*Most current news will always be at the top of the list.

  • February 01, 2015 10:43 AM | Anonymous

    February is National Parent Leadership Month!  The FRIENDS Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is excited to offer you the following resources to recognize and celebrate the parents in your state, community and local programs!  These materials are available in both English and Spanish..

    • National Parent Leadership Month certificate:  A customizable award that you can download and fill in for the parent leaders you are recognizing throughout February  (English) (Spanish)
    • A Recipe for Growth:  An example of how to nurture and develop parent leaders (English) (Spanish)
    • Tips for Practitioners:  Insights and wisdom from the PAC on what has helped them grow in their leadership role as well as suggestions of how parents and practitioners can join together to support parent leadership (English) (Spanish)
    In addition, the FRIENDS PAC encourages you to consider these links to other resources to assist you with supporting, recognizing and celebrating parent leadership:

    The FRIENDS NC for CBCAP website offers materials, information and resources to support parent engagement and leadership.  Use the link below:

    You may use the following link to explore a variety of materials available for print or scroll down to the list below to click and view the various parent support and leadership print resources FRIENDS has available for download.  

    Parent Support

    Meaningful Parent Leadership: A Guide for Success
    Promising Practices in Parent Involvement Annotated Bibliography
    The Role of Parent Mutual Support
    Parent Education
    Parent Leadership Ambassador Training Guide

    Parent Leadership Ambassador Training Participant Guide
    Circle of Parents (English)
    Circle of Parents (Spanish)
    Core Principles of Parent Support Groups
    Parent Engagement and Leadership
    Parent Leadership Development Checklist
    Successful Strategies of Parent Leadership
    Circle of Parent Leadership
    Families as Primary Partners in their Child's Development and School Readiness
    Successful Models of Parent Leadership

    Additional resources including Public Service Announcements, media strategies and talking points are available by clicking the link to the Parents Anonymous NPLM toolkit:

    If you, or someone you know, is hosting a parent leadership event during February including  recognizing individual parent leaders, let the FRIENDS PAC know by emailing  The PAC will be highlighting your National Parent Leadership Month activities and recognized parents  in an upcoming Parent /  Practitioner newsletter!


    MaryJo Alimena Caruso, M.Ed.

    T/TA Coordinator


    Phone: 724.591.5448

    FRIENDS is a service of the Children's Bureau and a member of the T/TA Network

  • January 26, 2015 7:45 PM | Anonymous

    Louisiana Children's Trust Fund - Grant Announcement

    Nonprofits who provide child abuse and neglect prevention services may be eligible to apply for the 2015-2016 Louisiana Children's Trust Fund grant monies. The application forms and guidelines are located on the Trust Fund's website: The deadline to apply is 4:00pm on February 27, 2015.

  • January 26, 2015 7:42 PM | Anonymous

    The Rapides Foundation will announce a new funding opportunity for workforce development under its Economic Development Initiative.


    Friday, February 6

    11 a.m.

    The Rapides Foundation Building

    2nd Floor, Classroom C

    1101 Fourth Street, Alexandria


    The mission of The Rapides Foundation is to improve the health status of Central Louisiana. In support of its mission, the Foundation seeks to increase the median household income for Central Louisiana through its Economic Development Initiative.


    The Workforce Opportunity Grant provides an opportunity to provide educational, training or certification support to qualified candidates for immediate high-wage job opportunities in The Rapides Foundation nine-parish service area. (Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes.)


    The Foundation is partnering with the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA) to implement this grant opportunity.


    Grant applicants are encouraged to build strong partnerships between accredited public, nonprofit post-secondary institutions, the workforce system, employers and industry groups, to transform the way they design and deliver courses through accelerated learning strategies, redesigned curricula, distance learning, work-based training, and innovative uses of technology to enhance learning activities. 


    Interested businesses and

    eligible post-secondary institutions are encouraged to attend the announcement to learn full details of the grant opportunity.

    Questions or need more information?

