Hatboro, Pa., teacher, says her husband, a supervisor for an airline, chose to work 10-hour shifts through the weekend so they could cut their toddler’s child-care time to two days a week from three. While this is helping save money in case of a layoff, “it’s hard not having a full day” together, she says.

All this tends to be hardest on the parents. There’s little evidence that changing child care, in and of itself, hurts children, says James Griffin, a deputy chief at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. An institute study of 1,100 children found stability of child care had little predictive impact on development.

Experts cite just three “don’ts.” First, try to avoid taking preschoolers out of group care entirely, says Deborah Lowe Vandell, chairwoman of the education department at the University of California, Irvine. Some preschool experience aids development starting around age 2½.

Second, avoid placing a child with someone who isn’t warm, caring or responsive, says Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute; that bond with the caregiver matters most.

Finally, parents should guard against their stress spilling over onto children. “Think of them as listening and reading, if not your words, then your feelings,” Ms. Galinsky says. Transitions can be positive, if you think of them “as teaching your children to venture out” and learn new skills.

DHSS Proposes New Rules at N.J.A.C. 8:50 to Establish Standards for Indoor Environment Certification and for Licensure of Indoor Environmental

Friday, December 5th, 2008

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has proposed indoor air quality standards for child care centers and schools as well as certification for environmental consultants. There is a period for public comment. All center directors are encouraged to review the proposed regulations and submit comments to DHSS.

A notice was sent to all child care centers by the Office of Licensing regarding these proposed regulations. See Below for News Release.
The public comment period is open til 1/2/09, but if anyone wants to speak at the hearing you must register by 12/10/08 (contact Ms. Stark at 609-984-7160

There will be a $1500 initial fee to submit the test results for review
and $450 every three years on renewal.
The economic impact statement only addresses these fees, not the fees to conduct the indoor air sampling which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars depending on the size of the center.

The job impact statement only addresses that some centers might close and the job loss of those employees; nothing about the families who count on those centers for child care.

Your organization may want to consider responding !
The tests will not go away because they are part of the law passed in 2007 requiring the environmental assessments.
Possibly in your comment or testimony to advocate for financial assistance . In light of the state’s finances this will be difficult.
For more information, contact Patricia Cabrera (609) 984-7160.

Heather Howard
For Further Information Contact:
S. Patricia Cabrera
(609) 984-7160

DHSS Proposes New Rules at N.J.A.C. 8:50 to Establish Standards for Indoor Environment Certification and for Licensure of Indoor Environmental Consultants

The Consumer and Environmental Health Services in the Division of Epidemiology, Environmental and Occupational Health of the Department of Health and Senior Services (Department) is proposing new rules at N.J.A.C. 8:50, Standards for Indoor Environment Certification and for Licensure of Indoor Environmental Consultants. The proposed new rules appear in the November 3, 2008, issue of the New Jersey Register.

The proposed new rules at N.J.A.C. 8:50 would implement P.L. 2007, c.1, approved January 11, 2007, “An Act concerning contaminated property, supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes, and amending and supplementing P.L. 1983, c.330” (Act). The Act requires the Department to adopt safety and health standards for the interior of buildings to be used as child care centers or educational facilities as defined by the Act. The proposed new rules would fulfill this requirement.

Subchapter 1 would establish General Provisions. Subchapter 2 would establish standards, procedures, and application fees for Department licensure of indoor environmental consultants, that is, business entities that would conduct indoor environmental health assessments of existing and proposed child care centers and/or educational facilities. Subchapter 3 would establish standards for evaluation and assessment of buildings and leased spaces for use as child care centers and/or educational facilities. Subchapter 4 would establish procedures for determination of maximum contaminant levels and issuance of certification of safe building interior. Subchapter 5 would establish standards for compliance and enforcement.

The Department will convene a public hearing on the proposed new rules on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 10:00 A.M. at the Health and Agriculture Building, First Floor Board Room, 369 S. Warren Street (at Market Street), Trenton, NJ 08608. Persons wishing to comment on the proposal at the public hearing who wish to be placed on the list of speakers are requested to telephone Ms. Stark at (609) 984-0439 by Wednesday, December 10, 2008, and to bring an extra written copy of their remarks for submission to the public record.

The public has until January 2, 2009, to comment on the notice of proposal. Persons wishing to comment on the proposal must submit written comments by regular mail, to Ruth Charbonneau, Director, Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Health and Senior Services, PO Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360, postmarked on or before January 2, 2009, which is the close of the 60-day public comment period. The Department will not accept telefacsimiles or electronic mail as official comments on the proposals.

U.S. Dream Academy

Friday, December 5th, 2008

U.S. Dream Academy Announces Major Expansion of After-School Mentoring and Technology Training Programs for At-Risk Youth in Baltimore, East Orange, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, and Washington, DC;

$2 million donation by The Atlantic Philanthropies to boost outreach in key cities, establish monitoring system to maximize effectiveness

COLUMBIA, Md., Nov. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Dream Academy, a nationally-recognized after-school education and mentoring program which currently serves more than 800 high-risk students in 11 learning centers in 10 cities, today announced it will more than double its size by adding 15 new centers over the next five years. The U.S. Dream Academy will also establish an ongoing quality assurance system to ensure curriculum consistency among its expanded number of learning centers and to evaluate results in order to maximize effectiveness of its innovative, life-changing programs and even better serve at-risk youth.

