NCSL Early Care and Education Quarterly E-Update

In this Issue

Recent NCSL Early Care and Education Publications

NCSL’s Early Care and Education project periodically hosts webinars, creates new reports, new web pages and pens articles. Here are some of the most recent pieces of information that might be helpful to you in the work you do.

NCSL hosted a webinar, Approaches to State Prekindergarten Eligibility Policy: Considerations for Policymakers, on July 21. As state legislatures consider expanding access to preschool programs for children most in need, many are examining revisions to program eligibility policy. A review of recent policies and implementation practices reveals that well-designed pre-K eligibility policies balance accountability for public funds with the need to provide efficient and flexible processes in documenting risk factors and preventing unintended burdens on families to access services they or their children are eligible to receive.

This webinar, now available in our archives, reviewed key findings from a more recent policy report by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) that provides information on state-funded pre-K program eligibility policies and considerations for policymakers as they review or revise eligibility to increase access for high needs children. Presenters included Lori Connors-Tadros and Diane Schilder, from CEELO and Susan Hogge, legislative fiscal analyst for Public Education, Virginia House Appropriations Committee who offered remarks regarding Virginia’s recently revised eligibility policy for the Virginia Preschool Initiative.

In the July/August 2015 issue of the award winning State Legislatures magazine, a short piece, "The Rising Costs of Raising a Child," looked at the cost associated with child care today. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, parents of a child born in 2013 will spend an estimated $245,340 to raise him or her to age 18. And a portion of this expense is high-quality care for the 11 million children under the age of five that are in some kind of child care in any given week. Read the full StateStats article for additional information.

New Video:
Rob Grunewald who is with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota discussed why the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank, is interested in early childhood development. Research shows that early childhood education has a strong rate of return on investment. Rob highlights how economists quantify this rate of return. Research shows that children who attend high-quality prekindergarten programs are less likely to start kindergarten behind, need special education, repeat a grade and are more likely to graduate from high school. Also, research is showing there could potentially be economic benefits of investing the time and money to build early childhood social skills in high-quality early learning programs. Watch the approximately two-minute video to hear Rob’s answers and comments.

In the coming months anticipate a terrific article on prekindergarten in State Legislatures magazine as well as new blog posts and the Early Care and Education 2015 Legislative Actions report.

2015 Early Learning Fellows Convene in Seattle, Aug. 2015 

blue background wavy early learning fellows banner with capitol dome

The fourth class of NCSL Early Learning Fellows program is officially underway. After a rigorous application and selection process the 2015 class of Fellows is comprised of 22 legislators and three legislative staff representing a total of 15 states and the District of Columbia. For a full list of the Fellows and the represented states visit our website.

Photo of Early Learning Fellows class with NCSL StaffThe program year kicked off with a face-to-face meeting in Seattle, Aug. 2-3, 2015. Highlights included a session about brain architecture and how early experiences are built into our bodies and brains by Melanie Berry, University of Oregon. Other noteworthy sessions included Steve Barnett, National Institute for Early Education Research, and Ron Haskins, The Brookings Institution, discussing the current state of the early learning field and programs showing evidence for better outcomes in our children.

Similar to previous programs, Fellows had a chance to participate in a site visit and tour of an Educare program, where they were able to see first-hand what quality early education looks like with a strong emphasis on parental engagement. Participants were given countless opportunities to network and share their successes and struggles as they work on policy issues related to early care and education in their own state. For more information including PowerPoint Presentations from the meeting visit our website.

As we move into the autumn months, Fellows will participate in a webinar Sept. 17 looking at Early Childhood Data Systems, will reconvene for a second face-to-face meeting Oct. 8-9 in Denver and will come together for a final webinar on Nov. 19 examining the issue of suspension and expulsion of prekindergarten aged students. Once the program wraps up, the current Fellows will become alumni and part of an even larger peer learning network which totals 92 past Fellows from 42 states and Puerto Rico.

Anticipate reading about the Early Learning Fellows program in these quarterly e-updates as well through the NCSL Blog.

Legislative Summit Roundup

Large boat in the water with mountain behind it

For those that were able to pack up some luggage and travel to Seattle, Aug. 3-6, you know that this year’s Legislative Summit was great. With approximately 5,200 attendees, the annual Legislative Summit offered exciting presentations, robust discussions and an opportunity for legislators and legislative staff from around the country to network and share with one another.

Resources, which include handouts, photos, and videos from the 2015 Legislative Summit, can all be found online.

Among the many highlights from the 2015 Legislative Summit was NCSL’s Deep Dive session Beating the Odds: Tapping Brain Potential, which took place on Wednesday, Aug. 5, from 2-4:30 p.m. (PT).

The Beating the Odds Deep Dive examined the scientific and economic research showing that directing money into the health and education of children when they’re very young can solve some of our most intractable problems. Attendees of the session heard from:

  • Deborah Phillips, Georgetown University
  • RJ Gillespie, Children’s Clinic in Portland, Ore.
  • Rob Grunewald, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Representative Ruth Kagi and Senator Steve Litzow from Washington state
  • Jackie Bezos from the Bezos Family Foundation

This year NCSL introduced a session model called the Deep Dive Session that allowed for a longer, multi hour, session offering participants an opportunity to dig deeper into specific issues. Learn more about this Deep Dive session and all of the 2015 Legislative Summit at the resources webpage.

