Early Care and Education 2014 Legislative Action

1/2/2015

Man reading a paper wtih the word REPORTSIn review of the 2014 legislative session, state lawmakers addressed an array of policy issues relating to young children through the introduction of more than 900 bills in 49 states.

Of those, 111 have been enacted or adopted into law in 35 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Enacted legislation addressed the quality of child care, including basic health and safety standards, expanded and improved prekindergarten programs, boosted early literacy development in young children and promoted school readiness, addressed early childhood governance issues and data collection. There also were comprehensive bills that addressed multiple aspects of state early care and education policy.

States are gearing up for the start of their 2015 legislative sessions. At time of publication, 11 states—California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas—and Puerto Rico have drafted and/or pre-filed bills for the 2015 session. Stay tuned for bi-monthly updates on states’ 2015 legislative activity beginning after the New Year.

Methodology of Report: This document was prepared using StateNet, a legislative tracking database, to perform bill searches and analysis. This document is intended to provide an overview of significant enacted legislation in each state and does not represent a comprehensive list of enacted bills with technical changes, state budget appropriations bills, Executive Orders. Bills relating to states’ implementation of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) also are excluded from this document. Total number of enacted bills may not add up due to bills that address multiple topics. Bill status is current as of December 2014. For a complete list of enacted 2014 bills and pre-filed 2015 bills please go to the NCSL Early Care and Education database.

Child Care

Child care assistance policy was addressed in five states—California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Rhode Island. California SB 858 increased child care income eligibility and provider reimbursement rates while Nebraska LB 359 allows for a 10 percent disregard of a household’s gross income.

California, Indiana, and Maine passed bills related to child care quality. California SB 858 includes language to promote access to quality care for low-income children. Indiana HB 158 provides a property tax exemption for providers who meet the top two levels in the child care quality rating system. Maine HB 1152 will establish a four-step child care quality rating system and provide rate differential for providers in the top three tiers of the child care quality improvement rating system.

During this past legislative session Colorado lawmakers passed a suite of bipartisan child care bills aimed at promoting family self-sufficiency and improving the school readiness opportunities for young children, with funds totaling more than $20 million. HB 1022 makes changes to the state child care assistance eligibility period. HB 1317 makes significant changes to the state child care assistance program to help parents find and retain high-quality, affordable child care. HB 1072 creates a new state child care expenses tax credit. SB 3 creates a pilot to address the child care “cliff effect” that occurs when parents-those receiving a child care subsidy-lose their child care assistance when they receive a minor increase in their income. Most often, the increase in income is significantly less than the lost dollar amount of the assistance.

Several states including Connecticut, Louisiana, Tennessee and Washington, enacted child care bills that targeted vulnerable populations of children such as those who are homeless, have lost a parent in the armed services or are in the child welfare system.

Lawmakers in Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and the District of Columbia passed bills that addressed child care personnel background checks, health and safety standards, child abuse and neglect training and nutrition. Maryland HB 1276 / S 716 passed the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Act that allows the state to set guidelines for licensed child care centers on proper nutrition and screen time limits.

Louisiana HB 249 and Vermont SB 316 passed bills related to cooperative purchasing and collective bargaining rights of child care workers.

Child Care Legislation

State

Legislation

California

SB 858: Declares a legislative intent to provide all low-income four-year-old children from working families with full-day, full-year early education and child care services.

  • Sets the child care income eligibility at 70 percent of the state median income; increases the provider reimbursement rate by 5 percent;
  • Sets the regional market rate at the 85th percentile of the 2009 market rate survey;
  • Requires the Legislature to annually adjust the rate to reflect current costs-of-living. 
  • Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to administer a block grant program to promote local quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS); and
  • Prioritize state preschool expansion funds to providers and agencies that create full-day, full-year services for all-income eligible four-year-olds with working parents.

Colorado

HB 1022: Aligns the period of child care authorization with the child care assistance eligibility period for families in the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program.

Colorado

HB 1072: Revises provisions of the state child care tax credit to allow families with annual incomes of up to $25,000 to claim the state credit of up to 25 percent of eligible child care expenses, regardless of the amount of their federal child care tax credits. Sets the maximum state credit at $500 for one child and $1,000 for two or more children.

