Early Years

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Military Model: Child-care centers could benefit by getting in step with the military, according to a recently released report from the Washington-based National Women's Law Center.

For More Information

Read "Be All That We Can Be: Lessons From the Military for Improving Our Nation's Child Care System" (requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader), from the National Women's Law Center, 11 Dupont Circle N.W., Washington DC 20036; (202) 588-5180. The report is also available free of charge from the center.

Following a 1989 federal law, the nation's armed forces dramatically improved the quality of child care they provide for more than 200,000 children, and the strategies they used should be seen as a model, the center says. Those include: establishing and enforcing comprehensive standards for providers to meet; encouraging parental involvement; expanding the availability of child care and assessing the need for it; and making care affordable through subsidies and sliding-fee scales.

Also, caregivers working in military centers receive extensive professional development and pay raises based on their training, practices that the report cites as effective for lowering turnover.

Growing Families: Healthy Families America, a family-support program that includes weekly home visits to new parents, will expand with a grant from the Freddie Mac Foundation. There are now 420 such programs nationwide; the grant will expand or start new programs in 200 counties.

The foundation has made a three-year, $300,000 grant to the Washington-based National Association of Counties Research Foundation, which provides research and support to county elected and appointed officials throughout the country.

Prevent Child Abuse America started the healthy families program in 1992, in which trained professionals visit homes to share information about child development, help build parenting skills, and make sure children receive needed health care.

In addition to the expansion of local programs, at least 10 state associations of counties will promote Healthy Families America statewide and work to launch other initiatives focusing on strong families and child-abuse prevention.

The Freddie Mac Foundation was created in 1990 by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., commonly known as Freddie Mac. Based in McLean, Va., the foundation has given a total of $10 million to set up Healthy Families America programs at the local, state, and national levels.

—Michelle Galley & Linda Jacobson

Vol. 19, Issue 39, Page 5

Published in Print: June 7, 2000, as Early Years

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