Access to reliable child care is key as the economy reopens and more parents go back to their physical work spaces. However, due to the pandemic, the operating costs of running a child care center or home have gone up forcing many providers who were already operating on a thin margin to close their doors permanently. Finding child care was already a challenge before the pandemic and now with these looming closures it could become harder. In response, both Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles dedicated a portion of their CARES Act funding to create complimentary Child Care Provider Grant Programs.
Licensed child centers or family child care homes impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to participate in either the Los Angeles County or City of Los Angeles Child Care Provider Grant Program. However, providers who received support through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or other county or city programs are not eligible to apply. The funds can be used for employee payroll, payroll for employee sick time, working capital to continue operations, payment of outstanding business expenses, and adaptive business practices needed to remain open.
Administered by the Los Angeles County Development Authority, the county provider grant program plans to award up to 150 family child care homes with grants of $10,000 and 75 child care centers with grants of $40,000. Grants will be awarded based on a lottery system for each supervisorial district, and need will also be taken into consideration. The program launched Sept. 14, 2020, with grant awardees announced on Sept. 29. Providers located within the City of Los Angeles cannot participate in the county program but are eligible for the City’s child care provider grant program. Administered by the Economic Workforce Development Department, the city’s grant program aims to help 300 family child care homes with grants of $10,000 and 195 child care centers with grants ranging from $25,000 to $40,000. Click here for more details on the launch of the city’s program.
In total, both programs intend to reach 720 providers and disburse over $13 million dollars in grants to help providers stay in business. This support is greatly needed as a study from the National Association for the Education of Young Children shows that very few child care centers, especially child care homes, were able to access funds through the PPP, a loan program offered through the CARES Act intended to help small businesses stay afloat. Congress continues to debate the fate of the $50 billion dollars in the next stimulus package needed to help providers across the nation survive the pandemic and avoid permanent closures. In the meantime, we applaud both Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles for stepping up to support child care providers and the families and children they serve.
Cal Poly Pomona (CPP), a member of the Student Success Workgroup, launched a virtual resource and information hub called Safer Returns: Our Plan for Fall 2020, to help returning students transition back to college and to help new students adjust to their new college environment in the middle of the pandemic. The hub outlines CPP’s plans for fall 2020 and the necessary changes on and off campus that students, parents, faculty, staff and visitors need to know about.
Student wellbeing, in the form of academic and social support, is paramount for CPP and as such has doubled down on its commitment to provide necessary resources for students. To make sure students have access to academic assistance, the Fall 2020 Virtual Advising and Academics Toolkit was developed as a resource hub for all students. This hub houses informational videos on topics like registration, viewing grades, Zoom etiquette and how-to sessions on using the school’s academic management system. It also offers an easy portal to schedule advising sessions or meet with academic personnel.
Over the course of this summer, CPP bolstered its laptop program, offering more devices to new and returning students who need to borrow necessary technologies for their academic journey. CPP also introduced a lease-to-own program, in which students can sign up to purchase their borrowed device over time, through small deductions from their financial aid throughout the time they are enrolled.
Outside of the academic realm, CPP is offering a wide variety of assistance and resources in health and wellbeing, including counseling, living a healthy lifestyle, and healthy and virtual communication tips. To support students in engaging in safe social activities, CPP is working with student organizations, academic majors, and the student life office, to create virtual touchpoints around campus activities, giving students the opportunity to engage regularly, and connect with even more students and faculty than ever before.
To learn more about Cal Poly Pomona and the work they are doing to assure student success, check out cpp.edu.
California’s Cradle-to-Career Data System is a new, innovative statewide initiative that will connect education, social service and workforce data. It will include easy-to use visuals and sophisticated search tools to help answer important questions and inform equitable and actionable policy decisions that open pathways for all Californians to thrive. Tune into the Cradle-to-Career Data System webinars in October to learn more about the proposed education data system and to provide feedback.
The California Governor’s Office, with support from WestEd, will be hosting these informational webinars from Oct. 14 to Oct. 15. Each webinar is targeted towards a specific audience ranging from students and parents to practitioners and policymakers. Information for each of the webinars is included below. Please make sure to register for the webinar before Oct. 7, 2020.