Colorado

HB 1317: Makes modifications to the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program. The bill:

  • Implements tiered child care provider reimbursements and a voucher contract system for relative or unlicensed child care.
  • Requires counties to provide child care assistance for families with incomes up to 165 percent of the poverty level.
  • Caps co-pays for low-income families at no more than one percent of their annual income.
  • Establishes a tiered co-pay structure to offset the “cliff effect”.
  • Implements presumptive eligibility for at least 30 days.
  • Sets the child care exit income eligibility threshold at a higher level than the entry eligibility level.
  • Increases the number of days that families can remain eligible for child care assistance (during job searches or training) to 60 days.
  • Requires the approved hours for child care not to be linked to parents' employment, education, or training schedules.

Colorado

SB 3: Extends the Child Care Assistance Cliff Effect Pilot Program and appropriates general funds to provide grants to participating counties. Creates a child care assistance enhancement grant program to help counties increase child care access and quality and specifies eligible activities and strategies.

Connecticut

SB 424: Requires the Commissioner of Children and Families, in consultation with the Office of Early Childhood, to maximize the enrollment of eligible preschool-aged children who are in the care and custody of the state. Requires the Commissioner to report to the Legislature on the enrollment status of these children and a plan to provide priority access to early care and education programs for children in foster care.

District of Columbia

B756: Allows the adult-child ratio in child care centers to exceed two children (under age two) if the provider holds a post-secondary degree in early childhood education or a related field, has a current Child Development Associate credential, is enrolled in a CDA training program, or can provide evidence of enrollment in a CDA training program that will begin within 6 months. (Also found under the Infant/Toddler and Parent Engagement/Support section of this report).

District of Columbia

R 730: Changes the state definition of home-based child care to allow the adult-child ratio to exceed one to two for children under age 2, if provider qualifications are increased to include a CDA, to address a shortage of licensed child care slots for children over age 2 and waitlist for children under 2 as a result of pre-K expansion in the District. (Also found under the Infant/Toddler and Parent Engagement/Support section of this report).

Hawaii

HB 2560: Allows residences that are part of agriculturally designated districts to be permitted to provide home-based child care services for one to no more than six children.

Illinois

SB 3009: Requires the Department of Children and Family Services to annually report to the General Assembly regarding the state's progress in meeting performance measures and goals related to child care licensing.

Indiana

HB 1036: Specifies the health, education, safety and training requirements for child care providers must meet as a condition for receiving federal Child Care and Development Fund voucher payments. Requires providers to annually obtain at 12 hours of approved continuing education age appropriate educational development, care, and safety of children and requires providers to obtain child abuse training within three months of employment.

Indiana

HB 158: Provides a property tax exemption for early childhood education providers whose primary service is education, participates in the state early education evaluation program and meets the standards of quality recognized by a Level 3 or Level 4 Paths to QUALITY program rating or has a comparable rating from a nationally recognized accrediting body.

Louisiana

HB 249: Enacts the Improving Access to Child Care for Homeless Louisiana Families Act to help homeless families access quality child care and to reduce the incidence of developmental delays and physical and mental health problems among homeless children.

Louisiana

SB 533: Establishes a local early learning enrollment coordination system with enrollment coordinators that will:

  • Collect family early learning and care preferences;
  • Develop and use a common application process;
  • annually determine the demand for publicly-funded early childhood care and education;
  • Enroll at-risk children according to family preference; and
  • Make recommendations to the State Department of Education (DOE) regarding the distribution of publicly-funded early care and education slots for at-risk children.

Louisiana

SB 598: Allows early childhood programs to act as public procurement units and engage in cooperative purchasing.

Maine

HB 1152: Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a four-step child care quality rating and improvement system and provide graduated quality differential rates for the three highest steps.

Maryland

HB 1276 / SB 716: Enacts the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Act for licensed child care centers and allows the state to set guidelines to promote proper nutrition and developmentally appropriate practices through training and policies on breast-feeding, requiring compliance with certain standards for beverages served to children, and setting limits on screen time.

Minnesota

HB 2402: Makes certain statutory changes to child care policy.

  • Redefines "preschool age" as a child who is at least 24 months of age.
  • Allows home-based child care contractors who serve multiple family child care license holders to maintain one background check record for all providers within a county, subject to renewal every two years.
  • Allows counties to authorize child care assistance for up to 120 hours in a two-week period and modifies the circumstances under which in-home child care may be authorized.