    Contact The Rapides Foundation at 318-443-3394 or toll free at 800-994-3394.  

  • November 20, 2014 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    Release Header

    Date: 11/20/14
    Contact: LDOE Public Affairs, (225) 342-3600, Fax: (225) 342-0193


    Months of Expert and Community Feedback Sustains Focus on Child Health and Safety

    BATON ROUGE, La. - The Louisiana Department of Education today proposed to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) new early childhood licensing rules for child care and Head Start centers that streamline older regulations while preserving strong requirements around child health and safety. The new, proposed regulations allow educators more time to focus on child development and learning. They were developed after months of public discussion involving early childhood experts - including many child care and Head Start leaders, stakeholders and community members.

     "It is critical that we prepare our children for the classroom as early as possible, and that means ensuring our children enter kindergarten ready to learn," said State Superintendent John White. "The proposed regulations also ensure that our preschool children are cared for and taught by qualified, competent, and trustworthy individuals while maintaining health and safety requirements."


    Highlights of the changes in the proposed licensing regulations presented to BESE include:

    • Increased Safety Standards: To better protect children, the state will require all new employees and volunteers complete a more intensive, fingerprint-based criminal background check; staff at every center will be trained in pediatric first aid and medication administration; and, adults are present when children are participating in water activities.
    • Family Friendly Policies: Families will be supported through the requirement that all centers post their licenses; the posting of daily schedules reflecting physical activity, rest time, and learning activities; and, flexibility to bring in food or ask for adjustments to best meet the dietary needs of their children.

    • Flexibility to Implement More Efficient and Effective Operations: Early learning centers directors and staff will be able to reduce paperwork and have more flexibility to choose professional development for their staff. Directors will no longer have to get state approval for the 12 training hours required annually for all staff. Instead, they will choose from a set of relevant topics and pick the trainer or professional development program best meeting the needs of their staff.
    Act 3 of the 2012 Legislative Session calls for a unified system of early childhood education and care to ensure all children enter kindergarten ready to learn. In 2012, BESE approved a multi-year plan for implementation. At the state level, this plan involved the consolidation of early childhood oversight functions under one state board, BESE, and under one state agency, the Department of Education. This will allow for consistent, streamlined regulation and consistent accountability for results across child care, Head Start, and pre-kindergarten.

    The Department announced the first cohort of pilot communities for the Early Childhood Care and Education Network in April 2013. A second cohort was announced in February 2014. A third cohort, consisting of applications from all remaining school districts not in the first two cohorts, will be announced in January 2015. All three cohorts will work to unify enrollment and access for families, implement common standards with shared measurement, and ensure equal access to professional development for teachers in all program types to improve the lives of Louisiana's youngest learners.

    "The Child Care Association of Louisiana (CCAL) is excited about the Department of Education's revised regulations that will continue to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our children in the state of Louisiana," said Alan Young, Child Care Association of Louisiana. "It is through these new regulations and the implementation of Act 3 that we will ensure our preschool children will enter school ready to learn. CCAL is looking forward to this bold and courageous partnership with the Department of Education and our collaborative effort to provide every child the highest quality early childhood education."

    For more than a year, the Department has worked closely with experts, child care and Head Start leaders and other stakeholders on the licensing regulations. Staff participated in a stakeholder workgroup, created a new email address to receive feedback, conducted multiple webinars and collaborated with pilots to host in-person sessions around the state. Following these efforts, the Department presented a draft set of licensing regulations to the new Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council, which was formed in October. This council advises BESE and the Department in implementing the landmark unification of the state's early childhood systems. In early November, the Council spent hours reviewing the draft and provided 60 recommendations. Nearly all of these recommendations were included by the Department in the regulations that will be presented to BESE. The next meeting of the Advisory Council will be held on December 8 at 10 a.m. in the Claiborne Building in Baton Rouge.

