History and Background
The seed for establishing a blueprint for enhancing the service delivery system for infants and toddlers began germinating within the New York State Child Care Coordinating Council (NYSCCCC) almost two years ago. Members of the NYSCCCC Board of Directors, many of whom are executive directors of Child Care Resource and Referral Centers, were keenly aware of the problems facing families looking for early care and education services for infants and toddlers. They believed too little emphasis had been placed on infant and toddler concerns and that a more coordinated, comprehensive planning approach was necessary. They developed a concept for a blueprint initiative and eventually sought funding for it.
At the same time, the Center for Early Care and Education (CECE), a collaboration between Child Care, Inc. and the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, began to consider developing a statewide blueprint for children, birth to age five. The NYSCCCC and CECE decided to coordinate and merge their efforts.
In November 2001, more than seventy policymakers, early educators, advocates and academics were brought together at the Rensselaerville Institute by CECE to begin discussions on the development of an agenda and process for improving the systems of service for infants, toddlers and preschoolers and their families. Participants emerged with the beginning of a blueprint for children, birth to age five, renewed passion, inspiration and a planning process. Three new workgroups were formed to begin work on what stakeholders believe are the necessary elements, in addition to New York State’s commitment to universal prekindergarten, of a universal system of care and education to serve New York State’s youngest citizens starting from birth. The groups focused on three areas: (1) workforce issues, (2) finance and governance and (3) infants and toddlers and their families.
The NYSCCCC took the leadership role in forming and coordinating the activities of the infant and toddler workgroup. The fiscal support of the Rauch Foundation, A.L. Mailman Family Foundation, the Center for Early Care and Education and the Better Baby Care Campaign/National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies made the efforts of the Infant and Toddler Blueprint Advisory Committee and the development of this report possible.
Professionals from all regions of the state with varied training, backgrounds and work experiences, and a shared commitment to enhancing the lives of infants and toddlers and their families were invited to join the Infant and Toddler Blueprint Advisory Committee. Forty-two committee members, including representatives from the Rauch and A.L. Mailman Foundations, participated in a structured planning process to develop the framework for an agenda to advance the development and implementation of needed services to infants and toddlers in our state. As a result of their hard work, commitment, attendance at meetings and work between sessions, priorities and action plans for enhancing services for the youngest children of our state were identified and developed.
The following pages represent a summary of the proceedings and activities of the Infant and Toddler Blueprint Advisory Committee and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the individual members or an endorsement by the agencies or organizations they represent.
To obtain a copy of the Early Care Blueprint and for more information on the Winning Beginning NY Campaign visit http://www.winningbeginningny.org/