Minnesota

SB 1340: Requires unlicensed family child care providers to obtain CPR training for infants and children and perform monthly safety inspections of mesh fabrics that are exposed to children in their care.

Missouri

HB 1831 / SB 869: Makes changes to the law regarding child care facilities.

  • Requires the State Department of Social Services to publicly post licensing and regulatory compliance status of child care providers who receive state or federal funds; establish a parent complaint hotline and minimum building and facilities requirements that child care providers must meet; provide pre-service training, conduct unscheduled site visits and monitor serious injuries and death of children in child care centers that receive federal funds; and establish  a transparent system of quality indicators.
  • Requires home-based child care providers who are legally organized as business entities to qualify for tax exemptions for the care of unrelated children.

Nebraska

LB 359: Requires the Department of Health and Human Services, when determining child care subsidy eligibility, to disregard 10 percent of a household's gross earned income after 12 months of participation in the program.

Nebraska

LB 1050: Requires all child care providers, including home-based providers, to undergo and pass health and safety inspections before becoming licensed.

New York

AB 8922: Requires child care resource and referral services to provide information on available training opportunities for providers.

Pennsylvania

HB 431: Requires center- and home-based child care providers or operators who are subject to state registration through the Department of Public Welfare to obtain three hours of child abuse and neglect training as a condition of initial registration and three additional hours every five years thereafter.

Rhode Island

SB 2486: Extends the low-income child care program for families with income at or below 180 percent of the federal poverty level if families require child care to participate in training, apprenticeship, internship, on-the-job training, work experience, work immersion, or other job readiness/job attachment program sponsored or funded by the human resource investment council (governor's workforce board) or state agencies that are part of the coordinated program system until June 30, 2015.

Tennessee

SB 2093: Prioritizes children of killed or missing U.S. military personnel for state preschool or child care center enrollment.

Utah

HB 159: Creates the Child Care Center Licensing Committee and establishes its duties, membership and roles. Requires the Committee to establish rules to govern center-based child care, including rules to ensure the competency of providers, health and safety, licensing standards, procedures for inspections, and others.

Vermont

SB 316: Establishes collective bargaining rights for home-based licensed and registered child care providers. Allows providers to negotiate with the state on subsidy reimbursement rates, payment procedures, professional development, collection and agency fees related to union dues, and dispute resolution procedures. Considers child care providers state employees for the sole purpose of collective bargaining.

Virginia

HB 450: Prohibits child care centers from allowing employees or volunteers to start working until their criminal history records have been received, unless they perform work under the direct supervision of another employee whose background check has been completed in accordance with state laws.

Virginia

HB 1209: Allows local governments to approve zoning permits for home-based child care facilities.

Virginia

 

SB 639: Requires the Department of Social Services to convene a work group to make recommendations for a plan to implement national fingerprint-based criminal history background checks for all child care providers.

Washington

HB 2519: Relates to connecting children involved in the child welfare system to quality early care and education programs.

  • Specifies that child care services referred by the Family Assessment Response (FAR) program (child protective services) and subsidized by the state must be enrolled in the state quality rating and improvement program at level three or higher.
  • Requires the state to authorize continuous, 12-month child care eligibility for families participating in FAR, regardless of any changes in family circumstance.
  • Requires the Children’s Administration to collaborate with the Department of Early Learning to conduct a study on the child care and early learning needs of children in the child welfare system.

Prekindergarten, School Readiness and Early Literacy

Legislative proposals in 14 states aimed at improving school readiness for children continued to be a focus during the 2014 sessions. Lawmakers enacted bills requiring increased access to prekindergarten programs, access to early literacy support, alignment of state training standards to national standards, and tracking of program results. California, Michigan and New York made significant funding investments in their preschool programs. At least 13 other states increased funding—Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. Indiana and Utah provided first-time funding for pilot programs. 

As part of South Carolina’s the Read to Succeed Act (SB 516), the bill also creates the Child Early Reading Development and Education Program which is a full day program for four-year old at-risk children with a focus on literacy development, parent education and ways that community organizations can support literacy efforts.

Utah HB 96 establishes Utah’s first publicly funded preschool program targeted at high-risk three- and four-year-olds. The program is funded through a social innovation financing mechanism—“pay for success/social impact bond”—which involves a private investor (foundation, bank, etc.) putting up the initial funding for the program and the government paying the back the investor only when the program achieves predetermined outcomes, such as lower remediation or special education costs.  

