First Things First — Increased funding and education opportunities for the early childhood community

| August 3, 2021
News and happenings about First Things First

July 2021

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New funding set to nearly double the number of Quality First programs across Arizona

The budget recently signed by Gov. Doug Ducey for state fiscal year 2022 includes $74 million to expand FTF’s signature program, Quality First, by up to 800 more providers over the next three years. Currently, more than 1,000 child care programs voluntarily participate in Quality First, which provides quality improvement supports such as individualized coaching, funding for educational materials and equipment and assistance from a team of experts in child health.
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Arizona wins $20 million federal grant to improve literacy

The 5-year grant will help increase understanding of the science of reading among more than 750 early educators in the targeted Arizona communities. It is a part of larger efforts to drive higher language and literacy achievement for underserved children from birth to high school.
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How do you best describe your relationship with First Things First?
1. Early care provider or educator
2. Family support provider
3. Health provider
4. K-12 educator
5. Parent or caregiver of children birth to age 5
6. General citizen interested in early childhood
 

Tribal Connections 2021 to showcase global perspectives in early childhood care in indigenous communities

A free, week-long series of virtual sessions will explore early childhood work being done in indigenous communities around the world. World Journey:Lessons Learned from Partnering with Indigenous Communities Around the World will delve into topics such as preserving languages and how to customize supportive early childhood services.
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2021 Summit speaker to share insight to helping parents of a child with autism

As the closing keynote at the First Things First Early Childhood Summit 2021, Doreen Oliver will share her life experiences and insights for early education professionals on how to support parents raising kids who face extra challenges. She is the writer of the award-winning one-woman show, “Everything Is Fine Until It’s Not,” about her experience of raising a child with autism.
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News Round-Up

News about early childhood around Arizona and across the U.S.

New AZ budget allocates more than $1 billion to child care programs, but money is all federal
KJZZ, July 16
An interview with Kelley Murphy, vice president of policy at Children’s Action Alliance about the new state budget. The budget includes $1.2 billion for child care-related issues, such as increasing the rate at which providers are reimbursed, helping facilities attract and retain staff and subsidies for families that can’t afford child care. But this funding is from the federal government’s COVID-19 relief programs, which means it is time-limited.
 
Pima Early Education Program (PEEP) provides scholarships for youth
KVOA Tucson, June 24
The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved funding for their Pima Early Education Program. It will provide funding for local school districts and preschool providers to give out scholarships to qualifying families with young children. For preschool providers, the county has allocated funds through an organization called First Things First, which also helps provide scholarships for students.  
 
America’s child care sticker shock
AXIOS, June 23
Parents going back to work may find child care options have gotten pricier. With a shortage of early childhood staff and closure of child care centers, experts are calling for subsidies and protections.
 
The importance of developmental and sensory screenings for young children 
San Manuel Miner, June 18
As Arizona’s early childhood agency, First Things First (FTF) recognizes that while every child develops at their own pace, developmental and sensory screenings are a way parents can learn about their child’s development. Screenings can also catch concerns that can point to a delay or possible disability.
 
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