Be sure to mark your calendar for the upcoming NCSL Capitol Forum, Dec. 8-11, 2015, in Washington, D.C., and for the 2016 annual Legislative Summit in Chicago, Aug. 8-11, 2016.

Early Childhood Mental Health to Address the Problem of Suspension and Expulsion in Early Learning

Two young children reading togetherIn December 2014 the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the secretary of the Department of Education released a joint letter along with a policy statement concerning the practice of suspension and expulsion in early childhood settings. Among the goals outlined in the policy statement were to raise awareness concerning suspension and expulsion in early childhood settings, provide recommendations to states and early childcare programs on best practice for prevention of suspension and expulsion, and to highlight early childhood workforce competencies and evidence based interventions and practices. The policy statement highlights findings from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights 2014 Snapshot of Early Childhood Education, including:

  • Suspension and expulsion occurs at a higher rate in preschool settings than in K-12 settings.
  • Racial disparity exists in preschool suspension and expulsion, with black children comprising 18 percent of children enrolled in preschool and 46 percent of children who have received one out-of-school suspension and 48 percent of children with more than one out-of-school suspension.
  • Gender disparity also exists, with boys making up 54 percent of the preschool population and 79 percent of children who have been suspended once and 82 percent of children with more than one suspension.

A few state legislatures are examining the issue. Recently, the District of Columbia and Connecticut enacted legislation that prohibits preschool expulsion.

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) is a preventive intervention matching mental health professionals with families and people who work with young children in order to improve social-emotional and behavioral health development. ECMHC has been found to:

  • Prevent preschool suspension and expulsion
  • Improve children’s social skills and reduce challenging behavior
  • Improve child-adult relationships
  • Reduce teacher stress, burnout and turnover—all of which have been associated with increased risk of suspension and expulsion of young children

The Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation is one resource for additional information on the research and findings on the ECMHC model. The policy statement highlights other resources specific to states and early childhood programs.  

Resources of interest

Governors’ 2015 State of the State Addresses: Mentions of Early Care and Education

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)—April 2015
Issue brief from the National Women’s Law Center summarizes Governors' 2015 State of the State addresses that mention early learning. A total of 27 governors (14 Democrats and 13 Republicans) referenced early care and education in their 2015 State of the State addresses. Read the issue brief.

Early Childhood Policy Profiles 

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)—May 2015
NCCP has updated its Early Childhood Policy Profiles, a comprehensive view of state policies in the areas of health, early care and education, parenting and economic supports, that affect the health and well-being of young children in low-income families. Also, NCCP has updated its online tool, The Young Child Risk Calculator. The calculator is an interactive tool showing users how many children under age 9 in each state are experiencing serious risks to their development. The tool allows users to select from five age groups: 0-3, 3-5, 6-8, 0-6, and 0-9, as well as three economic and seven other risk factors known to affect children’s development. 

2015 State Baby Facts

Source: ZERO TO THREE —June 2015
The 2015 fact sheets for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia provide information for early childhood professionals and policymakers about the status of infants, toddlers, and families in their state. The State Baby Facts sheet presents infant and toddler data in the framework of good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences. View the 2015 State Baby Facts.

Child Care in America: 2015 State Fact Sheets

Source: Child Care Aware of America—June 2015
Nearly 11 million children under age five are in some type of child care setting every week. This annual report uses federal and national data and information from state Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies and other state agencies to look at: family characteristics related to the need for child care, use of child care, supply of child care, cost of child care, child care workforce and services provided by CCR&R. Read the report.

Additional resources

Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation/KIDS COUNT—February 2015
Read the data snapshot.

Immigrant and Refugee Workers in the Early Childhood Field: Taking a Closer Look

Source: Migration Policy Institute—April 2015
Read the report.

A Better Start: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education

Source: The Century Foundation and Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)—April 2015
Read the report

The Rising Cost of Child Care in the United States: A Reassessment of the Evidence

Author: Chris M. Herbst—May 201
Read the full report.

Early Childhood State Advisory Councils

Source: Administration for Children and Families: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—May 2015
Read the report

Building Pathways, Creating Roadblocks: State Child Care Assistance Policies for Parents in School

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC)—May 2015
Read the issue brief.

The Science of Early Learning: A Foundation for Expanding Opportunity

Source: American Enterprise Institute—June 2015
View the live event recording or read the blog post

Early Childhood Data Privacy

Source: Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)—June 2015
Access the resources. 

Children’s Budget 2015

Source: First Focus—June 2015
Read the report

Improving Data Infrastructure to Recognize Hispanic Diversity in the United States

Source: National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families—June 2015
Read the brief.

Caring for Our Children Basics: Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education

Source: Administration for Children and Families / U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—June 2015
Read the report

The 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation—July 2015
Read the Data Book.

Child Care in State Economies

Source: Committee for Economic Development—July 2015
Read the report

Click to View the Summer 2015 e-update as a PDF