Founded by world-renowned vocal artist and education activist Wintley Phipps, the U.S. Dream Academy is dedicated to breaking the cycle of intergenerational incarceration that affects society’s most vulnerable children and youth. It works to empower these youth with academic, social and values enrichment through supportive mentoring and technology training. Working to give children in grades 3 through 8 the skills and vision they need to lead productive and fulfilling lives, the Academy focuses on three elements of youth development which underpin its program philosophy: skills building, character building and dream building.

Since 1998, the U.S. Dream Academy has served more than 2,500 students in some of the highest risk neighborhoods where crime, high incarceration rates, generational poverty, and failing schools are pervasive. Over the past two years, the U.S. Dream Academy has significantly increased its capacity and now serves 820 children at its learning centers in Baltimore, East Orange (NJ), Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, and two in Washington, DC.

The U.S. Dream Academy’s five-year plan to expand the availability of its integrated after-school youth programs will be made possible in part by a $2 million grant by The Atlantic Philanthropies that was also announced today. The grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies comes on top of $900,000 in individual and corporate contributions raised earlier this year at the U.S. Dream Academy’s 10-year anniversary gala. In addition, Oprah Winfrey made a $900,000 matching gift, and she has pledged to match up to $500,000 in additional individual contributions to the U.S. Dream Academy through the end of 2008.

“All children deserve and desire a chance to succeed,” said Phipps, the organization’s President and CEO. “We have to do all we can to help guarantee that children of prisoners and at-risk youth have a brighter future. Eliminating barriers to a good education is the first essential step in helping a child to succeed. We are enormously grateful to our supporters for their generous contributions that will enable us to more than double our capacity over the next five years, because we know that a child with a dream is a child with a future.”

Phipps emphasized the urgent need for increased early intervention to save children because:

— One of every 3 ninth graders in the U.S. drops out of school,
— High school drop-outs are 8 times more likely to end up in jail or
prison than a high school graduate,
— 80 percent of the inmate population is composed of high school
— More than two-thirds of the juveniles in the criminal justice system
are children of prisoners or children with a family member in prison,
— A 10 percent increase in the high school graduation rate would reduce
the cost of crime by $14 billion.

“We are committed to ensuring that all children and youth, regardless of background, receive the supports that they need to succeed in school and in life. Making certain that young people are offered learning opportunities that will help them develop the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral intelligence that will equip them to participate fully in society is crucial,” said Marcia A. Smith, Vice President at The Atlantic Philanthropies. “We are proud to support expansion of the U.S. Dream Academy’s high-quality after-school programs, which provide at-risk students with academic enrichment and mentoring during the critical out-of-school time hours.”

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic focuses on four critical social problems: Aging, Disadvantaged Children and Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation and Human Rights. Programs funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States, and Viet Nam. To learn more: .

After the Bell!

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

After the Bell

After-school time can be as important as in-school time. This group provides a research-proven model for high quality after-school programs.


By Shannon Boehmer and Jim McGlynn

The period in between the end of a child’s school day and the end of their parents’ work day can be a worrisome time.

The dangers of children not being adequately supervised after school are well-known: unsupervised kids are more likely to be involved in juvenile crime, engage in high-risk behavior, use alcohol, drugs and tobacco, and receive poor grades. Children are also at a higher risk of being the victim of a crime during the hours after school. Even kids who are safe alone at home may simply pass the hours away sitting in front of a television, rather than being involved in something constructive.

After-school programs keep kids of all ages safe and out of trouble. But they can also enrich kids’ lives and help improve the academic performance of students. Well-run programs enable children to develop strong relationships with caring adults and a supportive group of friends, and participate in a variety of fun activities that connect school-day learning to engaging real-life experiences. Addressing these issues in an effective way is critical to addressing another problem: the drop-out issue.

Students in good programs around the state receive homework help, tutoring and study support, and participate in an enriching blend of other activities. Quality after-school programs in the state have offered activities in areas such as performing arts, community service, visual arts, sports and health, financial literacy, technology, photography, book clubs, and creative writing.

But it can be difficult for parents to find such programs, and many communities don’t have them. According to the Afterschool Alliances America After 3 household survey, only 12 percent of children in New Jersey working families are enrolled in after-school programs.

That’s where New Jersey After 3 comes in.

NJ After 3 is a private, nonprofit corporation based in New Brunswick that is dedicated to expanding and improving after-school opportunities for New Jersey’s students. The organization, founded in 2004, provides a research-proven model that helps fund youth-serving non-profit agencies that implement it. It currently serves more than 14,000 students in more than 100 schools statewide. Its public/private partnerships with schools and groups such as Boys & Girls Clubs, YM/YWCAs, faith-based groups, and other non-profit youth-serving organizations make a difference throughout the state.

