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Chris Murray, a resident of Juneau, was chosen to represent area parents at the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies’ (NACCRRA) National Policy Symposium in Washington, D.C. this week. At the Symposium, Murray, along with a team from thread, met with Alaska’s Senators, Representatives and congressional staff members to share child care concerns and advocate for more affordable, quality child care for Alaska parents.

“We are extremely pleased to have parents like Murray attend NACCRRA’s Policy Symposium,” said Linda K. Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA.  “By attending the Symposium and voicing his child care concerns to policymakers, he is primed to effect change and improve the quality of care that children receive.”

When Murray and his wife began to think about starting a family, they considered the child care options available to them in Juneau.  After researching local centers, the couple realized that they could not afford any of the centers that provided the quality care they wanted.  When their son, Anderson, was born, the Murrays changed their work schedules so that one parent could always take care of their son.   Although they know that Anderson is safe under their watch, the couple sees each other infrequently; only as they pass their son off to the other parent. The Murrays would like to work regular hours and spend more time together as a family, but the child care that is available in their price range makes them concerned for their child’s safety.

Today, more than 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care arrangement every week while their parents work.  On average, children of working mothers spend 35 hours every week in child care.  Studies repeatedly have shown that quality child care - care that provides a loving, safe, stable and age-appropriate environment - helps children enter school ready to learn. Yet, less than 10 percent of the nation’s child care is of quality care.

In Alaska in 2010, just over 35,800 children under the age of 6 were in need of some sort of child care setting as their parents worked. During this same year, the number of licensed child care spaces totaled 18,350.

“As families are increasingly seeking employment across the country and in Alaska, affordable child care becomes a significant factor in finding and keeping a job,” says Stephanie Berglund, thread’s CEO. “Chris’s own story is a prime example of the need for quality child care in our communities.”

NACCRRA’s National Policy Symposium seeks to raise the visibility of child care issues, such as the lack of quality, and advocate for improved conditions.  It features numerous sessions on the latest policy, research and practice developments in child care and CCR&R.  The Symposium also offers a forum for policy analysis and discussion, examination of latest research, quality training, peer networking, visits to legislators and resources dissemination for about 600 attendees from across the country. 

The Parents @ Symposium program is designed to ensure that policymakers hear directly from parents. The program includes a series of highly interactive sessions designed specifically to prepare parents to meet with their representatives in Congress and the media.  State Networks and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) across the nation were invited to select parents to participate in this initiative.  Agencies were invited to select parents who encountered difficulties finding and paying for child care and were willing to share their experience with others. 

NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that families in every local community have access to high quality, affordable childcare. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about NACCRRA and how you can join us in ensuring access to quality child care for all families, visit us at

thread is one of 47 statewide Child Care Resource & Referral Networks across the nation. For more information about thread, visit us at

thread, Alaska’s child care resource and referral organization is traveling to Washington, D.C. this March, for the National Policy Symposium hosted by NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

With support from NACCRRA, Chris Murray, a parent from Juneau, AK is joining thread to share his child care story. Chris was selected among several parents who applied for the opportunity to travel with thread to the Symposium and meet with Alaska's Congressional Delegation, among other policy representatives.

Chris and his wife’s very personal discussion about having children was influenced by the lack of quality child care in his community in Southeast Alaska.

“Even before we decided to get pregnant, we took into consideration the issue of child care, and unfortunately the cost for quality care became a checkmark in the con column,” said Murray. Today, Chris and his wife share in taking care of his son at home.

The policy event brings together more than 600 child care resource and referral professionals, early care and education experts, researchers, and other early childhood education representatives from around the country to Washington, D.C. on an annual basis. The Symposium offers a forum for policy discussion, information about the latest research, high-quality training, peer networking, and visits with legislators.

thread would like to bring your Alaska child care story to Washington, D.C. to share with legislators. If you are interested in sharing your story, please email and type “My Story” in the subject line.

Read more about the 2011 National Policy Symposium in Washington D.C.

thread, as part of a coalition of early childhood experts and leading organizations from across the state, is urging elected officials to embrace these public policy priorities for 2011.

The priorities, focused on improving the systems and funding directed toward early care and education opportunities, are designed to help children succeed in school and continue to move toward a healthy workforce and economy in Alaska.

The priorities lead toward a more comprehensive approach in our state's early care and education system. Read them here and find out other ways you can get involved and share your story!

thread invites you to our silver anniversary winter wonderland party, celebrating growing through generations and twenty-five years promoting quality early education and child development in Alaska.

With a lead sponsorship from BP, thread is excited to offer many free and fun family activities at the event on Saturday, January 15th from 12:00pm-2:00pm at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage. thread is proud to host Native artist Jack Dalton, Raven Feathers and The Wind at our celebration.  The event will also include family activities like:

  • Children's music by Fiddle De Dee
  • Party snacks and anniversary cake
  • Family photography
  • Face painting
  • Indoor games
  • A coloring contest
  • Red mitten party favors
  • Horse-drawn carriage rides!

The Winter Wonderland Party is hosted by thread with generous support from BP. 

For more information, event details or to RSVP, please contact

You haven't missed your chance to support and give back to quality early care and education in Alaska. Your year-end support helps thread continue to advocate for safe, accessible and quality care for children throughout Alaska.

