NCSL Early Care and Education Fall 2017 E-Update


in this issue

Recent NCSL Resources

NCSL’s Early Care and Education project, along with other NCSL colleagues in the Education and Health programs, periodically host webinars, create new reports, new webpages and pen articles. Here are some of the recent products that might be helpful and relevant to your work.

Improving Systems of Care for Children with Special Health Needs
More than 14.5 million children and youth (birth to 18 years old) in the U.S. have special health care needs. This recently published issue brief provides an overview of programs, funding options, standards, data, state approaches and policy options that states have used or may consider to improve systems of care for children and youth with special health care needs and their families. 

Human Services Chairs Meeting
Twenty-seven chairs of human services and related appropriations committees representing 21 states convened this October in Nashville to roll up their sleeves and dive deeply into state policies to improve human services systems. Session topics included multigenerational strategies, child welfare, child care and many others. Access all meeting materials including the agenda, PowerPoint presentations and handouts on NCSL’s website

Archived Webinar | Legislative Children’s Caucuses: A Roadmap and Lessons Learned
Access an archived copy of NCSL’s "Legislative Children’s Caucuses: A Roadmap and Lessons Learned "from Nov. 16, 2017. During this 60-minute webinar the concept and structure of children’s caucuses among several states were discussed. Did you know that legislative children’s caucuses exist in at least seven states, the oldest founded in 1994 and the newest established just this year? 

Meet the Newest ECE Denver Staff Member

Photo of Bethany Anderson with books as a backdropThe Denver Early Care and Education project at NCSL is thrilled to welcome Bethany Anderson. Bethany recently joined the Children and Families Program and ECE project as a policy associate. She previously served several roles in the office of Wisconsin State Representative Joan Ballweg. Originally from South Dakota, Bethany has a bachelor’s degree in government/international affairs and communications from Augustana College in Sioux Falls. In January 2014, she earned a certificate in public affairs from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at UW-Madison. You can email Bethany or call her at 303-856-1519. 

2017 Early Learning Fellows Program Concludes

Blue wavy background with a dome and words early learning fellowsThe 2017 NCSL Early Learning Fellows, comprised of 29 legislators and two legislative staff and representing 16 states and the District of Columbia, met for their final face-to-face meeting in Denver this September. At the meeting, the Early Learning Fellows participated in sessions about self-regulation and executive function, expulsion and suspension in early childhood settings, financing tools and mechanisms and math in the early years to name a few. Meeting materials such as agenda and PowerPoint presentations can be found on NCSL’s website. And for a more thorough wrapup, including quotes from attendees, please visit the NCSL blog post.

After a competitive application process, this cohort of selected Early Learning Fellows participated in two face-to-face meetings and two webinars. Even though the final meeting concluded the program, the 2017 NCSL Early Learning Fellows will receive continued assistance from NCSL staff as they move into the next legislative session. Additionally, they will join a cadre of approximately 150 other alumni from throughout the country.

NCSL is thrilled to continue this premier program in 2018. Letters to leadership offices in the states and the application process will get under way during the first quarter. Should you have any questions or want to learn more email  

Infant and Toddler Project to Continue

Through a grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, NCSL will continue working in the area of prenatal to age 3 policies with an emphasis on supporting healthy beginnings with home visiting and other evidence-based parent engagement strategies, developmental screenings and infant and toddler high-quality child care. Between now and December 2018, NCSL’s Early Care and Education team plans to establish and meet with a bipartisan legislative advisory group including NCSL members, researchers and NCSL staff. This advisory group will inform the field and develop a legislative framework that will outline specific roles for state legislators and policy options to consider.

NCSL will also host a roundtable this December at the NCSL Capitol Forum in San Diego to discuss prenatal-to-3 policies and states’ efforts to provide enriching early experiences and healthy development for the youngest children and that also support parents to provide a strong foundation for a child’s development from the start. This session will engage the audience to gain input on the legislative role in prenatal to three policy opportunities. If you plan to attend the NCSL Capitol Forum please mark your calendar and participate in this roundtable from 9:45 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Anticipate a new webpage in the coming weeks along with additional related materials. If you are interested in learning more about this project please email Alison May. 

Legislative Session Update

Young boy playing with alphabetical wooden blocksThe early care and education database tracks early care and education legislation from the 2008-2017 legislative sessions for the 50 states and territories. Issues include child care and child care financing, governance and data strategies, prekindergarten, professional development, home visiting, infants and toddlers and financing early education. Legislation can be searched by state, topic, status, primary sponsor, bill number or keyword. This database, which is updated every week, is made possible by the generous support of the Alliance for Early Success.