    "Combining stakeholders from different early care and childhood entities who share a common goal of ensuring the safety of all young children in Louisiana has been beneficial to the development of the proposed licensing regulations," said Contessia Brooks, Director of the West Feliciana Parish Family Service Center Early Head Start - Head Start Program.

    "The Archdiocese of New Orleans is pleased to be working with the Department of Education to unify the early childhood system and provide quality child care to young children throughout the state of Louisiana," said Dr. Jan Lancaster, Superintendent of Catholic schools.


    To read the proposed licensing regulations being presented to BESE, please click here.


    To read the recommendations from the Early Childhood Advisory Council, please click here.


    To view a presentation on the Early Childhood Policy Blueprint, please click here.

     Louisiana Department of Education Website >>>


    Contact the Louisiana Department of Education >>>

  • November 18, 2014 1:36 PM | Anonymous

    Our nation's leading voice for child care...

    CCA Capitol Connection

    For the first time in 18 years, Congress has passed CCDBG Reauthorization, as the bill now awaits President Obama’s signature to become law.

    Today, November 17, 2015, the Senate voted to pass S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 led by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Richard Burr (R-NC) and Representatives John Kline (R-MN), George Miller (D-CA), Todd Rokita (R-IN), and David Loebsack (D-IA)


    In September, the House approved the measure by a voice vote, sending the amended version of the bill the Senate originally passed 96-2 in March 2014.

    S.1086 includes measures to:

    • Promote quality child care by increasing state-level investments in activities to improve the quality of care, enhancing states’ ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective child care services.
    • Strengthen health and safety requirements in child care programs and providers.
    • Improve access to child care by expanding eligibility for participating families and helping families connect with quality programs that meet their needs.

    Learn more about the Child Care and Development Block Grant


    Now that Congress has passed the bill, it heads to the President’s desk for his signature to become law. Stay tuned to Child Care Aware of America for updates.


    My best,

    Lynette Fraga, Ph.D.

    Plain language summary available here.
  • November 18, 2014 1:26 PM | Anonymous

    Safe to Sleep® Public Education Campaign and E-Toolkit

    The Safe to Sleep® Public Education Campaign promotes ways to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death. It is led by the Eunice Kennedy Shiver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Safe to Sleep®was previously known as the Back to Sleep® Campaign. The campaign's messages are based on recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Learn how Head Start staff, parents, and other caregivers can make a baby's sleep environment safer. Babies who usually sleep on their backs but who are then placed on their stomachs to sleep, such as for a nap, are at very high risk for SIDS. It is important for everyone who cares for a baby to use the back sleep position for all sleep times, for naps and at night. This also can help protect infants against other sleep-related causes of death.

    About the E-Toolkit

    Head Start staff, parents, and caregivers can find out about safe infant sleep practices in a new Promotional E-Toolkit from Safe to Sleep®. It can serve as an educational resource for families and staff who care for infants. The toolkit includes:

    • Sample social media posts with the campaign hashtags
    • Drop-in presentation slides about SIDS and the campaign
    • Videos in English and Spanish
    • Infographics that explain key points related to reducing the risk of sleep-related infant death

    Additional Resources

    To order free materials and learn more about Safe to Sleep®, visit: You also can read myths and facts about safe infant sleep, find tummy time tips, and discover other helpful resources to use in your Head Start program.

    Help spread the word about safe infant sleep!

    Office of Head Start (OHS) | 1250 Maryland Avenue, SW | 8th Floor Portals Building | Washington, DC 20024 | 1-866-763-6481 | Contact Us

  • November 12, 2014 2:15 PM | Anonymous

    Casey Foundation Offers a Two-Generation Approach to Creating Opportunity for Families

    Nearly half of the nation’s families with young children struggle to make ends meet. A new KIDS COUNT policy report makes the case for creating opportunity for families by addressing the needs of parents and their children simultaneously. Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach describes a new approach to reducing poverty, which calls for connecting low-income families with early childhood education, job training and other tools to achieve financial stability and break the cycle of poverty undefined and recommends ways to help equip parents and children with what they need to thrive.

