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Job Announcement: Statewide Coordinator, Reach out and Read Alabama

July 2020

TITLE: Statewide Coordinator, Reach Out and Read-Alabama
REPORTS TO: Executive Director, Alabama Chapter-American Academy of Pediatrics (AL-AAP)

About AL-AAP: A non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization, the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ALAAP) is the only statewide member organization of pediatricians, with 850 members representing both academic and community pediatrics in both urban and rural areas. The organization was established in the 1930s and existed for almost five decades before becoming exempt as a 501 (c) 3 in December 1986 and adding executive staff in 1991. Governed by a 13-member board, the AL-AAP established a statewide Reach Out and Read coalition in 2006 as an arm to promote early literacy in pediatric practice. The AL-AAP executive office is in Montgomery.

About Reach Out and Read: Founded in 1989, Reach Out and Read is a national non-profit organization/program that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. Reach Out and Read’s national network of trained pediatric providers use books as a diagnostic tool during regular check-ups, and teach parents how to engage their child with a book to promote positive parent-child interactions during the rapid brain growth between birth and age five, particularly in economically disadvantaged families who are at risk for adverse outcomes. The only national early literacy intervention delivered through pediatric care providers, the program has been the subject of 16 independent studies, the largest body of scientific research for any psychosocial intervention in pediatrics. Research shows that children served by Reach Out and Read are read to more often, enjoy sharing books more, and have better expressive and receptive language skills.

POSITION SUMMARY: The Reach Out and Read-Alabama Statewide Coordinator (SC) plans, implements, and leads the fundraising, outreach, technical assistance, provider training, and community relations initiatives of Reach Out and Read-Alabama, which is Alabama’s affiliate of Reach Out and Read pediatric office sites. The SC will lead the continued development of this well-established program.

A results-oriented, experienced, and entrepreneurial professional, the SC is the face of Reach Out and Read across the state, with a targeted primary focus on ensuring that this national model is implemented with impact on the families and children served, and on fundraising/grant-writing for sustainability and program growth.

The Statewide Coordinator has a unique opportunity to help shape the future direction of Reach Out and Read-Alabama with the guidance of the AL-AAP Board, ROR-AL Medical Director and, if/once established, the ROR-AL
Advisory/Partnership Council.

For the full job description, click here.

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Help Me Grow Annual Report

HMG 2019 Annual Report
Help Me Grow: Building Impact 2019 synthesizes information collected from more than 100 HMG systems across the country to capture:
  • Breadth and scope of HMG system Implementation and progress since 2018
  • Capacity to reach children, families, community partners, and child health care providers
  • Novel approaches and system enhancements currently explored by HMG affiliates

Download the report – Help Me Grow: Building Impact 2019

by Lauren Till Lauren Till No Comments

In the News

Ivey appoints new secretary for early childhood education department

Ivey appoints new secretary for early childhood education department

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Gov. Kay Ivey has chosen a new leader for the state’s Department of Early Childhood Education. Dr. Barbara Cooper will become the DECE’s new secretary, effective immediately.

Cooper, who has more than 30 years of experience, has been with the department since 2018. She was previously DECE’s Director of the Office of School Readiness and the Birth to Grade 12 Advisor for the Alabama Governor’s Office of Education and Workforce Transformation.

She was also appointed by the Alabama State Board of Education to serve as the Chief Administrative Officer during the state’s intervention of the Montgomery Public Schools system. In that role, she worked to improve leadership and governance at MPS.

“Dr. Barbara Cooper has spent her professional career dedicated to helping students achieve their greatest potential. She and I share the same goal, and that is to make Alabama a better place, which begins with our youngest citizens,” Gov. Ivey said.

Read the full article here.

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Alabama Parent Survey Results

Working Families and Child Care in Alabama
Online survey of working families conducted between May 18, 2020 and June 2, 2020
Alabama Partnership for Children (APC)

The APC offered the survey through multiple child care and workforce partner agencies as an online assessment of working families’ child care needs. The results offer us direction about what is needed to safely open back up child care, what families need, and concerns about returning to work and child care.