Oct. 14 from noon to 1 p.m. | Webinar for Researchers, Advocates and Policymakers
Oct. 14 from 6pm to 7 p.m. | Webinar for Students, Parents and Families
Oct. 15 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Webinar for Educators, Practitioners and Administrators
15 de octubre de 6 p.m. a 7 p.m. | Seminario Web para Estudiantes, Padres, y Familias
If you cannot attend the webinars, a recording of each webinar will be posted on the California Data System website.
Please share this opportunity with your networks. Your participation and feedback is important so we can ensure that the state’s efforts result in a statewide cradle-to-career data system that supports a broad range of stakeholders, including you and the communities you serve.
For more information, please contact Mansi Master at WestEd.
A population measure of child well-being, the Early Development Instrument (EDI) is currently being used in over 25 countries. Since 2009, the use of the instrument has grown steadily in the U.S., especially in Southern California. However, there has been no research to date that looks at the EDI’s utility in predicting future school performance among U.S. children. Our partners at UCLA, along with researchers at UCI and Purdue University, conducted a study to fill this gap, showing that the EDI is a strong predictor of children’s third grade proficiency in math and reading.
The researchers came to this conclusion after linking the EDI records of 2,976 students attending kindergarten in the 2011-12 school year in Orange County with their math and language scores from the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) taken three years later. California started using the SBA in the 2014-15 school year as a state-wide assessment to measure student achievement and growth in math and English starting in the third grade and was used in this study to capture academic proficiency or risk.
The EDI is a teacher reported measure of how well children are meeting developmental milestones (i.e., children are on track, at risk or vulnerable). This study specifically looked at each of the five domains of child development measured by the EDI:
- physical health and well-being
- social competence
- emotional maturity
- language and cognitive development
- communication skills and general knowledge
The results showed that third grade proficiency increased as children were identified as on track for each of the five domains. Further analysis revealed a very strong association between academic proficiency and three of the domains (i.e., language and cognitive development; communication skills and general knowledge, and social competence). Overall, these findings are consistent with other research linking early childhood skills with future academic success.
This study also further supports the use of the EDI as a valid indicator of school readiness. Although there is growing recognition that the early years influence children’s readiness for school, there is currently no consistent measure of school readiness used across the U.S. As a result, several of the First Five Commissions are either piloting or have fully implemented the EDI in their respective counties as a tool to measure early childhood outcomes. Momentum for the EDI is growing in Los Angeles County, where two of the largest school districts (i.e., L.A. Unified and Long Beach Unified School Districts) in the county have adopted the tool with support from First 5 LA.
For the purposes of this study, individual child data was used to demonstrate the EDI’s utility in predicting student performance on standardized state tests. However, the EDI scores are usually reported at aggregate levels and are used by different stakeholders to evaluate how programs, policies and systems are promoting children’s successful development in a particular region. To ensure that L.A. County has the right programs, policies and systems in place to support children, we need a consistent population-level measure of school readiness to help us understand what is working and what needs to change across the county and in individual communities. The L.A. Compact supports First 5 LA’s efforts to expand the EDI pilot into a county-wide tool to ensure all children are healthy and ready for school by 2028.
On July 21, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors made clear that inaction is no longer an option. They unanimously approved a motion introduced by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to establish an antiracist policy agenda for the County. The motion calls for the County to confront and address explicit institutional racism by evaluating how County policies, practices, operations and programs are holding back the advancement of Black Angelenos. At last Tuesday’s board meeting, leaders representing various County departments also expressed their support for the motion and pledged to advance racial and social equity within their own departments.
Representing only nine percent of the County’s population, African Americans account for 30 percent of the County jail population (Measure of America: Portrait of LA County) and 34 percent of the homeless population (Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Homeless County, 2019). These statistics are a result of an accumulation of disadvantages starting in childhood. According to Beyond the Schoolhouse, a report from the Center for the Transformation of Schools, “the majority of Black students in L.A. County are enrolled in racially isolated (e.g., predominantly Black and Latinx students) schools located in impoverished communities […] and with limited resources.” It is not just where students go to school, but also the social and economic conditions where they live, that have a profound effect on what happens to them as adults.