It's as easy as clicking here and making an online and tax-deductible gift! thread can only achieve what we do because of the support we receive from our friends and partners like you who have helped, through your donations, expand the scope and reach of thread services to include things like:

With the end of 2010 fast approaching, we hope you will consider making a gift online today.

Also be on the lookout in January, 2011 for Pick.Click.Give through you online PFD Application!

Thanks for all you do to invest in quality early care and education in Alaska. Happy holidays from thread.

thread, Alaska’s Child Care Resource and Referral Network, is celebrating twenty-five years providing quality early care and education service and programs. As part of thread’s 25th Anniversary, we are sponsoring a photo and a recipe contest highlighting our anniversary theme: Growing through Generations. Applicants are encouraged to submit photos or recipes that capture or highlight their interpretation of this theme and what Growing through Generations means to you. Entires will be judged on how well they represent the theme, their connection to thread’s mission and overall creativity.

thread will be awarding prizes to contest winners at our final silver anniversary event: a free winter wonderland party on Saturday, January 15th at the Hotel Captain Cook from 12:00pm-2:00pm.

"The Winter Wonderland party is our culmination event," says Stephanie Berglund, thread's CEO. "After twenty-five events celebrating our anniversary theme of Growing through Generations, we are honored to share the wonderful stories and information we've gathered from people that have been touched by the issues surrounding quality child care and to recognize our founders and historical roots at the event."

"We'll also be excited to see all the great photo and recipe ideas and award prizes to the winners at the party!"

thread, through a generous lead sponsorship by BP Exploration ( Alaska) Inc. is hosting the free community event including children's musical group Fiddle De Dee, family portraits, arts and craft activities, party food and much more! Check back often for more event details. For questions, please contact



thread is honored to invite parents to join our staff in our nation's capitol and to share your story about early education and child care, March 15-19, 2011 during NACCRRA's National Policy Symposium in Washington D.C.  One parent will be selected to join thread staff and attend meetings with Alaska’s Congressional delegation on Capitol Hill, trainings, seminars and press events focused on quality early care and education issues. thread will cover the costs of airfare, hotel and daily per diem for one selected parent participant.

NACCRRA – the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies is hosting the National Policy Symposium to engage with our nation's leaders about quality early child care and education topics.

Parents interested in this advocacy opportunity must complete thread's National Policy Symposium application and if selected, travel to Washington D.C. and stay in a hotel. By submitting an application, parents agree to give thread permission to share your story (including your name initials and home community; your full name will only be used with prior consent) in future media and other thread communications.

Click here to download the National Parent Policy Symposium APPLICATON (Word document). Applications are due Monday, December 6th.

To learn more about NACCRRA and the National Policy Symposium, log on to:

Posted in thread News.    

thread is happy to partner with our early care and education partners, like the Alaska Parent Information and Resource Center (AKPIRC) to celebrate November as Parent Involvement Month!

Earlier this month, Governor Sean Parnell signed an Executive Proclamation stating November as Parent Involvement Month, in part to highlight how "the importance of parental involvement in education takes the efforts of all Alaskans."

thread has long been involved in promoting different ways families and early educators can work together to nuture healthy children and strong families, like through the Strengthening Families Initiative. Now a multi-year effort, thread continues to promote Strengthening Families and its five "protective factors" through classes, training and field trips.  For example, thread recently hosted a "Parade of Centers" for early care providers to tour and learn how five different childcare centers in Anchorage have incorporated Strengthening Families' factors in their programs. The five factors include:

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need, and
  • Children's social and emotional development

During this holiday season, thread also encourages parents and families to think about activities or celebrations you have planned for this month and throughout the holidays as important times to learn about your child and celebrate your family.

thread hosts a variety of community and special events throughout the year for parents, early educators and children to gather and have fun. For more information, please visit our special events page.


thread invites families and early educators to join us for a day full of learning about the Strengthening Families initiatiave as we tour different child care centers in Anchorage during the Parade of Centers on November 13th from 9:00am-4:00pm.

Strengthening Families is an effort among early care and education programs, child welfare departments as well as communities to promote the importance of positive child development. Strengthening Families groups information into five "Protective Factors" including:
  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Support in times of need
  • Children's social and emotional development
By learning the Strengthening Families approach, research shows parents are able to parent more effectively, even under stress. Parade of Center class participants will tour childcare centers in Anchorage that are beginning their third year of involvement with the Strengthening Families Initiative. Transportation to and from child care centers is provided. Participants can meet at the thread offices at 3350 Commercial Drive in Mountain View and should bring a sack lunch, something to write with, and a camera.
For more information, please contact Kathy Hall, thread's Strengthening Families Coordinator at


thread announces new courses for early educators available now through E-Learning: a web-based and self-paced training for early educators statewide.

"We are so excited to have E-Learning up and ready to go," says Kathy Kline, thread's Director of Professional Development. "Here is another opportunity for people to take courses on their own time and gain training credits too."

The courses available through E-Learning are available at anytime and provide credits for educators seeking their Child Development Association credential.

thread works with early educators across the state to provide information and training and are continually looking for ways to expand access to these trainings.  All thread courses provide a variety of engaging topics designed specifically for the early childhood professional. 

For more information, please visit thread's new Distance Learning tab on our website!

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