Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

“Expanded Learning Opportunities: Afterschool and Summer Learning” Hearing

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Assemblywoman Connie Wagner and the Joint Committee on the Public Schools will host a full joint committee meeting on the topic of:

“Expanded Learning Opportunities:  Afterschool and Summer Learning” on December 12, at 10am.
NJSACC, The Statewide Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities  is involved in the planning and presentation.

This meeting will be held in Committee Room 11 in the State House Annex, 135 West Hanover Street, Trenton, NJ 08625.

This event is open to the public.
Questions or comments please contact:
 Melanie Schulz, Executive Director
The Joint Committee On The Public Schools

Families Want Children to be Safe in Child Care

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Help Needed: New Background Check Bill!

Last week, Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) introduced H.R. 3829, the Child Care Accountability and Responsibility Act of 2012 or (CARE for Kids Act), which calls on states to require a criminal background check against federal and state records, as well as a check of the sex offender, child abuse and neglect registries for employees of child care providers, family child care providers, and adults who reside in the private residences of family child care providers in States that receive funds from the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program, and for other purposes. Now, it is our job to try to urge Members in the House to cosponsor the bill!

Children ought to be safe in child care. Parents logically assume that a child care license means child care providers have had a background check. In New Jersey, fingerprint-based criminal background checks are only required for all staff working with children in child care centers.
New Jersey has no legislative protection for children who are cared for in family child care homes. Since New Jersey has a voluntary registration law, most citizens incorrectly assume that children in the care of a State-registered provider or a provider who is reimbursed for child care through State funds has, at a minimum, had an appropriate criminal background check.

Taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay convicted felons or sex offenders to care for children. The Moore bill will put a stop to that practice.

Take Action Now!

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION NOW!

today to send an e- letter to your representative and ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 3829, the CARE for Kids Act introduced by Rep. Moore (D-WI).

Thank you for your efforts to protect children!

NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies

 

 

 

It is our continuous duty to educate the public about our shared responsibility to protect children by reporting suspected child abuse and neglect to the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, and also to assure our communities that we are prepared and trained to respond to these reports in a timely and professional manner.

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Colleagues,
Recent events have caused me to reflect on our continuous duty to educate the public about our shared responsibility to protect children by reporting suspected child abuse and neglect to the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, and also to assure our communities that we are prepared and trained to respond to these reports in a timely and professional manner.

In New Jersey we are fortunate to have an established commitment to a multi-disciplinary approach to child abuse investigations, particularly sexual abuse. Our DYFS staff and investigators from county and local law enforcement agencies are trained in forensic interviewing techniques aimed at reducing trauma to victims and family members, while assuring evidentiary standards are upheld. We are also fortunate to have a network of child advocacy centers across the state which provide a safe and child friendly environment for interviews with children and family members to occur. And, unlike most states, we have four regional diagnostic and treatment centers whose sole mission is assessment and treatment of child abuse and neglect. These centers are hospital based and assure that our children are provided with expert medical and clinical treatment. And we have many, many more professionals, trained in trauma, and therapeutic interventions, prepared to provide treatment for these children.

However, a report must be made to the child abuse hotline before this system can intervene and provide the services we have developed to serve and protect our state’s children and families. In New Jersey the law requires all citizens to report suspected child abuse or neglect immediately to DYFS – it is not the responsibility of institutions or private citizens to screen information to determine its veracity before making the report. Making that determination is the responsibility of the trained professionals charged with protecting our state’s most vulnerable.

The next time you discuss current events with your family members or neighbors, remind them how important that phone call to the child abuse hotline can be.

To report suspected child abuse and neglect in New Jersey call 1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873).

Respectfully,
Allison Blake
Commissioner
NJ Department of Children and Families

 

IMPORTANT ! Take Action by November 9th- comment needed on NJ’s 21st CCLC Funding!

Monday, November 7th, 2011

 NCLB Waiver Application – Request for Comment from NJ DOE

On September 23, the US Department of Education announced that the federal government would invite states to apply for flexibility from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). States would be granted flexibility in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction.  The first application deadline is November 14.Over the past month, the New Jersey Department of Education has solicited input from educators and community members across the state on the federal government’s guidelines. We collected comments through our website over two weeks in October, and met with both educators and the leadership of teachers unions and professional associations to solicit recommendations.

