November 2020 eNews
ICS Receives Diversity Leadership Award
Jamie Moon, ICS President and CEO,
accepting the 2020 Outstanding Nonprofit Organization Award
The Institute for Child Success was named the 2020 Outstanding Nonprofit Organization by the Riley Institute at Furman University and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce at the virtual ceremony of the 16th annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards (the category was sponsored by BMW Manufacturing Company). ICS works to improve outcomes for all children in South Carolina through applied policy research.

The event honors individuals, schools and organizations who exhibit leadership in promoting diversity in the Upstate. Congratulations to all of the 2020 Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards winnersView the video of this event.
Department of Social Services Extends Lifeline to Working Families
On October 15, South Carolina Governor McMaster and Director Leach of the Department of Social Services (DSS) announced additional supports for the early care and education sector. At least 4,500 additional families will have access to economic supports to attend quality early learning through SC Voucher, representing a significant increase over pre-pandemic levels of enrollment. This support is especially critical for parents who are struggling to remain in the workforce.

In order to qualify, parent income must be at or below 300% federal poverty level (FPL), and be working at least 15 hours a week or in school or training program. The number of vouchers is limited based on funding availability; DSS originally planned to approve 4,500, but they plan to increase this number as much as the underlying federal funding allows. In the first two weeks after the announcement, the agency logged applications for 4,804 children, and the agency has since created a wait list for additional incoming applications.

Also on November 2, SC DSS announced another round of COVID Support Grants for early care and education providers. This grant opportunity is available to assist providers in paying for their child care facility expenses, including rent/mortgage payments, utility bills, cleaning or sanitation costs, and personnel costs. In the first two weeks after the announcement, DSS received 1,328 applications in the amount of $21,560,000.

These additional supports are targeted and strategic investments in our families and in the economy. Moreover, because they are fueled with existing federal funding availability, they do not increase financial burdens on taxpayers. ICS applauds the Governor and SC DSS for the leadership and work required to deploy these resources, and we are very grateful for their ongoing partnership.
In this blog, Policy Research Director, Megan Carolan, points out a best practice is to screen longer and more frequently and that sufficient or varying accessible support programs are needed.

"Postpartum mental health is a crucial piece of the family mental health landscape. Parental stress and depression can impede parent-child interactions, impacting children’s social-emotional and language development. Untreated maternal depression can increase the risk of child maltreatment as well as children’s own risk of depression, separation anxiety, and difficult behavior."

ICS discusses participating in Greenville Homeless Alliance's community forum on Students and Families in Greenville County Schools as part of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Megan Carolan wrote about a major study on COVID-19 transmission among child care centers. The research came from a top team at Yale University and was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and helped to shed some important light on mitigation efforts in child care, and provided guidance on innovative ways to obtain supplies.

In her blog, experts warn of a growing fall wave of COVID-19 cases – at the same time as traditional cold and flu season – governments and advocates must devise ways to support providers to access the supplies they need should these difficulties arise again. The organization Child Care Aware has developed guidance for child care centers looking for innovative ways to both access and pay for these necessary supplies which they have not previously had to seek out.

Senior Fellow, Mary MacKenzie, wrote about a recent day she spent at Furman University's Child Development Center's Outdoor Classroom.

She was inspired by their idyllic setting and offered suggestions to make the Outdoor Classroom even better! She also shared observations of forest schools in the United Kingdom.

What We've Been Up To
Hunger and Homelessness Week: Students and Families in Greenville County Schools Community Forum

ICS partnered with the Greenville Homeless Alliance (GHA) and area nonprofits to bring a series of virtual sessions to broaden Greenville's awareness and understanding of hunger and homelessness in our community, how it has been impacted by COVID-19, and how community members can engage in solutions. On November 16, ICS Director of Policy Research, Megan Carolan, served as a panelist on the Students and Families in Greenville County Schools session.

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