Child Care and Early Education 2012 Legislative Action

Man reading a paperDuring the 2012 legislative session, state lawmakers introduced more than 800 bills in 46 states to address issues relating to young children. In all, lawmakers enacted 92 bills on child care quality, licensing and costs; school readiness and kindergarten assessments and early literacy development.

Seventeen states enacted 29 bills to expand licensing exemptions, modified existing laws to allow state agencies more flexibility in the administration, oversight and funding of child care. Twenty bills were enacted in 15 states to address governance, align state services and programs and increase collaboration across different state agencies and departments that manage early education and child care programs. School readiness, kindergarten access, assessments and age requirements and funding allocation for state programs were addressed through 21 enacted bills in 16 states. In addition, states focused on developing strategies to build children’s literacy skills in the early grades (prekindergarten and younger) and ensure reading proficiency and overall academic success. Other topics of enacted bills in 2012 include evidence-based early childhood prevention strategies such as home visiting and issues relating professional development, standards and credentialing of the early childhood workforce.

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

Details on all 2012 early education and care enacted legislation are included in the NCSL Report, "Child Care and Early Education 2012 Legislative Action."