Refugee Handmade Superhero Capes Donated to Children with Disabilities:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Caping for toddlers
5:30-6:15 p.m.

Thursday, August 28, 2014
Caping for children age 7-12
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Courage League Sports
4405 121st St.
Urbandale, IA

Six young refugee women , ages 16-20, participated in EMBARC’s summer long Community Fabric Project, which uses sewing to empower, engage and increase opportunities. All the girls grew up in refugee camps and spoke no English before resettling in Iowa during the past five years. Through the Community Fabric Project they improved their English, math, financial literacy, and leadership skills, as they learned how to sew superhero capes specifically for Courage League Sports’ Kids Superhero Program.

The Community Fabric Project was supported by EMBARC’s Youth Employment Program which was sponsored by DMACC, United Way and Central Iowa Works.

Local Exhibit

Creating awareness of children of the incarcerated, the exhibit “Confliction” by local photographer Ben Easter features portraits of Iowa children whose parents are incarcerated. The photos and videos arose from a collaboration with Jolene Pfaff and Joy DeSomber who compiled stories written by the children for the book “What Did I do?” The exhibit is open Saturday, September 14th, and Sunday, September 15th, in the old Polk County Jail (110 6th Ave., Des Moines). The exhibit travels to Paris next month. Click here for exhibit details.

First Focus: Budget & Policy Decisions

First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions, recently compiled a list of budget and policy decisions that affect children. Children’s Budget 2013 found that federal investments in children have been down three years in a row. The in-depth analysis found that less than 8 percent of the United States’ federal budget is invested in children and that since 2010, total spending on children has dropped by nearly $55 billion. According to First Focus, The House’s 2014 budget is already slated to scale back on issues that greatly affect children. More here.

Significant Increases Proposed for Early Childhood Education

Senate Appropriations Bill Moves Forward:

Significant Increases Proposed for Early Childhood Education

Yesterday, July 9th, 2013, the Senate Subcommittee on Labor/Health and Human Services/Education Appropriations marked up the funding bill for fiscal year 2014 (starting October 1, 2013), and tomorrow the Full Committee is expected to take up the bill without significant changes.

Early learning was a clear priority in the bill provided by chairman Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). In addition to meeting the funding request for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships and Preschool Development Grants in the President’s proposed early learning plan, the bill would also provide an increase in child care and Head Start, Title I grants to local school districts, and special education and early intervention.

It is important to remember that the Senate leadership is using a baseline for spending that assumes elimination of the sequestration will happen. The House is expected to produce a very different bill, and then the two bodies would need to come to a resolution on a single set of numbers before October 1.

What the Subcommittee Approved

The Subcommittee was given $164.3 billion in discretionary funding. Here is an overview of some of the program-by-program funding proposed (increases are over fiscal year 2013 levels unless otherwise noted):

  • Head Start/Early Head Start: $9.6 billion (a $1.6 billion increase), including:
    • $1.4 billion increase for Early Head Start, incorporating the new Early Head Start-Child Care partnerships proposed in the President’s early learning plan.
    • $171 million increase for existing Head Start programs, including $146 million for cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) and $25 million for the re-competition costs.
  • Child Care & Development Block Grant: $2.5 billion (a $176 million increase), including a $110 million increase for new quality improvement grants available to each state and a $66 million increase for access.
  • Pre-K Development Grants: $750 for preschool development grants (reflecting the President’s proposed Preschool for All plan) to support states’ efforts to expand/create high-quality preschool systems for 4-year-olds. (The President’s large state-federal preschool partnership of $75 billion over 10 years would be funded by mandatory money, so it is not part of the Appropriations bill.)
  • Title I Grants: $14.6 billion (a $125 million increase) for grants to local school districts for improving education for low-income students.
  • IDEA Special Education:
    • Part B: $11.7 billion (a $125 million increase) under section 611 of Part B Grants to States for educating students with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21.
    • Part C: $463 million (a $21 million increase) to support statewide systems of coordinated and early intervention services for children with disabilities 2 years old and younger, as well as their families.
  • Promise Neighborhoods: $100 million (a $40 million increase) to help low-income communities invest in a range of services to help children and families.

What Happens Next

The Senate bill will move forward to a Full Committee markup on Thursday, July 11th, and it is unclear if it will go to the floor before the August recess or in September.

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