NCSL Early Care and Education Update



Recent NCSL Early Care and Education Products

NCSL’s Early Care and Education staff, along with our colleagues in education and health, host webinars and podcasts, produce reports, create webpages and write articles to support your work. Here are our recent products.

Briefs, Webpages and Resources

  • The 2019 State Legislative Action Report Now Available: NCSL’s Early Care and Education team tracks introduced and enacted legislation related to child care, prekindergarten, home visiting, parent engagement and support, governance structures and financing of programs. In 2019, state lawmakers introduced at least 806 bills, with 95 bills in 32 states signed into law. Learn more about what happened around in the country in this annual summary.
  • Building a High-Quality Early Care and Education Workforce: Children under age 5 spend more than 30 hours a week with nonparental caregivers, in center- and home-based child care, preschool classrooms, and informal arrangements with family, friends or neighbors. Attributes of high-quality early learning settings typically include licensure and accreditation, low staff-child ratios and strong parent engagement, among others. Learn more about what legislators are doing to build a well-qualified and supported early care and education workforce.
  • Blog Post | NCSL’s Maternal and Child Health Database: A Nursery for State Innovation: NCSL tracks 14 categories of legislation addressing maternal and child health in its Maternal Child Health Database. This January 2020 post summarizes the main areas of state legislative activity in 2019.
  • Archived Webinar | Prenatal-to-3: Translating the Science and Evidence to State Policy: The science is clear that prenatal to age 3 is the most sensitive period for a child’s developing brain and body, building the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. Learn on this archived webinar about strengthening prenatal-to-3 systems of care with evidence-informed state policies and how to collaborate with the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs.
  • Archived Webinar | Paid Family and Medical Leave: Research indicates that caring and nurturing relationships between infants and adults support healthy development long into the future. While polls show overwhelming bipartisan support for paid family and medical leave, the United States is the only developed country without a national paid leave policy. Learn from experts on this archived webinar as they explore paid family and medical leave policies in a handful of states across the country.
  • “Our American States” Podcast | “How Kids Learn”: On this episode of NCSL's podcast, Linda Darling Hammond, president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute, explains what we are learning about brain development and how it affects how young people are taught today.

Legislation Update 

Young girl reading with teacher

NCSL’s early care and education database tracks legislation from 2008 to present for all states and territories. Search 2020 legislation by state, topic, status, primary sponsor, bill number or keyword. The database is updated weekly through the generous support of the Alliance for Early Success.

Check the session calendar for convening and adjourning dates, updates on special sessions, and dates of formal organizational sessions.

Introduced bills of note:

  • Colorado SB 144 | Creates a home visiting expansion grant program to increase the number of children and families served by nationally recognized, evidence-based home visiting models with the goal of improving school readiness. Up to $2 million, for each of two grant cycles, will be made available to selected grant applicants for implementation.
  • Florida HB 193 | Increases subsidy by up to $300 per month for certain foster parents to cover costs of early education or child care services.
  • Hawaii SB 2289 | Establishes a child care facility contribution refundable tax credit equal to 50% of the amount of the monetary contribution a taxpayer makes to a child care facility in the state. Prohibits a taxpayer from claiming both the child care contribution tax credit and the credit for employment-related expenses for household and dependent care services.
  • Iowa HB 2175 | Relates to the construction of child care facilities by providing developers with sales and use tax refunds.
  • South Carolina SB 291 | Creates the Department of Early Development and Education to oversee programs, including home visiting; Women, Infants, and Children; Head Start; and child care. Establishes two divisions within the department: the early health and wellness division and the early care and education division.
  • Washington HB 1392 |Creates the cost of child care regulations work group. Requires it to study the financial effects of licensing regulations on child care businesses, direct and indirect costs, and benefits to child care providers that are associated with participating in the Early Achievers quality rating system.

Other NCSL legislative databases of interest:

Prenatal-to-Three Policy Symposium

Infant holder an adults finger

Legislators and staff from 16 states gathered in Austin, Texas to explore how state policymakers can improve outcomes for infants and toddlers. The prenatal-to-three policy symposium was an opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding of legislative and funding strategies, network with other state policymakers and experts, and consider policy solutions in their home state. 