    New data from the report is now featured in the KIDS COUNT Data Center. In addition, resources on two-generation approaches are available on the Casey website.
    Read, download or order Creating Opportunity for Families

  • November 12, 2014 11:32 AM | Anonymous

    The FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention is pleased to introduce a new online course, Qualitative Data in Program Evaluation.

    This course follows a fictional program, The Families Program, as they explore the effectiveness of their program. Their quantitative evaluation has left them with unanswered questions so they turn to qualitative evaluation methods to assist them understand the issues and improve their services.  

    The course will help you better understand the ways qualitative methods can enhance your evaluation efforts, how to get started with qualitative evaluation, and ways to collect, analyze and share qualitative data.

    The Online Learning Center,, can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you haven’t already registered for a course it only takes a few minutes.

    Please forward this email to your networks.


    Linda Baker, Director

    FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention

    800 Eastowne Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

    Online Learning Center -

    FRIENDS is a service of the Children's Bureau 

  • October 24, 2014 8:59 AM | Anonymous

    Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) Update

    Louisiana Confirmed Cases

    The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) confirmed two cases of the Enterovirus D68 in the Capital Area. Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is one of many enteroviruses that are very common in the United States and typically flare up in the fall months. Since children are the most susceptible to contracting EV-D68, DHH is encouraging parents to take simple steps to help prevent the spread of EV-D68, such as encouraging children to wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and to avoid sharing food or drink with people who are sick.

    General Guidance for parents:

    EV-D68 Infographic - Click HereEV-D68 presents with cold-like symptoms, such as fever, coughing, body aches and a runny nose. It may also cause breathing problems or wheezing. Children with asthma or other respiratory illness are the most susceptible to being infected with EV-D68. When parents notice high fever, dehydration or trouble breathing they should immediately take their child in to see their primary care provider or to see a provider at an urgent care clinic.

    "The best step we can all take now is to help prevent spread of the virus by using the same tools we do for the flu - wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and don't share food or drinks with people who are sick," said DHH Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Takeisha Davis.  "Close contact with our loved ones may also encourage the spread of the virus, so avoid hugging or kissing someone who is sick and make sure to clean surfaces such as doorknobs and handles that may have been touched by someone who is sick."


    More information about EV-D68 is available on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control website here:

    Information for Providers:

    The United States is currently experiencing a nationwide outbreak of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) associated with severe respiratory disease. The possible linkage of this cluster of neurologic disease to this large EV-D68 outbreak is part of the current investigation. CDC is seeking information about other similar neurologic illnesses in all states, especially cases clustered in time and place. CDC has particular interest in characterizing the epidemiology and etiology of such cases.

    Patients who meet the following case definition should be reported to Louisiana Infectious Disease Epidemiology:

    Patients <21 years of age with:

    1. Acute onset of focal limb weakness occurring on or after August 1, 2014; and
    2. An MRI showing a spinal cord lesion largely restricted to gray matter.

    Based on CDC guidance we will work with providers to facilitate testing of stool, respiratory, and cerebrospinal fluid specimens for Enterovirus, West Nile Virus, and other known infectious etiologies.

    To report suspect cases or for any questions please call 1-800-256-2748 or email

    Click here to view the CDC Health Advisory from September 26, 2014 and a brief patient summary form that we will be collecting on any suspected cases.

    Link to LA DHH page about Enterovirus.

  • October 24, 2014 8:48 AM | Anonymous

    Two New Studies Look at how Infants and Toddlers Acquire Language

    Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

    Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

    Research on how infants develop language skills is providing crucial insights on how language-rich environments benefit babies. And helping babies develop language skill is a crucial early step in helping them grow into proficient third-grade readers who can tackle the challenges of school and careers.

    Two new studies that describe some of the fine points of boosting infants’ and toddlers’ language come from the University of Iowa, Indiana University, and the University of Missouri.

    The research from the University of Iowa encourages parents to try to figure out what their babbling babies might be saying because doing so could help babies learn to communicate sooner.