Prekindergarten, School Readiness and Early Literacy Legislation

State

Legislation

California

SB 858: Declares a legislative intent to provide all low-income four-year-old children from working families with full-day, full-year early education and child care services. Prioritize state preschool expansion funds to providers and agencies that create full-day, full-year services for all-income eligible four-year-olds with working parents. (A full description of the bill can be found under the Child Care section of this report.)

Colorado

HB 1298: Expands the Colorado Preschool Program with an additional 5,000 Early Childhood At-Risk Enhancement (ECARE) slots. A school district or a charter school may choose to serve a child in half-day or full-day preschool or in full-day kindergarten.

Connecticut

SB 25: Establishes the Connecticut Smart Start competitive grant program to establish or expand preschool at the local levels.

  • Allows the Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to prioritize grants to localities that allocate at least half of the available preschool slots to families with incomes up to 75 percent of the median income or to children eligible for free and reduced lunch, or those with full-day kindergarten.
  • Requires preschool programs funded by Smart Start grants to provide certified teachers with early childhood endorsements, research-based classroom size and adult-child ratio, and full accreditation status within three years of receiving the grant.
  • Adds programs under the Connecticut Smart Start grant umbrella that are required to participate in a statewide early childhood information system.

Indiana

HB 1004: Establishes the Early Education Grant Pilot Program for four-year-old children from families whose incomes do not exceed 127 percent of the federal poverty level.

  • Requires participating providers to meet at least a three- or four-star rating in the state QRIS, administer a kindergarten readiness assessment and participate in a longitudinal study.
  • Creates a Prekindergarten and Early Learning Study Commission to study and report the feasibility of using various federal grants to fund prekindergarten and early learning in the state. 

Iowa

HB 215: Makes changes to preschool funding.

  • Allows preschool foundation aid funding to be used by approved local programs and community providers for professional development for preschool teachers.
  • Requires preschool foundation aid funding received by an approved local program that remains unexpended or unobligated at the end of a fiscal year be used to build the approved local program's preschool program capacity in the next succeeding fiscal year.
  • Requires a school district to administer the teaching strategies gold early childhood assessment to every resident prekindergarten or four-year-old child enrolled in the child in the district, and shall administer a valid and reliable universal screening instrument to every kindergarten student enrolled in the district.

Louisiana

HB 954: Relates to the Cecil J. Picard LA 4 Early Childhood Program.

  • Requires the State Department of Education to allocate state funds to allow every eligible four-year-old to attend the Cecil J. Picard LA 4 Early Childhood Program.
  • Requires public schools to work with high-quality, non-school LA4 providers, other publicly-funded early learning providers (including Head Start and other federal programs) to increase access to LA4.
  • Establishes free tuition for at-risk children to attend LA4 and allows the state to charge a sliding scale tuition rate for other children.

Maine

SB 577: Allows school districts to offer or expand universal preschool to all four-year-olds starting in 2015-16. Requires participating school districts to submit plans that include standards and best practices for preschool implementation, demonstrated coordination with other early care and education programs, and conduct comprehensive kindergarten readiness assessments starting in 2016-17.

Maryland

SB 332: Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014.

  • Allows state pre-K expansion grants to go toward establishing or expanding existing half-day pre-K, full-day pre-K and Judy Centers;
  • Requires private pre-K providers to obtain professional accreditation before receiving state grants;
  • Requires the State Department of Education to leverage child care subsidy funds when granting awards to private providers and encourage grantees to pursue level 5 in the state quality rating and improvement system; and
  • Requires the Maryland State Department of Education and other state agencies to track and report on the aggregate number of three-year-old and four-year-old children and of those, children who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Missouri

HB 1689: Requires school districts that offer pre-K programs to admit children who turn three years old before Aug. 1 into their pre-K programs. Requires schools to count students between ages three and five who are eligible for free and reduced lunch toward the calculation of average daily attendance for state education funding purposes, not to exceed 4 percent of the total student count.

New York

SB 6356: Enacts components to implement the education (and labor, housing and family assistance) budget.

