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Seventeen Child Care Providers Receive National Recognition

Seventeen outstanding child care providers were recognized for their commitment and dedication to providing outstanding quality child care at the "Third Annual National Child Care Providers Awards Ceremony", held September 21st on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The ceremony was presented by public television stations KCET (Los Angeles), WETA (Washington, D.C.) and the award winning PBS informational series A Place of Our Own and Los Ninos en Su Casa. The ceremony recognized the important role that child care providers play in raising pre-school age children and preparing them for Kindergarten.

"We are very pleased to honor these outstanding child care providers who have dedicated their life's work to teaching and providing quality care to young children," said Al Jerome, KCET president and Chief Executive Officer. "We are proud of these special people who play such an important role in children's lives and pleased that A Place of Our Own and Los Ninos en Su Casa can support them in this important responsibility of helping to prepare young children to succeed in school."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than sixty percent of young children in the United States are cared for regularly by a provider. A Place of Our Own and its Emmy® award-winning Spanish language companion, Los Ninos en Su Casa, have undertaken the role of providing useful information, guidance, and training for providers through broadcast and online support services. In fact, 80 percent of child care providers who watched the series reported learning better child care skills.

"The providers we recognize have all gone above and beyond in their commitment to providing outstanding, quality child care and I'm pleased we can take part in celebrating their dedication to children and recognize the important role they play as our children's very first teachers," said KCET Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer, Mary Mazur.

Three Forces Shaping the Future of Child Care

Three separate trends are emerging in the child care industry that will shape its future. These are funding, oversight and the undeniable, ever growing body of research proving that quality childcare benefits children for life.

Google "child care news" on any day and you will find scores of articles detailing cuts on the federal, state and local levels for child care subsidies and support. As the recession drags on and municipalities and states become ever more strapped for cash, painful cuts are being made across the country.

Sometimes these cuts are met with extraordinary public outcry (almost any municipality in California for example). Meanwhile in smaller communities around the country the cuts are devastating enough to force the closure of almost all existing facilities.

Most profoundly affected are the working poor who become caught in a catch 22 situation. Without childcare subsidies they can't afford child care. Without child care they can't go to work. Without work the cost of welfare increases, the tax base decreases and we all, one way or another, suffer.

Another trend, the ever growing public outcry for better oversight of the child care industry, will necessitate the spending of public funds for more, and more efficient, bureaucracies.

14 States Share Millions in Child Care Health & Wellness Funds

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced 14 states will receive Child Care Wellness Grants for the improvement of health and wellness in child care settings. More than $7.7 million will go to support state agencies in implementing initiatives through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Over half of the money funds will be distributed to local child care sponsoring organizations and institutions through state agencies

Vilsack believes "local efforts have the greatest promise to develop, test, and implement successful programs to promote health and nutrition improvement in childcare settings". He said, "These grants will inspire innovative improvements to enhance nutrition and promote physical activity of the children in these states and communities."

The role of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is to improve the quality of child care and make it more affordable for low-income families. Currently, CACFP provides more than 3.3 million infants and children and 112,000 adults nutritious meals and snacks each day.

House Passes Child Nutrition, Background Check and Middle Class Tax Cut Bills

The House of Representatives has passed the Child Nutrition Bill, a bill requiring background checks on child care providers and an extension of tax credits to the middle class.

By a vote of 416-3 the House passed HR 6469 to require child care providers to undergo a criminal background check, including a federal fingerprint check as a condition of receiving federal funding under the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

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