Child Care and Early Education 2011 Legislative Action

Man with newspaperDuring the 2011 legislative session, states continued to cope with the realities of decreased funding and budgets during an economic recovery. Despite economic conditions and reduced resources, however, states generally were able to maintain funding for early childhood services. State legislatures found innovative ways to increase availability and even create new programs aimed at improving the accessibility and quality of early childhood services.

In all, 37 states enacted new legislation to address an array of child care and early learning issues during the 2011 legislative session. Those issues included early childhood governance, prekindergarten standards and quality, child care financing, and home visiting among others. 

Twenty-three states enacted legislation aimed at enhancing governance structures, cross-agency collaboration and accountability of early childhood programs. Sixteen states enacted legislation to address and improve the quality of prekindergarten programs and school readiness for young children. Twenty-six state legislatures passed bills to increase standards for child care program quality, address the cost and financing mechanisms of subsidized child care, and update licensing standards and regulations. Several states also enacted legislation addressing third-grade reading proficiency through grade retention or early literacy development bills. Other enacted legislation in 2011 include bills addressing the early childhood workforce and home visiting.

This report provides an overview and analysis of these enacted state legislative actions.

Details on all 2011 early education and care enacted legislation are included in the NCSL Report, "Child Care and Early Education 2011 Legislative Action."