  • Requires the state to award competitive grants to schools, non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, charter schools, libraries and/or museums to expand state-of-the-art innovative pre-K programs.
  • Requires the state to develop a scoring system to evaluate applications based on factors such as curriculum, learning environment, family engagement, staffing patterns, teacher qualification standards that are the same as those in the public school system, a minimal of five instructional hours per day, among others.
  • Funds school districts to convert part-day to full-day pre-K slots. Establishes per-pupil formula funding for converted full-day slots and prohibits new state funds to supplement current expenditures.
  • Establishes provisions for a pre-K through 12th grade student education data system. 
  • Allows earned income by teenage parents who are considered a dependent under the age of 18 to be disregarded in the calculation of income for child care assistance.

South Carolina

SB 516: Establishes the South Carolina Read to Succeed Office (within the State Department of Education) to implement a comprehensive, statewide plan to improve reading achievement for pre-K through 12th grades.

  • Requires schools to provide intensive in-class and supplemental reading intervention for students in pre-K through third grades who are not demonstrating reading proficiency.
  • Requires the Office, in conjunction with higher education institutions, to establish pre-K through 12th grades teacher competencies in literacy development.
  • Requires early childhood literacy development programs to promote parent involvement and community literacy goals.
  • Enacts the South Carolina Child Early Reading Development and Education Program to provide full-day kindergarten (prekindergarten) for four-year-old, at-risk children.
  • Requires the program to be aligned with the State Reading Proficiency Plan.

Utah

HB 96: Enacts the Utah School Readiness Initiative. The bill:

  • Creates the School Readiness Restricted Account;
  • Creates the School Readiness Board to negotiate contracts with private entities to fund certain early childhood education programs;
  • Details components of a high quality school readiness program that may be funded through a results-based contract between the Board and private investors; and
  • Appropriates $3 million to the restricted account that will be used to repay private investors, on condition that the program meets performance outcomes such as third grade reading proficiency and decreased special education in at-risk students. Requires an independent evaluation of the program. 

Utah

HB 342: Requires the State Board of Education to establish a time line for a committee to review core curriculum standards for early childhood education and core academic subjects such as language and mathematics.

Utah

SB 148: Amends the UPSTART home-based educational technology program pilot.  

  • Eligibility for participation in the UPSTART home-based educational technology program from 200 percent to 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • State Board of Education requirement to award grants to contractors based on factors such as results from an independent evaluation, provider experience and program cost.
  • Requires contractors to give priority to children from low-income families and preschool children who are English language learners.
  • Extends the program to 2019.

Vermont

HB 270: An Act related to providing universal access to publicly funded prekindergarten education.

  • Requires school districts to provide preschool access to age-eligible children.
  • Requires preschool programs to provide 10 hours of education weekly and 35 weeks annually and allows parents to enroll in public or private preschool outside of their home districts as needed.
  • Requires the Agencies of Education and Human Services to establish and update annual statewide preschool tuition rates.
  • Report to the General Assembly regarding program quality, enrollment, access, outcomes and expenditures.

West Virginia

HB 4618: Establishes a transformative system of support for early literacy, which includes ensuring all West Virginia children have access to high quality early learning experiences that focus on healthy learners as part of the school readiness model, resulting in increased populations of children on target for healthy  development prior to entering first grade. Maximizes family engagement to result in the development of a culture of literacy from birth through third grade.

 

Infant/Toddler and Parent Engagement/Support

Several states and the District of Columbia enacted measure to address the specific needs of infants and toddlers as well as to strengthen support to parents through continuing and expanding home visiting services. According to NCSL’s recent early care and education budget survey, nine states reported increased home visiting appropriations, with Massachusetts, Michigan and New Mexico making those increases through general funds.

Infant/Toddler and Parent Engagement/Support Legislation

State

Legislation

District of Columbia

B 756: Allows the adult-child ratio in child care centers to exceed two children (under age two) if the provider holds a post-secondary degree in early childhood education or a related field, has a current Child Development Associate credential, is enrolled in a CDA training program, or can provide evidence of enrollment in a CDA training program that will begin within six months. (Also found under the Child Care section of this report).

District of Columbia

R 730: Changes the state definition of home-based child care to allow the adult-child ratio to exceed one to two for children under age two, if provider qualifications are increased to include a CDA, to address a shortage of licensed child care slots for children over age two and waitlist for children under two as a result of pre-K expansion in the District. (Also found under the Child Care section of this report).