Prior to the pandemic, recent reports indicate that in “normal” times, there is a child care shortage in Alabama. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s report, Child Care Gaps Assessment: Alabama (April 2020), reports 214,150 child care slots needed based on children under 6 with all parents in the workforce. This was calculated during a time when Alabama had historically low unemployment and an estimated need for 500,000 newly skilled workers by the year 2025, according to the report of Alabama WORKS, Preparing Alabama’s Workforce for Opportunity and Growth. The report identified lack of access to child care as one of the top three barriers to labor participation and/or attending school or college.

The Gaps Assessment identified every available source of child care and provided an estimated 128,959 available slots – showing a gap of 85,554. Even when considering families who don’t access child care outside of their homes, having family members provide care or paying for “nanny” care in the home, we know that the steady reduction of child care slots available requires us to build and now re-build this necessary workforce support.

As reported by VOICES for Alabama’s Children in the Kids Count Data Book, between 2010 and 2019, the total number of licensed child care programs has gone from 2,340 down to 1,698. The heaviest loss is with Family Day Care Homes, providers who are licensed to care for up to (6) children in their homes. This is often the only option for rural families where there are not enough children to fill a child care center. There were 844 of these providers in 2010, and that number had shrunk to just 428 by 2019. Because 75% of Alabama is considered rural, an estimated 60% of children under the age of five live in child care deserts – census tracts where there is no child care or only enough to serve one-third of the need. Yet, for low- and middle-income families, the cost of child care is often up to 30% of household income, in some areas more than college tuition.

This was before the pandemic. A national survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) during April 2020, found that in Alabama, 90% of programs that responded were closed entirely, and an additional 5% were closed to everyone except essential personnel. Of the few programs open, all reported operating with less than 50% capacity. Also, 55% reported laying off or furloughing employees or reported being laid off or furloughed themselves. Another 33% anticipated such actions being necessary in the coming 1-2 weeks. This was in April, and we know that may programs have closed permanently.

The challenges of opening child care programs so that working families can return to work are multiple and have no easy solutions. Extra cleaning, extra equipment, limited numbers, and difficulty obtaining any of the needed supplies are the primary concerns, along with the critical concern of opening with limited enrollment and reduced funding.

View the full results here.

by APC APC No Comments

News Release: ‘Feed Me Words’ Promotes Talk With Me Baby Program

Download News Release (.doc)



Statewide Campaign to Promote Free Family Resources Supporting the
Healthy Brain Development of Their Children – Even Before They are Born


Montgomery, AL – All babies need “language nutrition.” It’s just as important as food nutrition, and it has the proven ability to determine the best possible path to success for every child no matter where they live or their families’ economic challenges.


The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) launched this week the “Feed Me Words” campaign, which is focused on spreading awareness on what adults can and must do right now to help every child in Alabama get the language nutrition they need for healthy brain development. It’s much easier than people realize; it costs nothing, can be given anytime and anywhere, and is a gift of joy and quality time for the adults, too.


“The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical years for their brain development; it’s when 95% of brain development occurs, and also when the unused brain cells get ‘pruned’,” explained APC Executive Director Gail Piggott. “Research shows that when adults have frequent, rich conversations with children during this very crucial time, they are helping determine how ready they will be for success in school and in life.”


The campaign, which launched its social media messaging in early December, is set to continue through the first quarter of 2020. Visitors of gain access to all of the free resources provided by the APC and Talk With Me BabyTM, a program of the Georgia Department of Public Health.


“Alabama is taking a strong lead investing in early childhood development and education,” said Governor Kay Ivey in a recent statement. “I’m excited to support the Feed Me Words campaign, and I encourage all Alabamians to tap into these resources and learn more about supporting every single child’s foundational brain development.


“Our children will be charged with leading our state and will need to enter the workforce fully prepared for success; when we do everything that we can to ensure their best possible start in life, we also ensure a prosperous future for Alabama,” said Governor Ivey.