NJ After 3 has developed a model after-school program that includes nine “core elements,” that are part of its high-quality program. Core elements include low student/adult ratios, comprehensive programming, alignment with school days and regular attendance. All after-school program providers receiving funding must adhere to the core elements, and NJ After 3 regularly monitors the programs in addition to providing ongoing training and professional development.

“The NJ After 3 vision is for every child in New Jersey to have the opportunity to participate in high-quality, comprehensive, structured, supervised and enriching after school activities, “ says Mark Valli, president and chief executive officer of NJ After 3. “The model was designed to create scalable programs to keep students safe, enhance student learning, promote positive youth development, and support working families”

In a time of shrinking school budgets and escalating education costs, NJ After 3’s network ensures cost-effective, high-quality activities and experiences that support school day learning. NJ After 3 programs provide a unique environment where students find relevance in their math, reading and science classes, while immersing themselves in other subjects which no longer fit in the traditional school day frame. Fitness, arts, and character education curricula are thriving throughout the statewide network as more than 40 non-profit partners share their ongoing research, experience and best practices.

Proven Results Results from a study conducted by Policy Study Associates (PSA) show that participation in NJ After 3’s network of high-quality after-school programming (for two years or more) correlates with significant improvements in students’ literacy skills.

The NJ After 3 PSA study also shows that students attribute important academic, social, and personal gains to their intimate involvement in their after-school programs. Participants indicated that they enjoy having the access to consistent, caring adult educators who support them while they finish their homework. They also feel that the extra support helps them to earn better grades in school.

“With exceptionally high daily attendance rates, NJ After 3 programs are not only providing a place where kids like to be, they foster an environment where students learn and develop,” states Valli.

Strengthening Community The NJ After 3 network of programs provides enrichment activities in addition to academic support. Sports, physical activities and nutrition education are all offered, as well as opportunities to learn to use new technologies and be creative through the arts. The children are also engaged in community service learning projects. Led by a dedicated team of NJ After 3 AmeriCorps members throughout the state, students work in teams to develop and execute projects in their community. These projects help kids understand the importance of community involvement, build character, and inspire a lasting sense of pride and ownership in their neighborhoods.

By keeping children off the streets between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., high-quality after-school programs are also playing a critical role in Gov. Jon Corzine’s strategy to reduce crime. Creighton Drury, crime and gang prevention director for the N.J. Department of Law and Public Safety, explains, “Keeping young people in school and engaged is a primary objective in our efforts to reduce juvenile crime and gang activity. In working toward this objective, Governor Corzine and Attorney General (Anne) Milgram have recognized that out-of-school time, and the need for quality after-school programs, is a core strategy in combating juvenile crime and helping children and families to succeed.” Drury also says, “NJ After 3 and its network is an important partner in these efforts. Its model program keeps children safe, positively impacts academic performance, and inspires them to become positive forces in their community.”

Funding Procedures NJ After 3 grants range in size from $50,000 to $500,000; the typical grant is between $150,000 and $300,000. Only non-profit, charitable, 501 (c)(3) organizations that can demonstrate a partnership with local public schools can apply for funding. Generally, NJ After 3 seeks to fund programs that serve between 150 and 500 students, and grants are available for programs serving kindergarten through eighth grade. Each year, a request for proposals is announced on the NJ After 3 Web site at; typically the RFP is announced in the Spring.

Every NJ After 3 program must partner with a school. However, the school district itself does not apply for the funding grant – only the non-profit organization does. NJ After 3 funding does not just go to low-income schools, Title I schools or the former Abbott district schools; funding is available to all New Jersey communities. A larger percentage of the programs receiving grants to date have tended to be in urban communities, since there must be a demonstrated need for such an after-school program. Some participating programs charge parents tuition based on a sliding income scale, however NJ After 3 prohibits programs from denying service to any family that cannot afford it.

Public/Private Partnerships Fuel the NJ After 3 Network NJ After 3 receives funding from the state of New Jersey each year (last year the amount of that funding was $14.5 million) and leverages this support to secure additional involvement from a variety of private and public sources. These resources support the entire NJ After 3 network of programs and advance the statewide field of after-school learning through direct grants, technical assistance and training, content and curriculum development, and advocacy.


Shannon Boehmer is community affairs and public relations manager for NJ After 3; she can be reached at Jim McGlynn is the director of institutional development and policy; he can be reached at

Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State Grant !

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Are you looking for funding to help promote Celebrate Afterschool ! Outdoors In The Garden State ?
See below !

*Grant: Project Orange Thumb – For community gardening projects.

Funder: Fiskars.

Eligibility: Community garden groups, schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs and treatment facilities.

Deadline: Feb. 17, 2009.

Amount: Each winner will receive up to $1,500 in Fiskars’ garden tools and up to $800 in gardening-related materials.