Illinois

HB 4440: Combines three programs into one Early Childhood Education Block Grant to be distributed to schools on a competitive basis (Preschool Education, Parent Training and Prevention Initiative). Designates no less than 14 percent of the block grant (and increases it to 20 percent by FY 2016) to programs serving children from birth to age three, unless state appropriations to the block grant is insufficient to maintain existing preschool programs. (Also found under the Appropriations and Finance section of this report).

Oklahoma

HB 3513: Allocates state funds for the Early Childhood Initiative and for the continuation and expansion of the Oklahoma Parents as Teachers Program. (Also found under the Appropriates and Finance section of this report).

School Readiness Assessment/Kindergarten

Statewide kindergarten readiness assessments will be implemented in Indiana, Iowa and Mississippi as a result of enacted legislation this session. Hawaii passed legislation that addresses mandatory kindergarten start date while Rhode Island prioritized state funding for full-day kindergarten.

School Readiness Assessment/Kindergarten Legislation

State

Legislation

District of Columbia

B 311: Allows the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to develop and administer academic assessments, tests or evaluations of prekindergarten through fifth graders.

Hawaii

SB 2768: Requires mandatory kindergarten attendance for children who turn five years old as of or before July 31 of the school year starting with the 2014-15 school year, unless they are already enrolled in a private kindergarten program, have physical or mental disabilities, or qualify for other exemptions as provided by state law.

Indiana

HB 1004: Requires participating providers to meet at least a three- or four-star rating in the state QRIS, administer a kindergarten readiness assessment and participate in a longitudinal study. (For a full description of Indiana HB 1004 go to the Prekindergarten section of this report).

Iowa

HB 215: Requires a school district to administer the teaching strategies gold early childhood assessment to every resident prekindergarten or four-year-old child enrolled in the child in the district, and shall administer a valid and reliable universal screening instrument to every kindergarten student enrolled in the district. (For a full description of Iowa HB 215 go to the Prekindergarten section of this report).

Mississippi

SB 2572: Authorizes the Mississippi Department of Education to establish and implement a statewide, mandatory Kindergarten Readiness Assessment to be administered prior to students' entry to kindergarten or within 30 days of enrollment. Requires assessment results to be reported to the State Superintendent of Education.

Rhode Island

SB 2791: Allows the Commissioner of Education to prioritize state funding for full-day kindergarten implementation via a ranking system of school districts that are based quality and sustainability and districts with more than 8,000 kindergarten students. Allows school districts that are transitioning half- to full-day kindergarten programs – converting a 0.5 per pupil to a 1.0 pupil for purposes of state formula funding – to begin receiving state aid at the latter calculation beginning in FY 2017.   

Governance and Systems Development

Lawmakers in five states continued to work on improving coordination and collaboration between early childhood programs through the development of new entities, task forces or councils.

Governance and Systems Development Legislation

State

Legislation

Connecticut

HB 5562: Establishes the Office of Early Childhood and transfers duties, roles and responsibilities of early care and education from various state departments to the Office of Early Childhood (OEC), including administration of the federal Child Care and Development Fund. The Office will be under the direction of the Commission of Early Childhood.

Louisiana

SB 524: Transfers the duties of child care licensing, oversight and administration, including administration of the federal Child Care and Development Fund, to the Department of Education (DOE). Requires the DOE to review child care standards, rules and licenses every three years, deposit funds collected as licensing fines and penalties into the Early Learning Center Licensing Trust Fund, and use those funds to provide education and training to child care providers.

Maryland

HB 461: Requires the State Early Childhood Advisory Council to assess and report on the availability of high-quality early childhood education and development programs for children with and without disabilities; develop a statewide plan to improve school readiness, infrastructure for continuous program improvement, assess the capacity and effectiveness of higher education institutions in supporting the development of early childhood educators; and report to the Governor and the General Assembly.

New Mexico

SM 5: A memorial requesting the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center to reconvene the J. Paul Taylor Early Childhood Task Force for another year to continue working to improve collaboration among stakeholders to develop a road map to execute an infant and early childhood mental health action plan (This bill can also be found in the Resolutions section of this report).

Rhode Island

HB 8263: Designates the Board of Education as the primary entity responsible for the coordination of education from pre-K through higher education.

Financing and Appropriations

Lawmakers appropriated state, federal and dedicated funds for existing program ranging from supported child care, state prekindergarten programs, home visiting and others. In addition, states passed several bills that addressed the financing of state early childhood programs. Refer to NCSL’s early care and education budget survey for more detailed appropriations information in states. 