The APC has partnered with the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Georgia Department of Public Health to bring the expertise and resources of the Talk With Me Baby™ initiative to the state of Alabama. The online resources are free and provide many engaging and fun ways adults can talk, read and sing with the babies and toddlers in their lives.


“Children’s lives can be changed if they are engaged from birth in rich conversation with adults,” said DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) is thrilled to be a part of this exciting work to help ensure that all babies hear lots of loving words every day.


“We know that children need healthy food to grow; and research tells us that reading, singing, and talking to children is just as important to their growth,” Commissioner Buckner explained. “The ‘Language Nutrition’ they receive from parents and caregivers is essential to their future development and success in school.”


The multimedia campaign, incorporating social media, broadcast and print, and the website, is an effort to reach everyone in Alabama who interacts with children under the age of five, whether in their own families, in their community, or in a professional capacity. The message is simple: talk, read and sing WITH infants and toddlers, interacting with them using every-day language, eye contact, body language, and – most importantly – allowing children time to respond back to them, even if just through “coos,” gestures and eye movements.



Related information for child care professionals:


The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) partnered earlier this year with the Atlanta Speech School’s Cox Campus to bring Read Right from the Start – a free, online professional development program – to anyone in Alabama working with children from birth to pre-k, who wishes to enhance their skills to help children develop strong language and literacy skills. More information the program and how to register can be found at


Talk With Me Baby™ and Read Right from the Start are generously supported through funding from the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, and the Alabama Department of Mental Health, and by private funding from the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the Protective Life Foundation and the PNC Foundation.


The Alabama Partnership for Children is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for Alabama’s children from birth to 5 years of age. This public-private partnership focuses on finding ways to use the state’s limited resources most efficiently to ensure that every Alabama child will have the opportunity to succeed in life. For more information, visit




Gail Piggott, executive director, 334-271-0304,
Julie Odom, 919-302-0773 mobile;
Collie Wells, 334-328-5853 mobile;

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News Release: Alabama’s Economy Depends on Working Parents and Child Care

Download News Release (.doc)

Alabama’s Economy Depends on Working Parents and Child Care


Alabamians are going to work. Nearly 100,000 more of the state’s residents were employed in August 2019 compared to two years earlier.[1]  That’s based on the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and works out to roughly an extra two out of every 100 Alabamans over the age of 15 collecting a paycheck. The recent good news continues a long-running trend in Alabama, where the share of adults with a job has risen to its highest point in nearly eleven years and resulted in the state’s lowest unemployment rate on record.

To further foster this trend, it is important to understand the critical role child care is playing in boosting Alabama’s economy. Child care isn’t only a means to providing parents with the option of work. By enabling more Alabama parents to find or keep a job and balance work with their family responsibilities, child care also unlocks an important source of talent for Alabama employers.  Plus, it is an important industry in its own right. Over 16,000 Alabamians are paid for work related to child care, and the state’s child care sector as a whole is estimated to generate direct revenues and support for additional education and work that, taken together, are worth more than $800 million annually.[2]

Op Ed Child Care the Work Force

Source: Child Care in State Economies: 2019 Update, Committee for Economic Development, 2019.

Alabamas Economy Depends on Working Parents and Child Care Tuscaloosa forum November 20 2019 (approved) This fall, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, West Alabama Works, and the Alabama Partnership for Children held a forum where employee child care challenges were discussed. Employers identified the lack of affordable, accessible child care for employees – including the availability of child care during non-traditional hours as well as related issues such as the low pay earned by the child care workforce, which impacts the supply of and growth in the industry to provide access to child care. These issues are connected because the supply of child care is related to the availability of a child care workforce to provide child care services.  In a good economy where workers can earn higher wages in the fast food industry or retail sales, it’s challenging to retain child care programs in the community – let alone grow them to meet employee demand.

