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By Press Release
Source : Saipan Tribune

The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs’ Child Care and Development Fund Program has officially launched the second year of its pilot program—Reach Higher, CNMI: Quality Rating and Improvement System—in an hourlong orientation and meeting with childcare providers.

According to CCDF administrator Maribel Loste, over 60 childcare providers and their directors participated in the orientation.

The first meeting was held at the San Antonio Social Hall, with Dr. Jasmin Jones of Evergreen Learning, Inc., program manager and QRIS assessor, facilitating the orientation.

Loste said they also reached out to caregivers and Gana Day Care, Golden Harvest Day Care, Holy Angel Day Care, Loving Hands Day Care, N.M.I.S., Pure Love Day Care, R & EQ Day Care, and Smart Start Nurturing Center were in attendance.

“We discussed the application process, timelines, dates to remember, onsite visits for baseline scores, onsite visits for determining Star Levels, Quality Improvement Plans, and coaching. The Quality Rating and Improvement System is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school-age care and education programs in the Commonwealth,” Loste said.

Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter said the quality rating and improvement system began as a way to strengthen and increase the standards of childcare in the Commonwealth.

“The Childcare Licensing Program is responsible for licensing and inspecting all childcare services in the CNMI, family childcare, group care homes, and after-school programs. The QRIS pilot program helps inform our caregivers and ensure health and safety standards are being met. We acknowledge that with consistent outreach and caregiver training, we can increase the quality and access of caregiving for the community that is also reliable and affordable,” Hunter said.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres noted that the Childcare and Development Fund continues to be instrumental in assisting low-income families in accessing quality childcare while parents participate in job training or higher education.

“It is essential that parents have the opportunity to seek gainful employment while having safe, affordable, and reliable options for childcare. Oftentimes, all members of the household are seeking training, working, or doing both and need childcare support. I commend the CCDF program for honing in on improving childcare standards and implementing a rating system that parents and caregivers can rely on. Regulating childcare facilities protects families, our community and, most importantly, our children. I express my gratitude to the CCDF team for keeping the momentum of this pilot program going and reaching out to all our caregivers,” Torres said. (PR)

Source: Saipan Tribune
By Kimberly Bautista

The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs was given a nearly 18-percent increase in its 2018 fiscal year budget compared to its budget last fiscal year and, according to DCCA Secretary Robert, that puts his department in better shape.

​“There were minor changes made to the DCCA budget but I think we’re in much better shape than we’ve been in many, many years,” said Hunter.

...continue reading "Hunter: DCCA in much better shape"

The large canoe house built to house the traditional Chamorro and Carolinian canoes under the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs’ Seafaring Traditions program is finally open.

As part of the 37th Annual Flame Tree Arts Festival opening ceremony last Thursday, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs hosted a dedication ceremony for the canoe house that has been under construction for several months.

...continue reading "DCCA dedicates its first canoe house"

Source: Marianas Variety

Reporter: Lori Lyn C. Lirio

​THE National Endowment for Arts has reinstated the Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture’s eligibility to apply for state partnership grants.

​Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter said the NEA informed them that the Arts Council is now eligible to apply after the federal grantor reviewed and accepted the end-of-year Final Descriptive Report for the FY13 partnership agreement and the list of other items that the CNMI submitted.

...continue reading "NEA reinstates Arts Council’s eligibility to apply for federal grants"