    “Pay attention, mom and dad, especially when your infant looks at you and babbles,” a university article explains.

    “Parents may not understand a baby’s prattling, but by listening and responding, they let their infants know they can communicate which leads to children forming complex sounds and using language more quickly.”

    This advice is based on a new study undefined “Maternal Responsiveness and the Development of Directed Vocalizing in Social Interactions” undefined conducted by researchers at Iowa and at Indiana University. The study, which was published in the journal Infancy, found that “how parents respond to their children’s babbling can actually shape the way infants communicate and use vocalizations.”

    “It’s not that we found responsiveness matters,” study author Julie Gros-Louis, an assistant psychology professor at Iowa, says in the article. “It’s how a mother responds that matters.”

    To conduct the study, researchers “observed the interactions between 12 mothers and their 8-month-old infants during free play twice a month for 30 minutes over a six-month period. They noted how the mothers responded to their child’s positive vocalizations.”

    The article explains: “What researchers discovered is infants whose mothers responded to what they thought their babies were saying, showed an increase in developmentally advanced, consonant-vowel vocalizations, which means the babbling has become sophisticated enough to sound more like words. The babies also began directing more of their babbling over time toward their mothers.”

    “On the other hand, infants whose mothers did not try as much to understand them and instead directed their infants’ attention at times to something else did not show the same rate of growth in their language and communication skills.”

    “Gros-Louis says the difference was mothers who engaged with their infants when they babbled let their children know they could communicate. Consequently, those babies turned more often to their mothers and babbled.”

    Gros-Louis explains: “The infants were using vocalizations in a communicative way, in a sense, because they learned they are communicative.”

    *     *     *

    Researchers at the University of Missouri found that “toddlers learn words differently as they age, and a limit exists as to how many words they can learn each day,” according to a university article. The study is called “The Type, but Not the Amount, of Information Available Influences Toddlers’ Fast Mapping and Retention of New Words.”

    These findings could help parents support their child’s vocabulary development and help them “assist speech-language professionals in developing and refining interventions to help children with language delays.”

    Judith Goodman explains: “We found that babies’ abilities to accurately guess the meaning of new words increases between 18 and 30 months of age; and by 24 to 36 months, toddlers are able to accurately guess the meanings of new words at a significantly higher level.”

    “Interestingly, we observed that even from the time children mature from 18 to 30 months of age, the cues toddlers use to learn new words change.”

    Goodman is an associate professor in Missouri’s School of Health Professions and chair of the Department of Communication Science and Disorders. The study was published in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

    The research methodology: “researchers taught six new words to children, who ranged in age from 18 to 36 months, using three types of cues. The cues were presented alone or in pairs, and the researchers recorded the children’s ability to accurately guess what the words meant.”

    Those cues ranged from social cues to inferring what one object was called, by knowing the name of another accompanying object. The article explains:

    “‘When children were presented with a new word and asked to choose between an item for which they already had a name and an unfamiliar object, they appropriately assigned the new word to the unfamiliar object, and this ability improved as children aged,’ Goodman said. ‘The toddlers’ ability to infer a word’s meaning from linguistic context, such as figuring out that a ‘kiwi’ must be a food item when they hear, ‘Sammy eats the kiwi,’ also improved as the children aged. However, using social cues, such as eye gaze, became less effective as the children matured. By 36 months of age, children were less likely to assume a word referred to the particular object a speaker was looking at – looking at a kiwi when teaching the child the word ‘kiwi’ – than younger children were.’”

    The article adds: “Children who are struggling with learning language may benefit from being presented with specific cues, Goodman said. Additionally, the research reinforces the importance of providing children with rich word-learning environments, in which toddlers are exposed to many words and are provided with a variety of cues to help them learn and remember those words and what they represent, Goodman said.”

    Our graphic, “A Developing Reader’s Journey to Third Grade,” provides additional context for “ways adults can support children’s language and reading.”

    Link to article.

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