One sign of how important child care is for employers and employees alike is that, by one estimate, businesses nationwide lose more than $4.4 billion a year due to employee absences resulting from breakdowns in child care arrangements.[3]  Parents who struggle to find reliable child care may be limited in the hours they can work or the jobs they can perform. And research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that lowering the cost of child care paid by parents significantly increases the likelihood that a mother will work.[4]

Mothers, who typically bear the brunt of parental child care responsibilities, are a significant part of Alabama’s workforce.  Across the state, more than 200,000 families with children under age 12 include a mother who works or is looking for work.[5]  Even among mothers with small children, most participate in the workforce. Last year, about 67.8 percent of women with children under age 6 were in the state’s labor force.[6]  But that contribution to Alabama’s economy depends on the availability of and access to child care, often purchased from one of Alabama’s more than 7,000 market-based child care providers.[7]  The result is that about 56.7 percent of Alabama children from birth to age five spend more than ten hours per week in the care of someone other than their parents.[8]  Knowing from research about the impact of adult interactions on a child’s development in those key years from birth to age 5, early learning providers play a crucial role on the impact of those educational settings which help build the foundation for future success in life.

Those findings, drawn from the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board’s report, “Child Care in State Economies,” help reinforce the key role child care plays in facilitating the work of parents and strengthening Alabama’s workforce. And with so many Alabama children spending significant time in non-parental care, it is clear that access to affordable, quality child care will matter not just for today’s workers and employers, but for the healthy development and school readiness of the state’s next generation of potential workers and citizens as well.

The consensus at the Tuscaloosa forum was that both partnerships with the business community and additional state funding is needed to address employee access to child care (e.g., affordability), the child care supply shortage (e.g., availability of child care), and workforce compensation strategies (e.g., state wage supplements or tax credits to retain and grow the child care workforce).  With an anticipated 500,000 additional workers needed by 2025 throughout Alabama, we can’t afford to ignore current child care challenges. These are challenges with solutions. The time is now to join all stakeholders and develop strategies to ensure that addressing employee child care challenges is a top priority. The future prosperity of our state depends on it.


Gail Piggott, Executive Director – Alabama Partnership for Children
Jim Page, President & Chief Executive Officer – The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama


[1] Authors’ calculations based on “States and selected areas:  Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, January 1976 to date, seasonally adjusted,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed on October 9, 2019. Alabama’s employed civilian labor force increased from 2.088 million in August 2017 to 2.185 million in August 2019, and the share of the civilian noninstitutional population employed increased from 54.4 percent to 56.6 percent.

[2]Child Care in State Economies: 2019 Update,” Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board (CED), January 2019.

[3]Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2017,” Child Care Aware of America, 2017.

[4] Kimberly Burgess, Nina Chien, Maria Enchautegui, “The Effects of Child Care Subsidies on Maternal Labor Force Participation in the United States,” US Department of Health and Human Services, December 2016.

[5] Authors’ calculations based on Sarah Flood, Miriam King, Renae Rodgers, Steven Ruggles, and J. Robert Warren,

“Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 6.0,” Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 2018.

[6] [6] U.S. Census Bureau, Table S 2301, 2018 American Community Survey, 1 Year Estimates.

[7]Child Care in State Economies: 2019 Update,” Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board (CED), January 2019.

[8] Ibid.

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Early Language & Literacy Coordinator, Talk With Me Baby™

| Early Language & Literacy Coordinator (Talk With Me Baby™)


The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) in Montgomery, AL has an opening for a part-time Early Language & Literacy Coordinator for the Talk With Me Baby™ initiative. The Early Language & Literacy Coordinator (ELL-TWMB) supports the Special Projects Coordinator by providing technical assistance and coordinating administrative activities to allow for the successful launch, implementation and support of early language and literacy models across the state. This is an exempt position, and the ELL-TWMB reports to the Special Projects Coordinator.