Our nation and County leaders have recognized that this can no longer be our reality, where the color of your skin determines where you live, where you go to school, and if you can achieve the American dream. Prior to this motion, the County had already taken steps to address implicit bias within county departments, but this antiracist policy agenda takes the work to the next level. Specifically, the motion calls for the:
- development of a strategic plan and establishment of a unit committed to implementing the goals and actions identified by the plan;
- assessment of existing policies, processes and practices to sustain departmental equity commitments and promote the advancement of African Americans within County departmental career ladders; and
- publication of the annual State of Black Los Angeles County to track outcomes and progress and the use of departmental data to inform strategies.
These actions will not only break down barriers for African Americans, but also for all people of color living in Los Angeles County. We applaud Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for introducing the motion and for making the County a leader in antiracist policy making.
A member of the Health Sector Collaborative, Charles R. Drew University (CDU) is providing free COVID-19 testing to Los Angeles County residents. The work is being done in collaboration with the City and County of Los Angeles and Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center (MLK OPC). “As the statistics are now showing, under-resourced communities of color are being disproportionately affected by the novel coronavirus. However, there have been very few, if any, COVID-19 testing sites in these communities,” said Charles Drew University President and CEO Dr. David M. Carlisle.
As the only testing site that offers both nasal and oral options, CDU has already conducted over 60,000 COVID-19 tests and is continuously analyzing demographic data to determine the novel coronavirus’ effect on diverse communities across L.A. County. According to a recent report produced by CDU, of those who have been tested at the site, 70.7 percent were Latinx and 15.2 percent were African American. Members of the Latinx community are showing the highest rates of infection. While the rates of infection are not as high for African Americans, a higher percentage of them are dying after getting infected. The report calls for continued testing and recommends tailoring testing sites to meet the needs of community members, such as offering on-site enrollment and walk through options for individuals without vehicles. The report also calls for additional research on the root causes leading to the disproportionate effects of the virus on the Latinx and African American communities.
CDU and MLK OPC’s testing site is actively seeking volunteers. Students enrolled in nursing programs and other allied health programs are eligible to use volunteer hours to fulfill clinical hour requirements. Sign up to volunteer here (enter access code COVID19CDU).
To get tested, make an appointment at corona-virus.la/covid-19-testing.
UNITE-LA is conducting a survey of students to better understand how they make decisions about their education. This will be part of a project to make information about available credentials transparent and easily accessible through technology. Working in partnership with Credential Engine, the project aims to build an open-source online registry of all degrees, certificates, certifications, licenses, badges, apprenticeships and other types of educational and occupation-related credentials.
The goal is to provide students, job-seekers, employers and other key stakeholders with the data to make informed decisions about investing in education and training as well as hiring. The survey takes 10-15 minutes and all answers are completely anonymous. We accept answers from high school, community college, career tech training and four-year students. As a token of our appreciation, those who complete the entire survey may enter a raffle to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Please disseminate this survey opportunity widely to your students. Responses will be accepted through Monday, August 17, 2020.
For more information about UNITE-LA’s partnership with Credential Engine, contact Heddy Nam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several school districts in L.A. County have adopted the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a tool to measure early childhood well-being and readiness for kindergarten. But as schools have shifted their focus to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the county’s planned EDI collection efforts are at risk of being seriously disrupted, and some are in danger of being eliminated. With growing concerns over what the future will look like for young children, having data, like the EDI, may prove to be more valuable than ever.
The EDI provides community stakeholders (teachers, school administrators, city staff, early care and learning providers and parents) with a better understanding of how children are developing within the context of their communities. This population measure is collected every three years by kindergarten teachers three to six months into the school year. However, some districts, like Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), collect the EDI on a yearly basis. Both school districts and municipalities have used EDI results to make strategic and better-informed decisions about allocating and prioritizing resources and services for young children.
In Southern California, all Orange County school districts and nine school districts in L.A. County have collected EDI data, with Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) being the newest school district to join the effort. The pandemic, however, has put a temporary pause on the EDI as school districts switch to distance learning and grapple with how to ensure students’ basic needs are being met. LBUSD was supposed to start collecting EDI data this spring, and L.A. Unified’s EDI articulation meetings have been postponed to later in the school year. Many school districts and their community partners are in a waiting pattern since many do not yet know what the 2020-21 school year will look like. Some are also wondering what collection will look like if classrooms go virtual.
