WASHINGTON, DC - Later this month, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) will celebrate 20 years as the nation's leading voice for child care during its Annual Policy Symposium. The conference will culminate with NACCRRA's release of a report card ranking states on their child care standards and oversight.
Keynote speakers will include Dr. Renee R. Jenkins, President-Elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who will discuss how our nation can build better futures for children by improving the quality of child care and supporting parents in their child care decisions. Kelly Wallace, CBS News correspondent, will also serve as a keynote speaker.
The NACCRRA Child Care Leadership Award will be presented to Chevron Corporation and Nadine Basha, Chair of the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, in recognition of their outstanding efforts to support the development and learning of all children. Chevron's award, in honor of its leadership of a child care recovery effort after Hurricane Katrina, will be accepted by Roland Kell, General Manager of its Pascagoula Refinery. Basha will be honored for successfully advocating the passage of Proposition 203, which provided a funding source for early childhood education in Arizona through an increased tax on tobacco.
The Symposium will also feature the unveiling of NACCRRA's 2007 Public Policy Agenda, the announcement of its new Leadership Development Program, and a special twentieth anniversary celebration.
NACCRRA's state report card points toward the importance of this national Symposium, a forum for exchanging ideas regarding policy, research, and practice in child care. On March 1, a press conference announcing the report card will launch NACCRRA's annual Day on the Hill, during which hundreds of CCR&R staff from across the nation will use the report card scores to discuss with their Members of Congress the need to strengthen the quality of child care, and why high-quality child care is important.
"The results of NACCRRA's report card should be a wake-up call to policy-makers," says Linda K. Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA. "State licensing rules and oversight are far too loose in this nation to force the necessary increase in the quality of care, which is unacceptably low. The states use nearly 11 billion dollars in federal funds for child care, and the federal government should require higher standards and better oversight for this money. It must be a national priority to improve the quality of care for the nearly 12 million children under age 5 cared for every week in child care."
On March 1, NACCRRA will celebrate its twentieth anniversary. During a special dinner, NACCRRA founders will reflect on the organization's past impact on child care. Looking ahead to its future influence, NACCRRA will announce the first six scholarship recipients of its new Leadership Development Program. This initiative supports the development of leaders in the CCR&R field by providing them with training, networking, and leadership opportunities. The following day, participants in NACCRRA's Quality Assurance (QA) program will celebrate its five-year anniversary. The QA program is a voluntary certification for CCR&Rs designed to ensure consistent, high-quality services to support parents in making informed child care choices.
The Policy Symposium is a yearly event that gives child care professionals the opportunity to hear national experts and field leaders offer insight into the latest developments in policy, research, and practice in child care and Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R). This year's conference, held from February 27 through March 3, will feature more than 70 educational sessions. To learn more, click here.