This position is part-time (20 hrs/wk) , and minimum qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related health or human services field, with experience in child care/early childhood, early language & literacy, training and professional development, and data management preferred. The APC offers an opportunity to work with multiple state agency partners, local service providers, parents/families, and advocates to deliver high quality programs and services that promote young children’s optimum development. The agency observes state and federal holidays and has generous annual and sick leave policies. Highly organized and dedicated candidates with a strong work ethic who want to work with a high energy group of supportive professionals in a family-friendly environment are encouraged to apply.

For consideration, please send a resume by January 15, 2020 to:

APC Employment
2595 Bell Road
Montgomery, AL 36117

Or, email with the subject line “ELL-TWMB Coordinator”.


by Julie Odom Julie Odom No Comments

Coming Soon: APC’s “Feed Me Words!” Campaign

Logo FeedMeWords org w transparent bkg final


The Alabama Partnership for Children is partnering with the Georgia Department of Public Health to bring the expertise and resources of the Talk With Me BabyTM initiative to the state of Alabama, and the Feed Me Words campaign will spread public awareness of these resources, as well as the importance of intentional early language and literacy activities for all children.

“Language nutrition” refers to rich language interactions between caregivers and infants and is critical for a child’s socio-emotional and vocabulary development. Remarkably, vocabulary at the age of three is the single strongest predictor of a child’s future literacy and educational success, which has important implications for health and economic outcomes.

2017 TWMB Primary LogoTalk With Me Baby resources provide both visual and written cues, and bright, positive, baby-friendly designs to help bring the message of language nutrition to all families. Talk With Me Baby is reaching caregivers through a variety of media sources and touch points, like print media and resources, digital media, social media, and a comprehensive website.

Click here to browse the Talk With Me Baby resources.

The Alabama Partnership for Children has also partnered with the Atlanta Speech School’s Cox Campus to bring Read Right from the Start to anyone in Alabama working with children from birth to pre-k, who wishes to enhance their skills to help children develop strong language and literacy skills. This research-based professional development program contains interactive, video-based coursework, which is focused on practical strategies teachers can use to promote young children’s language and literacy.

Click here to find out more, and to register for the Read Right from the Start online training program.


Talk With Me Baby™ and Read Right from the Start are generously supported through funding from the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, and the Alabama Department of Mental Health, and by private funding from the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the Protective Life Foundation and the PNC Foundation.


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Whole Foods Market’s Community Day Generates $8,000

Whole Foods 2019 01

Whole Foods Market employees in Montgomery present check to the APC

The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) participated in the Whole Foods Market 5% Community Giving Day at all five Alabama stores on October 17, 2019.

Volunteers were on-hand at all Alabama stores both mid-day and during the evening hours. The volunteers provided activities for children, such as creating an apple car snack using apple slices and grapes, and some even read books about healthy eating. Volunteers also spoke with many customers about the APC and how the organization supports child care programs across the state to develop healthy menus, and to increase their access to healthy foods — especially locally grown foods.

APC is grateful for this partnership with Whole Foods Market and the outpouring of support received from customers who took the time to learn about the APC’s great work in Alabama.

APC will receive $8,041.88 from this event, and plans to use these funds to organize a gardening grant for ECE programs!

Child care programs in Alabama that are interested in implementing Farm to Early Care and Education activities are encouraged to complete this short questionnaire for a chance to win a $70 Wal-Mart gift card!

HKHF Logo 2019For more information, please contact Caliste Chong at


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How Can We Help You Start a Farm to Early Care & Education Program?

HKHF Logo 2019The Alabama Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) Coalition has created an online questionnaire for child care providers because we want to learn more about how we can provide support to implement food and farming education activities in the classroom, to grow your very own fruits and vegetables on-site, and to purchase locally grown produce! Over the next several months, we will be working to develop training presentations and resources to answer questions you may have and to tackle challenges ECE programs face when implementing these types of activities.

We would love to hear from you! You can complete this short online questionnaire and enter your contact information at the end for a chance to win a $70 Wal-Mart gift card! It should only take 10-15 minutes to complete. Please feel free to share this opportunity with any programs you feel may be interested.

If you have already completed this questionnaire, you do not need to complete it again.
For more information, please email Caliste Chong at