For others, the situation is more dire. With declining city and school revenues and unanticipated costs due to the pandemic, some communities are being forced to make difficult budget cuts. This is the case with Santa Monica’s Cradle to Career Network, which has a goal of increasing kindergarten readiness. In partnership with Connections for Children and the SMMUSD, the City of Santa Monica provides the district with the resources to collect EDI data to measure children’s readiness for school. The results are shared in the city’s annual Youth and Well-being Report Card and are used for planning purposes. Heavily dependent on tourism dollars, Santa Monica’s revenue has fallen significantly during the pandemic, and while they are a data driven city, city council has made the recommendation (see page 53) to no longer fund EDI collection efforts since it is not an activity that directly serves residents. As of now, no decision has been made, but advocates argue that the city will miss out on critical data on the anticipated “COVID-19 slide” and the effects of the pandemic on young children’s future school success.
According to 2019 data, 51.7 percent of children in Los Angeles and Orange Counties participating in the EDI are ready for kindergarten. We can probably expect that percentage to change in response to the current public health crisis. Data, like the EDI, are particularly critical in times like these when preschools and child care centers are closing and children are being left without enriching learning opportunities or where added family stressors are affecting children's physical and emotional health. Communities with access to EDI data can make better informed decisions on how to address the needs of children and families.
Without a consistent measure of child well-being across the county, we can only make assumptions on what will be the short- and long-term implications of the pandemic on children’s readiness for school. The L.A. Compact believes in data-driven policy and systems change and recognizes the important role that children’s readiness for school plays in lifelong success. While the current health crisis has caused many of us to shift our priorities, we remain committed to exploring with our county and community partners on how the EDI can continue to be an integral part of a robust early childhood development data system for the region. Now more than ever, we need access to quality and timely data for the recovery and strengthening of the systems that serve young children and their families.
For more information on the EDI, please contact L.A. Compact Sr. Manager, Ariana Oliva, at email@example.com.
Back in April, L.A. City Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the L.A. Emergency Child Care Connection program to help essential employees at participating hospitals access child care. With many child care centers still closed because of the pandemic, Garcetti expanded the program in May to include additional emergency responders employed by the City of L.A.
Since its inception, the program has benefited hospital workers stationed at hospitals across the region, including White Memorial, California Medical Center and Northridge Medical Center. The program offers hospital workers free referrals to licensed child care providers in the community, and qualifying workers can also get assistance paying for child care. They may be eligible for a $100 stipend per shift to pay for the type of child care that best works for them. On April 13, the city’s Recreation Centers near participating hospitals also started providing free child care to hospital employees with limited child care options.
Now additional frontline workers can also benefit from the program. This includes employees at the Los Angeles police and fire departments, the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport and Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment. These benefits are expected to be available until June 30. As we dive into the summer, we can expect to see more child care sites gradually reopen, but the question still remains, will enough of them open up in time to meet the growing demand as more parents transition out of their home offices?
As many businesses and organizations adapt to the "new normal," UNITE-LA is similarly reimagining some of its work to ensure youth are able to become successful, productive, future members of the workforce. UNITE-LA has partnered with Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation (CSOD Foundation) to enhance virtual workforce development and programming through their new online learning initiative called WorkforceReady.
The six-week curriculum focuses on developing essential hard and soft skills, including time management, creative problem solving, resume building, communication development and professional relationship building. In May, UNITE-LA launched this online professional development platform with 224 participating youth with the support of 14 partnering organizations, including Charles Drew University, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, SHINE Program, L.A. Promise Fund, Upward Bound, New Earth and First Place for Youth.
UNITE-LA will have the opportunity to soar to new heights with professional virtual learning tools that will provide youth with the essential skills needed and valued in the real world and will position them for their next job and/or career move. The team will continue to work with partners in the region to take advantage of this new professional development tool for youth during the summer of COVID-19.
For more information, contact UNITE-LA’s Sr. Manager of Business- Education Partnerships, Geraldine Contreras-Jaimerena, at firstname.lastname@example.org.