Utah’s HB 96 used innovative financing to fund its state preschool program (a full description of the bill can be found in the Prekindergarten section of this report).

Financing and Appropriations Legislation

State

Legislation

Idaho

HB 629: Requires the Department of Health and Welfare to maintain Head Start appropriations (paid from federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds) at the same level in FY 2015 as in FY 2007.

Illinois

HB 4440: Combines three programs into one Early Childhood Education Block Grant to be distributed to schools on a competitive basis (Preschool Education, Parent Training and Prevention Initiative). Designates no less than 14 percent of the block grant (and increases it to 20 percent by FY 2016) to programs serving children from birth to age three, unless state appropriations to the block grant is insufficient to maintain existing preschool programs. (Also found under the Infant/Toddler and Parent Engagement/Support section of this report).

Louisiana

SB 657: Allows school districts to receive public or private donations as scholarships for children enrolled in the Cecil J. Picard LA 4 Early Childhood Program. Allows the state to reduce appropriations to school districts by the amount of private scholarships received by those districts. Requires the State Treasurer to deposit the amount of the reduced appropriation into the newly created Program Participation Savings Account.

Minnesota

HB 3172: Supplemental appropriations bill that:

  • Increases state appropriations to and per-pupil funding of the Early Childhood Family Education (ECFC) programs for FY 2015 and indexes future program funding.
  • Increases annual state appropriations to the statewide pre-K program (School Readiness Program), early learning scholarships, the Minnesota Reading Corps (for early literacy development and expand kindergarten), and the home visiting program (for FY 2015 only).
  • Allows ECFE programs in districts with a pre-K through 3rd grade initiative to provide parenting education to facilitate continued parent engagement in children's learning.

Oklahoma

HB 3513: Allocates state funds for the Early Childhood Initiative and for the continuation and expansion of the Oklahoma Parents as Teachers Program. (Also found under the Infant/Toddler and Parent Engagement/Support section of this report).

Tennessee

SB 1924: Enacts the Tennessee Community Schools Act. Community school means a public and private partnership to coordinate educational, developmental, family success, health and mental health at a public school to improve a variety of educational and family outcomes. The Act authorizes schools and local education authorities to form community partnerships that offer a variety of community services including voluntary pre-K, Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Utah

HB 96: Enacts the Utah School Readiness Initiative The bill:

  • Creates the School Readiness Restricted Account;
  • Creates the School Readiness Board to negotiate contracts with private entities to fund certain early childhood education programs;
  • Details components of a high quality school readiness program that may be funded through a results-based contract between the Board and private investors; and
  • Appropriates $3 million to the restricted account that will be used to repay private investors, on condition that the program meets performance outcomes such as third grade reading proficiency and decreased special education in at-risk students. Requires an independent evaluation of the program. (This bill can also be found under the Prekindergarten section of this report).

Comprehensive

In 2014, lawmakers in several states enacted comprehensive bills or bill packages that address multiple state goals, needs and financing mechanisms for early care and education. Examples of state bills and selected provisions follow.

Comprehensive Legislation

State

Legislation

Connecticut

HB 5597: (Section 198)Requires the Commission on Children to establish a two-generational school readiness plan to promote long-term learning and economic success for low-income families by addressing intergenerational barriers to:

  • School readiness,
  • Workforce readiness with high-quality preschool,
  • Intensified workforce training, and
  • Targeted education, coupled with related support services.

Indiana

SB 24: Establishes provisions for the implementation of the state QRIS, state Early Learning Advisory Committee, Early Education Matching Grant Program and the Early Education Evaluation Program.

Minnesota

HB 2397: Makes changes to the Omnibus Education Policy Bill.

  • Requires Head Start, the Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), and other school readiness programs to ensure that parents of English language learners are actively engaged in the early literacy development of their children (either in English or native language).
  • Requires Head Start programs to employ culturally-relevant early literacy development approaches, collect literacy data to monitor the progress and provide reading instruction specific to the needs of English language learners.
  • Requires school readiness programs to assess children's language skills to improve program planning and implementation, promote kindergarten readiness, and ensure teachers are knowledgeable in native and English language development programs.
  • Allows children who participate in federal food programs on Indian reservations (and their siblings as funds are available) to be automatically eligible for early learning scholarships.
  • Directs the P-20 Partnership to make recommendations to the Governor and legislature on realigning the governance and administrative structures of early education, K-12, and postsecondary systems.