Over the day and half together, participants were introduced to the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs. Participants also had the opportunity to explore less-frequently-used funding ideas, hear from legislative leaders on successes in their states, and take a deep dive into the importance of fathers and fatherhood initiatives related to infants and toddlers. In addition to learning and networking, participants enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Texas Capitol building and Austin’s famous finger-lickin’ BBQ. Resources from the Prenatal-to-Three Policy Symposium are available on NCSL’s website.

This symposium was made possible with a generous grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative.

NCSL’s Early Learning Fellows Program Ramps up for 2020

early learning fellows logo including capitol domeThe nomination, application and selection process for NCSL’s 2020 cohort of Early Learning Fellows will begin March 2. Now entering its ninth year, this program, through a competitive application process, accepts up to 30 NCSL members annually to dive deeply into many of the early learning policy options being discussed throughout the country. After gaining approval from leadership in your chamber, applications for 2020 must be received by April 15.

The Early Learning Fellows program is designed for legislators and staff chairing or serving on human services, education and appropriation committees. It includes two face-to-face meetings, two webinars and ongoing technical assistance from NCSL staff.

As of 2019, 213 legislators and 27 legislative staff representing 48 states and two territories have participated. Alumni represent a balanced cross-section of parties and chambers. 

Mark Your Calendar | Upcoming Webinars

Environmental Concerns in Child Care Settings

image including the words webinar and a laptop keyboard

Register and join us Friday, March 20 at 2 p.m. EST to learn more about the 13 states where child care facilities are required to perform environmental tests for lead-based paint, lead in water, asbestos and radon. Explore the more than 40 states that require fire, health or building code inspections. With young children in the United States spending 40% of their time in licensed child care facilities, states are enacting laws and policies to limit environmental hazards and promote better health and safety in child care settings.

Federal Update 

NCSL’s Washington, D.C.-based staff ensure that state legislatures have a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system. Stay up to date with NCSL’s bimonthly Health and Human Services State-Federal Newsletter for health and human services committee members. The HHS Update provides updated on important federal legislation. Read the November/December edition today.

Featured Resources

Helping New Families Flourish

Source: American Enterprise Institute | January 2020
Tune into this video interview between Katharine Stevens of the American Enterprise Institute, and Judith Van Ginkel of Every Child Succeeds. The interview explores home visiting, maternal depression, and the importance of well-trained, insightful and sensitive home visitors, particularly during the critical first 1,000 days of life. Van Ginkel discusses her current home visiting work in Ohio and Kentucky.  

Early Childhood Workforce

Source: Committee for Economic Development (CED) | January 2020
CED’s refundable tax credit toolkit is designed to offer an array of background resources for the consideration and development of early learning educator refundable tax credits in the states. Assess the resources.

Resources from the Field

Strategies for Financing the Integration of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Data Systems

Source: Child Trends | February 2020
Read the brief.

Increased Compensation for Early Educators: It’s Not Just “Nice to Have” — It’s a Must-Have

Source: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment | February 2020
Read the blog.

Enhancing STEM in P-3 Education

Source: Education Commission of the States | January 2020
Read the brief.

Elevating Nebraska’s Early Childhood Workforce

Source: Buffett Early Childhood Institute | January 2020
Read the report.

Ensuring Healthy Births Through Prenatal Support

Source: Center for American Progress | January 2020
Read the brief.

Impact of $550 Million CCDBG Funding Increase for States

Source: CLASP | January 2020
Read the fact sheet.

Young Learners, Missed Opportunities

Source: The Education Trust | November 2019
Read the report.

How Early Childhood Education Uses Social and Emotional Learning

Source: American Enterprise Institute | December 2019
Read the report.

Enabling Smart Early Childhood Technology in Public Systems

Source: The Early Learning Lab | December 2019
Read the report.

Why Child Care Is So Ridiculously Expensive

Source: The Atlantic | November 2019
Read the article.

Early Progress: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2019

Source: NWLC | November 2019
Read the report.

Child Care Challenges for Medicaid Work Requirements

Source: Urban Institute | September 2019
Read the report.

View the Update as a PDF