On March 19, 2019, Representatives (D) Democrat, Gwen Moore and Republican (R) Jackie Walorski held a Capitol Hill Roundtable discussion on how three states are implementing the (FFSA) Family First Prevention Services Act’s comprehensive law.
Laurie Anne Spagnola, President, and CEO, Board of Child Care, Maryland was one of three panelists selected including David Whelan, Vice President, Child Well Being, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; and Sharon Pierce, President, and CEO, The Villages of Indiana, Inc; to share their unique perspectives on FFSA. Also, the roundtable was organized to better inform future policy considerations, and to serve as a resource.
The Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456 (P.L. 115-123) was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act on February 9, 2018. This Act reforms the federal child welfare financing streams, Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, providing services to families who are at risk of entering the child welfare system. The bill aims to prevent children from entering foster care by allowing federal reimbursement for mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and in-home parenting skill training. It also seeks to improve the well-being of children already in foster care by incentivizing states to reduce the placement of children in congregate care.
Every day the nation’s 650,000 social workers act as advocates, champions and leaders who make our society a better place to live. Today we invite you to meet Aleesha Gladden, who has been a therapist at our Strawbridge School for a little over two years.
Aleesha’s passion for the holistic care and well-being of her students comes through in the work she puts into meeting her students’ needs. Just this school year, she has facilitated multiple college tours for our graduating juniors and seniors to prepare them for life after Strawbridge. She also successfully advocated for potentially homeless youth to receive housing at BCC and has worked with outside agencies to ensure her students receive the benefits and services that they need. We are consistently impressed with her attitude and willingness to go above and beyond for her students. She is also the team’s official Self-Care Queen!
On behalf of the entire Spiritual Life Team, I invite you to spend a few moments in intentional positive thinking.
We have completed one quarter (10 days) of our commitment to 40 Days of Positive Actions!
Thank you for striving with us in this journey. I am grateful for each one of you.
How are you doing with daily acts of gratitude, kindness and positive thinking? I hope that you are noticing some changes in yourself. Perhaps you are like me and have experienced some challenges to focusing on being positive.
At times, I am sure that we all have lost focus. When this happens, gently direct your attention back to the positive. Remember that the more time you spend in positive thinking, the more positive your thinking will be. In addition, your individual positivity makes a difference for our community.
Our theme for this coming week is based on BCC’s second core value:
Act with Integrity.
We also suggest the action theme of Be Honest.
Integrity is compromised of honesty but also truth, congruity, sincerity, and consistency. It requires ethics, thoughtfulness, intentionality, principles, coherence and moral rightness.
How would you define or describe integrity?
Consider some of these quotes.
Integrity is doing the right thing even when it is difficult. Anonymous
Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. Oprah Winfrey
Integrity, the choice between what’s convenient and what’s right. Tony Dungy
Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. W. Clement Stone
I believe that we live with integrity when our beliefs, words and actions are congruent with who we say we are and who we are in actuality.
Integrity is the difference between just “talking the talk” and “walking the walk.”
I asked a group of our youth to define integrity. Here was one answer: “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching and holding yourself accountable when you don’t do the right thing.”
Let’s hold each other accountable with our commitment to positive actions today and this week.
I am grateful for these moments of centering and for your participation.
If you would like some scriptures to consider, please continue reading.
The integrity of the honest keeps them on track. Proverbs 11:3a (The Message)
May integrity and honesty protect me for I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:21 (New Living Translation)
Observe those who have integrity and watch those whose heart is right because the future belongs to persons of peace. Psalm 37:37 (Common English Bible)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
When we live and act with integrity, we will have peace.
Blessings on our week ahead –
Rev. Stacey Nickerson
Director of Church and Community Engagement
Board Of Child Care of The United Methodist Church, Inc.
3300 Gaither Road
Baltimore, MD 21244
(443) 845-4388 email@example.com
Welcome to the first week of 40 Days of Positive Actions and Thoughts!
On Wednesday, everyone in our BCC community was invited to take this pledge:
I make a commitment to strive for positivity in my life for the next 40 days. I will practice being kind to others as well as to myself.
We begin our positive actions with taking care of ourselves and making sure that we are safe. I once heard that people training to become Buddhist monks spend the first year of their training learning how to be compassionate with themselves. In order to care for others effectively, we must first care for ourselves.
Where are you in making yourself a priority? How do you care for yourself as a whole person – physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, intellectually?
How can you practice being kind to yourself?
In terms of our BCC core values, safety is first. Safety is our mindset at all times and in all situations. We work in a trauma-informed way to prepare our environment, ourselves and others. What can you do this day to help yourself and others be safe?
