It’s finally here… so it’s time to start the 21-Day Challenge. This means finding at least 15 minutes every day to read aloud with the children in your life. That reading doesn’t have to be just while sitting in a cozy chair or right before bed, it can be anywhere, and it can be anything from a book to the back of a cereal box.
Do you need health insurance enrollment help? Get free help enrolling in health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. All services are offered completely free of charge.
We are now in the Special Enrollment Period for the Health Insurance Marketplace, and the Primary Care Access Network is actively looking for people who qualify for coverage. The Special Enrollment opportunity for people with an expected income of 150 percent of the poverty level or below has been extended under the Inflation Reduction Act.
PCAN can help you find an affordable health insurance plan that fits your budget and health care needs, click here.
The Florida Department of Education and Volunteer Florida officially launched the 2023 Black History Month student art and essay contests with the theme of “Celebrating the Achievements of African American Floridians.” These contests will run through Tuesday, February 7, 2023. Black History Month is celebrated each year in the month of February.
“African Americans have a long and proud history in our great state of Florida, and Black History Month is the perfect occasion to celebrate their many achievements,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Learning about African American achievements is central to learning about Florida and America itself. I have no doubt that this year’s art and essay contest submissions will be outstanding.”
“Florida goes the extra mile to recognize the immense and historical contributions of African Americans in our great state, said Volunteer Florida CEO Josie Tamayo. “We are proud to offer this opportunity each year to recognize outstanding students and educators in Florida for their unique efforts and talents.”
First Lady Casey DeSantis invites students to participate in academic and creative contests throughout the month. Students in grades K-3 can participate in an art contest, and students in grades 4-12 can participate in an essay contest. Additionally, students, parents, teachers, and principals are invited to nominate full-time educators of all student grades for the Black History Month Excellence in Education Award.
About the Student Art Contest
Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Black History Month Art Contest is open to all Kindergarten through third-grade students in Florida. Each student will submit original, two-dimensional artwork based on this year’s theme. Four statewide winners will be selected each month, and each winner will receive a $100 art supplies gift card and a one-year pass to Florida state parks.
About the Student Essay Contest
Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Black History Month Essay Contest is open to all fourth through 12th-grade students in Florida. Each student will submit one essay no longer than 500 words based on this year’s theme. Six winners will be selected: two elementary school students (grades 4–5), two middle school students (grades 6–8), and two high school students (grades 9–12). Each winner will receive a Two–Year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and a $100 gift card for school supplies.
For more information, click here.
The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit are among the largest Internal Revenue Service (IRS) public benefits for low-income households. The resources below can help families understand tax credits. Learn about eligibility requirements and how to access these benefits.
Earned Income Tax Credit
EITC is a benefit for workers with low to moderate income. To qualify, an individual must meet specific requirements and file a tax return. If a family owes taxes, EITC can reduce the amount they owe. In other instances, EITC may provide a refund even if a family does not owe taxes. Individuals must file a tax return and claim the tax credit to receive it.
Child Tax Credit and Credit for Other Dependents
The Child Tax Credit helps families with qualifying children afford the costs of raising children. For tax year 2022, people with children under the age of 17 may be eligible to claim a credit of up to $2,000 per qualifying dependent, and $1,500 of that credit may be refundable.
Families with dependents who don’t qualify for the Child Tax Credit may be able to claim the Credit for Other Dependents. The maximum credit amount is $500 for each dependent who meets certain conditions.
Child and Dependent Care Credit
The Child and Dependent Care Credit is intended to offset the cost of child care. Families may qualify for the credit if they paid expenses for the care of their qualifying child under age 13 to enable them to work or actively look for work.
There’s good news regarding changes to the School Readiness program for Orange County families with school-age children!
Effective January 9, 2023, school-age children ages 9 years to 12 years old can now be enrolled into care. Funding notifications were sent out this week to families with school-age children on the waitlist, so please check the email address association with your Family Portal account.
If you would like to add your school-aged child to the School Readiness waitlist, click here to apply: https://familyservices.floridaearlylearning.com/Account/LogOn
- Families are required to recertify on or before their last day authorized in order to continue services. Please make sure you know your last day authorized and check your email regularly for notifications regarding your School Readiness services.
- There will be no extension of service ending dates/recertification dates. If you do not recertify, you will have to reapply through the School Readiness Waiting List.
We hope that this news has a positive impact on your family and child care needs. If you have questions about your School Readiness services or the information outlined in this letter, please contact us at 407-522-2252, extension 2210 or https://4cflorida.org/contact-us/
The Office of Child Care’s (OCC) National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance has launched an updated Provider Cost of Quality Calculator (PCQC).
The updated PCQC features the following improvements:
- Streamlined design, making it easier to enter data
- Cost-per-child output
- Separate shells for family child care (FCC) homes and centers
- Reports being easier to generate and read
- Users able to try the PCQC without registering.
The PCQC helps users estimate the annual costs and revenue of operating a child care center or an FCC home-based program at different quality levels. This information can help owners and operators better understand the factors that influence costs and revenue. It also can aid child care administrators and the early care and education policy community in designing financial supports.
What will happen to the “legacy” PCQC? Users will have access to it through this PCQC login page through Dec. 30, 2022. Legacy PCQC users will receive a series of emails telling them about the updated PCQC and encouraging them to save and export their legacy PCQC scenarios by Dec. 30, 2022. After Dec. 30, legacy PCQC users will lose access to their scenarios in the legacy PCQC.
For more information on how to save the scenarios that you have loaded in the legacy PCQC and how to transfer them to the updated PCQC, check out the Tipsheet: Transferring Scenarios from Legacy to Updated Provider Cost of Quality Calculator.
Green Sprouts recalls Toddler’s Stainless Steel Bottles and Cups due to lead poisoning hazard. The recalled stainless-steel bottles and cups bottom base can break off, exposing a solder dot that contains lead, posing a lead poisoning hazard to children. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children, and can cause adverse health effects.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled stainless steel bottles and cups away from children and discard the bottles and cups. Contact Green Sprouts for a full refund in the form of store credit or your money back. Green Sprouts is contacting all known purchasers directly.
The 40-hour DCF certificate & Infant Toddler CDA credential scholarship program will help those who are seeking to gain access to the Early Childhood profession. 4C is offering those who are interested in obtaining their 40 hours through DCF to be eligible to work in a licensed child care center.
Those who have their 40 hours DCF credential are being offered a full a full-paid scholarship to obtain their professional Infant Toddler CDA license.
To qualify for the scholarship, you must meet the low-income criteria or COVID- 19 impacts. (Must live in Orange County or Work in Orange County)
RSV is a viral infection that is very common in the winter, especially in young children. While most people with RSV have mild cold symptoms, it can cause severe illness and hospitalization.
This year, the virus is showing up earlier than usual, and more children are becoming sick. Staff must understand RSV so they know what to watch for and what to do. Staff should also share information about RSV with families so they know how this illness can affect their children.
The National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety (NCHBHS) has a new resource to help everyone learn more about RSV, including what to do when it’s more than just a cold.
Access the Resource
Select the link to view the resource: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/publication/respiratory-syncytial-virus-rsv
All ECLKC pages are translated into Spanish. Select the Español button on the top right corner to see the Spanish translation.