Nebraska

LB 967: Makes changes to state aid formula, provide support of grant for districts that consolidate and changes intent relating to early childhood education.

  • Changes provisions for state education aid to schools and allows certain allocations from the state Education Innovation Fund to go to the Early Childhood Education Endowment Cash Fund after 2016.
  • Modifies legislative intent to ensure that every family in Nebraska has access to high-quality early childhood education programs for, at the minimum, the school year for which children are eligible for kindergarten.
  • Commits that any additional state funds appropriated for FY 2014-15 for early childhood education grants be used to expand the access to such high-quality early childhood education programs.
  • Requires the Early Childhood Training Center to approve child care licensing training, annual in-service training, and other training needed for child care providers to participate or advance in the state QRIS (Step Up to Quality).

South Carolina

HB 3428: Reauthorizes the South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness through 2016 and:

  • Allows the South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness Board of Trustees to develop a comprehensive long-range initiative to improve early childhood development, increase school readiness, establish results oriented measures and objectives, and assess the availability of services by 2015;
  • Requires the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee to recommend a school readiness assessment for kindergarten and prekindergarten and requires the Board to support the implementation of the assessment, provide professional development to teachers and parents as related to the assessment and use aggregate assessment information to establish early childhood standards and practices; and
  • Defines 'preschool child' as a child from the prenatal stage to entry into five-year-old kindergarten.

Resolutions

Legislative resolutions express intent of the legislative body but does not have the effect of law. They can be initiated in both the House and Senate or be joint (both bodies) proposals. In 2014, seven states and Puerto Rico resolved to conduct research and cost studies, established a committee, commit to engaging parents, and emphasized the principles of early childhood brain development and toxic stress when considering early childhood policies.

Resolutions

State

Resolution

Hawaii

HR 174: Resolves to conduct a cost study for a statewide public preschool program under the Department of Education prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2015.

Illinois

SJR 32: Creates a bipartisan Advisory Committee on Education Funding and defines its membership and roles. Requires the committee to conduct a review of the state's existing pre-K-12th grade funding methods and expenditures and present recommendations to the legislature with a focus on general state aid.

Illinois

HR 826: Resolves to strengthen the state's commitment to engage parents to play an active role of their children's young education. Urges human services, healthcare, education and justice authorities to include parenting education and early childhood education funding in their budgets. Urges the State Department of Education to consider a required course in parenting education as part of the prerequisite for a high school diploma.

Louisiana

HCR 61: Requests the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop and recommend a statewide funding model for the equitable funding and distribution of public funds to support quality early childhood care and education for Louisiana families of children, ages birth to five. Requires the state to collaborate with the State Early Childhood Advisory Council, child care providers, Head Start centers, public and non-public schools and provide a report to the Legislature during the 2015 session.

New Mexico

SM 5: A memorial requesting the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center to reconvene the J. Paul Taylor Early Childhood Task Force for another year to continue working to improve collaboration among stakeholders to develop a road map to execute an infant and early childhood mental health action plan.

Puerto Rico

RC 28: Directs the House Committee on Education to conduct research on Head Start, Early Head Start and child care programs to examine how these programs complement young children’s academic transition to kindergarten and the elementary grades.

Puerto Rico

RC 574: Directs the House Committee on Social Welfare and the Eradication of Poverty to research the implementation of law 93 (2008) known as the Development and Implementation of Public Policy on Early Childhood of Puerto Rico, particularly with respect to the level of compliance with the mandate of law for the creation of a Governor's Multisectoral Council on Early Childhood.

Utah

SJR 20: Assigns a legislative interim study to determine if unlicensed child care providers who are contracted with state and local government (to provide child care or pre-K services) are unfairly competing with private, licensed child care providers.

Virginia

SJR 54: Requests the state to study a tiered-reimbursement subsidy program for child-care providers and submit results to the legislature in 2015.

Wisconsin

SJR 59: Resolves that policy decisions by the legislature takes into account the principles of early childhood brain development and will, whenever possible, consider the concepts of toxic stress, early adversity, and buffering relationships; and note the role of early intervention and investment in early childhood years as important strategies to achieve a lasting foundation for a more prosperous and sustainable state through investing in human capital.

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