March 2021 eNews

In this opinion piece, ICS President and CEO, Jamie Moon voices the bi-partisan support rallying around assisting families with children as they try to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. ICS implores South Carolina federally elected officials to place priority on supporting families with children, a sentiment also backed by the US Chamber of Commerce (Parents are making lifetime career decisions based on temporary child care challenges. That is no better for businesses and the economy than it is for children and their families.)

Read The Post and Courier Op Ed.
  • CDC Updates Guidance for Child Care Providers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance for operating child care programs during the pandemic, as well as new toolkits for child care programs. These resources provide information to help child care professionals protect children, their families, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill, was signed into law on March 11. It is intended to accelerate working families' ability to recover from the devastating recession and health outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notably, the maximum amount for the Earned Income Tax Credit has increased and the Child Tax Credit has been expanded. 

The ARP includes $350 billion for state and local governments nationwide; $250 million in emergency funding for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP, a 400% increase); and $150 million for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

The public policy proponent showcased three policy alternatives to get the US back on track financially and to become a more equitable society in article, Federal Policy Ideas to Catalyze Private Investment in Equitable Growth.

by Mary C. Garvey, ICS Director of Innovation and Inclusion

This post is a follow-up to John Young Shik Concklin's blog, Handcuffed and Pepper Sprayed: A 9-Year-Old’s Encounter with Police Cries Out for Appropriate Mental Health Response. In part two, Mary examines implicit bias, defined by the Yale School of Medicine as, "the automatic and unconscious stereotypes that drive people to behave and make decisions in certain ways."

"Perceptions of a child are negative and form long before any interaction ever occurs. Due to the assumption of being less innocent and more adult-like than their peers, Black girls in particular are often deemed to need less nurturing, protection, and support than their peers."

by Megan Carolan, ICS Director of Policy Research

We learn that one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, families are still struggling to access nutritious and adequate food. We witnessed long lines at food banks as these organizations faced both increased demand and reduced funding.

"Recent data from the Census Pulse data (a frequent survey of households since the COVID-19 crisis began, meant to gauge impacts) shows that food insecurity continues to be a significant issue. Nationwide, about 11 percent of households at both the national and South Carolina level reported “sometimes” or “often” not having enough to eat (as of February 27-March 1), with notably more negative impacts on families with children, non-White households, and households who have experienced employment loss." 

by Taylor Stathes, Manager, Child Life and Special Programs, Prisma Health Children's Hospital-Upstate 

Play has a purpose, according to Taylor. A child life specialist's duty is to normalize the hospital environment and make the stay less scary.

Taylor often responds to people who say that all she does is play with kids all day this way, “You’re absolutely right. I have the best job in the world. I get to connect with children of all ages and play to help normalize their environment. But this play is purposeful. Everything we do from prepping for procedures to blowing bubbles has a specific goal and purpose behind it.”

She explains, a child life specialist's "education and training allow us to understand theory and development so that we can connect with children and adolescents in an environment that strips away their control and ability to just be a kid."

What We've Been Up To
  • Together SC's Virtual Legislative Update

ICS President and CEO, Jamie Moon recently chaired a discussion on Together SC's advocacy plans for this year. The webinar was moderated by GP McLeer, Speaking Together Coordinator.
They were joined by members of the Advocacy Allies Leadership Team and covered:
  1. An overview of Together SC’s Advocacy Principles and 2021-2022 Advocacy Agenda
  2. Advocacy Agenda Spotlight: Pay Equity Act & Childcare Issues
  3. Status Update: COVID Relief and SC Nonprofits
  4. Advocacy Actions

View a recording of the program (the early childhood portion starts ~ 32-minute mark).
  • Nurturing Developing Minds (NDM) Conference & Research Symposium 2021

On February 26, over 400 educators, medical professional, service providers, and policymakers convened virtually for NDM 2021. The event, sponsored by ICS, Prisma Health, SC LEND and the Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy, was our largest event yet! The edifying keynote address, Body and Mind: Children’s Well-Being in the Pandemic, was delivered by professor, author and New York Times columnist, Perri Klass, MD.

  • Webinar - Family Housing Instability in Greenville County: The Complex Interplay of Housing, Child Welfare and Criminal Justice

ICS and Root & Rebound joined forces to discuss child homelessness, child welfare involvement and the criminal justice system in Greenville County and beyond on February 24. The session was for professionals who do not work directly in housing services – but who work with families facing crises.

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ICS works on behalf of children from prenatal to age 8.

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