NCSL Early Care and Education Quarterly E-Update


In this Issue

NCSL Early Learning Fellows Continue Year of Work Together

Blue Early Learning Fellows Wave LogoThe second class of NCSL Early Learning Fellows will wrap up the program with a final meeting Dec. 6-7, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The final meeting, Building on State Leadership in Early Childhood, promises to be an opportunity to continue learning while also affording Fellows a chance to reflect on recent accomplishments related to early education and child care and plan for the upcoming 2014 legislative session. Some meeting highlights include a dynamic presentation from Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, well known early literacy researcher with Temple University, a discussion about the connection between early learning guidelines and K-12, as well as innovative financing strategies, including the latest outcomes of the school readiness tax credits in Louisiana. 

Information, including presentations from the final meeting, will be posted by the middle of December 2013.  The Fellows program will continue for a third year in 2014. The selection process  will include legislative leadership nominations in your state, with nominated legislators and staff completing and submitting an application from which final candidates will be selected. The selection process will begin in early February 2014 with a kick off meeting taking place mid-May 2014 in Denver, Colo. For additional information about the Fellows program please be sure to visit or contact or The Fellows program is funded by a grant from the Alliance for Early Success.

State Policy Highlight - 2013 Legislative Actions in Child Care Quality, Access and Affordability

State lawmakers play a unique role in shaping policies that contribute to the well-being of young, vulnerable children and their families. State lawmakers continued to build on existing state policy and efforts to ensure that children are cared for in safe, nurturing, stimulating, and high-quality home- and community-based settings in addition to providing support for families to achieve economic and family stability.

During the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers in 23 states enacted more than 60 bills to address various components of quality in child care settings. In some cases, lawmakers incorporated legislative language to encourage a stronger emphasis on early childhood development.

Provisions in Enacted Bills to Improve Child Care Quality

  • Connecticut HB 6292 (Public Act 133) requires teacher preparation programs to provide training in early childhood social and emotional development.
  • North Dakota HB 1422 (Chapter 376) establishes incentive grants for child care providers and early childhood specialists.  
  • Nebraska LA 507 and LB 507 enact the statewide quality improvement and rating system (QRIS), provide incentive bonuses and scholarships, and create a statewide early childhood professional workforce registry. Nevada AB 109 (Chapter 194) also establishes a statewide workforce registry and professional development system.
  • Texas HB 376 (Chapter 241) implements tiered quality reimbursements to child care providers who participate in the state QRIS and establishes a workgroup to recommend QRIS improvements in professional development and provider education standards, infant and toddler care guidelines, application of early childhood brain development science, and long-term funding sustainability.
  • Rhode Island HB 5946 (Chapter  465) and SB 794 (Chapter 456) allow family-based child care providers to collectively bargain with the state on issues of training and professional development, recruitment and retention, reimbursement rates, benefits, payment procedures, and grievance resolution. Other states with similar enacted bills include Minnesota (SF 778, Chapter 128) and Oregon (HB 2013, Chapter 728).

State lawmakers addressed child care assistance and subsidy policies to improve access to and affordability of quality child care. Based on a recent survey and report by the National Women’s Law Center, income eligibility for child care was raised in nearly half of the states and waitlists for child care were reduced in more than three-fifths of the states. However, families in nearly half the states continued to struggle with high copays in 2013, ranging from six to 15 percent of their monthly income, according to the report. In addition, only five states allow parents to keep their child care eligibility when they lose a job and fewer than 15 states allow parents to continue receiving assistance while they are looking for employment. Lawmakers in 15 states enacted about 20 bills to address child care assistance policy.

Provisions in Enacted Bills to Address Child Care Assistance and Subsidy State Policy

  • California AB 86 (Chapter 48) implements a flat monthly copay system for subsidized programs (including state preschool), extends the current eligibility limit for one year and extends child care assistance pilots in two counties that address the ‘cliff effect.’
  • Rhode Island HB 5127 (Chapter 144) extends child care assistance to families with incomes up to 225 percent of the federal poverty level, establishes a Child Care Subsidy Transition Pilot Program to examine the "cliff effect" by allowing families to retain eligibility until their annual income exceeds 225 percent of the federal poverty level.
  •  Washington SB 5595 (Chapter 337) seeks to improve the quality of interactions and experiences of parents in the child care assistance program by implementing electronic form submission and exploring ways to standardize eligibility across programs, align child care and preschool services, and implement a graduated copay scale to eliminate the ‘cliff effect.’
  • Florida HB 7165 (Chapter 252) establishes child care purchasing pools to help low-income working parents obtain affordable child care services and creates the Child Care Executive Partnership to encourage local early learning councils to leverage existing resources for additional funding.
  • Montana HB 2 (Chapter 380) raises the income eligibility limit for families whose children are enrolled in programs that participate in the state QRIS and increases provider reimbursement rates by 2 percent. North Dakota HB 1422 (Chapter 376) increases the eligibility limit for child care assistance to 85 percent of the state median income. Nebraska LB 507 provides child care assistance to families with incomes up to 125 percent of the federal poverty level in FY 2013-14 and 130 percent thereafter.  