You can act on increasing your safety and the safety of others wherever you are. Each one of us impacts the overall environment and we can contribute positively to the safety of our BCC community.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
check around for items that might be a threat to someone’s safety such as a sharp item discarded on the sidewalk
deepen trust in your therapeutic relationships
introduce yourself to a visitor or a staff/youth you do not know
plan for an emergency
help a child or young person to talk about how they can contract for safety for themselves
“At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.” -Jodi Rell
Thank you for taking a moment to reflect with me on positivity, particularly in terms of self-care and safety.
For those of you who would like some religious resources, read on for selected scripture verses in the Judeo-Christian traditions.
The most ancient God is a place of safety; the eternal arms are a support. Deuteronomy 33:27
My God is my rock, in whom I find protection. God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. God is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. 2 Samuel 22:3
I will lie down and fall asleep in peace because you alone, God, let me live in safety. Psalm 4:8
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. Psalm 16:9
God’s name is a place of protection – good people can run there and be safe. Proverbs 18:10
You can go to God Most High to hide. You can go to God All-Powerful for protection. I say to God, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in you.” Psalm 91:1-2
As appropriate, I encourage to discuss images of God that help us feel safe and secure in our relationship with God. The scriptures give us many starting points for discussion.
May we work together with God’s blessing to increase our sense of safety as individuals and as a community. May we be kind to ourselves and then extend that kindness to others.
(Washington, DC) – Today, at Board of Child Care in Ward 6, Mayor Muriel Bowser highlighted two tax credits – the Early Learning Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – that can save District families thousands of dollars during tax season.
“Eligible Washingtonians can put thousands of dollars in their pockets through the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Early Learning Tax Credit; but to get the money, residents must know about these credits and claim them,” said Mayor Bowser. “We created the Early Learning Tax Credit as a way of making early child care more affordable for District families. Now, we want to make sure families know about it and are claiming it.”
In last year’s budget, Mayor Bowser created the Early Learning Tax Credit to make child care more affordable for District families. Through the Early Learning Tax Credit, families with children enrolled in a licensed DC child care facility can receive a tax credit of up to $1,000 per eligible child. An eligible child must be a dependent of the taxpayer and meet the following age requirements: a child under the age of 4 (age 0-3) as of December 31, 2018 or a child who reached the age of 4 between October 1 and December 31, 2018.
Additionally, low-income working families are eligible for up to $9,000 in combined District and federal EITCs. In 2018, 25 million workers received more than $63 billion in EITC refunds nationwide. In the District of Columbia, 50,000 workers received $117 million in EITC refunds. However, approximately 19,000 eligible residents failed to claim their credit, leaving nearly $45 million on the table.
Residents who worked last year and had an income of less than $54,884 should learn more about their EITC eligibility. Trained tax preparers can determine if individuals qualify for the EITC and ELC tax credits.
In addition to claiming these credits, families can save hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees by participating in the District Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking’s EITC campaign. The EITC campaign provides free tax preparation services at 17 centers for families making up to $55,000. Residents can find a full list of free tax preparation sites HERE.
On behalf of the Spiritual Life Team I would like to invite all of you to participate in the 40 Days of Positive Actions and Thoughts campaign!
I will practice being kind to others as well as to myself.
Everyone is encouraged to increase the positivity in our individual lives and across BCC. We will work together over the next forty days (not counting Sundays) to embody our core values of safety, integrity, empathy and impact. Please join us by taking your pledge of positivity!
I make a commitment to strive for positivity in my life for the next 40 days.
All members of the BCC community are invited to make this commitment. Attached you will find a calendar to keep track of your actions. You can write in each day what you do or check it off or place a sticker or color it in – however you want to record how you live out your commitment for each day. The 40 Days begins on Wednesday, March 6.
Feel free to adapt the chart and use it with your family and friends at home or the young people you work with here.
In order to encourage our BCC youth to participate and provide concrete incentives, we suggest that you tie the pledge of positivity in with our PBIS programs already in place. You may reward positive actions with “behavior bucks” as appropriate.
At the end of the 40 days, we will have opportunities to celebrate our commitment to positivity. Please look for the invitations from our Spiritual Life team.
Along the way, we will be supporting our collective efforts through spiritual life programming and weekly emails with specific suggestions on how to implement positive living. Your actions will make an impact within the entire BCC community and beyond.
Make the commitment – take the pledge – and let’s live and act in a spirit of positivity!
With gratitude from BCC’s Spiritual Life Team:
West Virginia Spiritual Life Coordinator – Mr. Aaron Andrews
Baltimore Spiritual Life Coordinator – Ms. Lakia Johnson
Denton – Pastor John Allen
PA – Pastor Bobby Jones
WV – Ms. Barbara Byers, Substance Abuse Treatment Director
Rev. Stacey Nickerson, Director of Church and Community Engagement