Before finalizing the application, the Department is soliciting additional comment on the draft outline of our application. This document captures the findings from our initial outreach and additional work done by the Department.

Because such changes would have a major impact on our state’s educators and families, we are soliciting input from K-12 stakeholders and the broader public on this draft outline.

A copy of the draft outline and the form for public comment can be found at the link below.  Submissions will be received through November 9, 2011.

https://education.state.nj.us/esea2/

 

NJSACC, the Network for  New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities is recommending that the language in Section 1 of the Comment  link, https://education.state.nj.us/esea2/ be changed  .

NJ DOE Language :
11. The requirements in ESEA sections 4201(b)(1)(A) and 4204(b)(2)(A) that restrict the activities provided by a community learning center under the Twenty-First Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program to activities provided only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session (i.e., before and after school or during summer recess). New Jersey requests this waiver so that 21st CCLC funds may be used to support expanded learning time during the school day in addition to activities during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.


Should you wish to comment, feel free to cut and paste NJSACC’s recommended wording!
But this must be completed by November 9, 2011.

NJSACC: The NJ Afterschool Network feels that this wording will preserve the existing dollars for afterschool with a possibility of broadening the Expanded Learning Time Opportunities in NJ, funded by 21st CCLC dollars.

 Recommended verb-age  to cut and paste in BOX #1:

The requirements in ESEA sections 4201(b)(1)(A) and 4204(b)(2)(A) that restrict the activities provided by a community learning center under the Twenty-First Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program to Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) provided only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session (i.e., before and after school or during summer recess).

New Jersey requests this waiver so that 21st CCLC funds may be used to support expanded learning time during the school day.
This is not to supplant 21st CCLC  but is in addition to Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.

 



 

 

Details of FY2011 Spending Bill Released

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

From: The Afterschool Alliance
April 12, 2011

Details of FY2011 Spending Bill Released
Early Tuesday morning the details of the final FY2011 spendingbill were released. HR 1473, the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011, funds the federal government through September 30, 2011. The bill cuts $38.5 billion in spending compared to FY2010 levels, including a cut of $5.7 billion to Labor, Health and Human Services and Education agencies. Funding for all non-defense programs was reduced across the board by .2%. Both the House and Senate are expected to pass the bill later this week.
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, the only federal funding stream that exclusively supports before school, afterschool and summer learning programs, was not mentioned by name in the FY2011 spending bill. However, it is believed at this point that the House and Senate Appropriations Committee is recommending that funding for the program be reduced by $10 million in addition to the .2% cut, resulting in a funding reduction of approximately $12.3 million. Confirmation of this reported cut is pending as the Department of Education will make final determinations on spending levels for programs not mentioned by name in the bill.
A second key funding stream supporting afterschool programs, the discretionary side of the Child Care Development Block Grant which includes funding for school-age childcare, will be funded at approximately $2.2227 billion, a $100 million increase over FY2010 levels.
The cut to 21st CCLC is painful andcould result in more than 12,000 children losing their afterschool programs. However, we recognize that these are tough times and that our bipartisan allies in Congress held firm in protecting the program from deeper cuts.A special note of thanks goes to all Members of Congress who championed these programs, as well as the thousands of friends of afterschool programs who contacted their Members of Congress urging support for these critical initiatives that inspire learning, keep children safe and help working families.
Several other sources of afterschool funding were substantially reduced.
Note that the following reductions are in addition to the .2% across-the-board spending cut:
GEAR UP (Education) reduced by $20 million – estimated
TRIO (Education) reduced by $25 million – estimated
Americorps (CNCS) reduced by $23 million
Community Development Block Grant Programs (HUD) reduced by $43 million
Weed and Seed (Justice) reduced by $20 million – program eliminated
Juvenile Justice (Justice) reduced by $148 million
YouthBuild (Labor) reduced by $23 million
Arts Education (NEA) reduced by $13 million
NASA Education (NASA) reduced by $38 million
Education and Human Resources (NSF) reduced by $10 million
A table showing the impact of the $2.3 million cut to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative on each state can be found here.
A summary of the bill from the Senate Appropriations Committee is available here.
A summary of bill from the House Appropriation Committee is available here.
Complete bill text of HR 1473 can be found here.
A broader explanation of cuts to the Department of Education budget as posted by Education Week can be found here.