For the most up-to-date status of state legislation, please visit the Early Care and Education database or click here. The full NCSL 2013 State Legislative Action in Early Care and Education report will be available in December 2013.

NCSL Fall Forum, Dec. 4-6, 2013

50 States Strong, Forum LogoNCSL’s annual Fall Forum and Meeting of the Standing Committees will take place in Washington, D.C., Dec. 4 – 6, 2013. The Fall Forum is the meeting where NCSL Standing Committees meet to discuss policy and set the agenda for the states. The NCSL Standing Committees are composed of legislators and legislative staff who are appointed by the state legislative leadership. The committees are the main organizational mechanism for serving NCSL members. There are eight committees that deal with both state and state-federal issues. The jurisdictions of the standing committees are similar to those of committees in the state legislatures. Forum attendees have the opportunity to discuss policy with national experts, work on pressing issues as part of NCSL’s standing committees, advocate for the states on Lobby Day and participate in special briefings developed for legislative staff. Learn more about the meeting agenda and sessions by clicking here.

NCSL Launches New Website, October 2013

Women looking at a computer

After 18 months of planning, NCSL successfully launched its new website on Oct. 21.  The goals of the redesign were to make NCSL’s new website more intuitive and easier to use and search. We think the goals have been met, but want to hear what you think. For those who have not yet had an opportunity to tour the new site we invite you do so by visiting

The NCSL website continues to aim to be the best legislative website. As a user of the new site you will notice a strong search engine, easier navigation and quick access to thousands of documents.  Enjoy! And please be sure to share your feedback with us by emailing

Resources of Interest

Do Middle-Class Families Benefit from High-Quality Pre-K?

Source: Center for Research on Children in the U.S. (CROCUS) – July 2013
A policy brief on different population groups to understand if middle-class families benefit from the program. Read the full brief.

Latino Kids Data Explorer and Webinar

Source: National Council of La Raza (NCLR) – Summer 2013
On August 29th NCLR led a webinar to demonstrate their Latino Kids Data Explorer, a web-based research tool that helps users easily download and creatively present up-to-date information on the status of Latino children in their state and nationally. View the full webinar or access the Data Explorer.

Better for Babies:  A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies

Source: CLASP – August 2013
A new report provides a national picture of infant-toddler child care policies and finds that, collectively, states could be doing far better meeting the needs of our youngest children and their families. Read the full report.

2013 State Baby Facts

Source: ZERO TO THREE – August 2013
The ZERO TO THREE Policy Center recently released updated State Baby Fact Sheets, which tell the story about infants and toddlers in each state. Read the fact sheets.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K Program:  Kindergarten and First Grade Follow-Up Results from the Randomized Control Design

Source: Peabody Research Institute of Vanderbilt University & Tennessee Division of School Readiness and Early Learning- August 2013
This multi-year evaluation looks at the effects of Tennessee’s state funded prekindergarten program (TN-VPK) for four-year olds. TN-VPK targets mostly low-income and at-risk children. The study was designed to determine whether the children who participate in TN-VPK make greater academic and behavioral gains in areas that prepare them for later schooling than comparable children who do not participate in the program.  For the evaluation findings to date click here.

Parent Engagement from Preschool through Grade 3:  A Guide for Policymakers
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) – September 2013
The term "parent engagement" is used in this report to describe parents' efforts to promote their children's healthy development and learning through activities that can be encouraged by educators in child care, preschool and school settings. The report makes the case that effective parent engagement in children's learning during preschool through grade 3 is a key contributor to children's positive academic outcomes. Read the full report.

A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade

Source: NGA - October 2013
Improving early literacy is essential to increasing high school graduation rates allowing students to be successful in postsecondary education and ensuring the prosperity of all Americans, according to a report released by the National Governors Association (NGA). Read the full report.

Investing in our Future:  The Evidence Base on Preschool Education
Source: Society for Research in Child Development and Foundation for Child Development - October 2013
This research brief reviews rigorous evidence on why early skills matter, which children benefit from preschool, the short- and long-term effects of preschool programs on children’s school readiness and life outcomes, the importance of program quality, and the costs versus benefits of preschool education. Read the full brief.

Click to view the Fall 2013 E-update as a PDF

Outside links are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by NCSL.

This e-update is made possible by the generous support of the Alliance for Early Success. This e-update is an informational service for state legislators and legislative staff who are part of NCSL's Child Care and Early Education Legislative Network. Contact Alison May for more information at 303-856-1473 or to offer information from your state.  You may also request to subscribe, if you are a legislator or legislative staff, or unsubscribe by emailing