Visit the early care and education database to view all introduced and enacted bills from 2008 through 2017. View the full 2017 legislative session calendar for information on legislative sessions in each state, district and territory. A full report of all enacted 2017 legislation will be available early in 2018. Below is a sampling of enacted bills. 

2017 Enacted bills of Note

Delaware HB 64 | Representative Ruth Briggs King (R) | Allows that mothers who are full-time state employees may have up to six weeks of unpaid leave following the newborn discharge from the hospital even if their FMLA benefits have been exhausted. 

New Jersey SB 1475 | Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D) | Establishes a three-year Medicaid home visitation demonstration project to provide ongoing health and parenting information, parent and family support, and links to essential health and social services during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood.

Illinois HB 2663 | Representative Juliana Stratton (D) | Updates the school code to include that early childhood programs receiving State Board of Education grants for preschool educational programs prohibit the expulsion of children. Provides instead that when persistent and serious challenging behaviors emerge, the early childhood program document steps taken to ensure that the child can participate safely in the program and utilize a range of community resources.

Vermont HB 508 | Human Services Committee | Creates the Adverse Childhood Experiences Working Group for the purpose of investigating, cataloging and analyzing existing resources to mitigate childhood trauma, identify populations served, and examine structures to build resiliency. Provides membership, power and duties. 

Virginia HB 46 | Representative Tag Greason (R) | Establishes the School Readiness Committee. The goals of the committee are to address the development and alignment of an effective professional development and credentialing system for the early childhood education workforce; consideration of articulation agreements between associate and baccalaureate degree programs; review of teacher licensure and education programs, including programs offered at comprehensive community colleges; alignment of existing professional development funding streams; and, development of innovative approaches to increasing accessibility, availability, affordability of the workforce development system. 

Information Request of the Month: Which states use Medicaid funds to support home visiting services?

young children looking at a book togetherInquiry
Which states use Medicaid funds to support home visiting services?

To date, at least 20 states use Medicaid funds to finance home visiting services. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), “potential use of Medicaid to fund comprehensive services in child care and early education settings poses both great opportunities and great challenges.” In particular, states have found successful ways to integrate Medicaid funds into other federal, state, local and private funds to expand provisions of home visiting services such as medical/health/mental health services, service coordination and referrals, and parent education among others. Other states have explored home visiting expansion through provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Nurse Home Visitation Medicaid Option in Section 1713.

Because maternal and child home visiting programs often provide a comprehensive array of services for women and children, while Medicaid only pays for specific services, states looking to tap into Medicaid are advised to consult with their state Medicaid administrator and CMS. For example, in March 2012, the Office of Ohio Health Plans/Ohio Department of Job and Family Services received formal approval from CMS to provide targeted case management for Medicaid-eligible children and families participating in the state Help Me Grow home visiting program.

States Using Medicaid to Fund Home Visiting





Department of Public Health and Environment

Nurse Family Partnership


Department of Health

Healthy Start


Department of Public Health

Healthy Steps


Department of Human Services/Bureau of Maternal and Infant Health

Family Case Management


Department of Public Health

Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS)


Department of Health and Hospitals

Nurse Family Partnership


Department of Health and Human Services

Healthy Families


Department of Public Health

Early Intervention Partnership Program


Department of Community Health

Maternal Infant Health Program


Department of Health

Family Home Visiting

New Hampshire

Department of Health and Human Services

Home Visiting New Hampshire

New York

Department of Health

Nurse Family Partnership, Community Health Worker


Department of Health

Nurse Family Partnership


Ohio Department of Health

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services

Help Me Grow



Department of Human Services; Oregon Commission for Children and Families

Babies First!, Maternal Case Management, Healthy Families

Rhode Island

Department of Health

First Connections Program

South Dakota

Department of Health

Bright Start


Department of Health

Help Us Grow Successfully (HUGS)


Agency for Human Services; Children’s Integrated Services

Children’s Integrated Services Nursing and Family Support, Healthy Babies, Kids and Families, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health


Department of Health

Resource Mothers

BabyCare (Expanded Prenatal Services and Maternal, Infant Care Coordination Services)


Washington State Health Care Authority

First Steps



Department of Health and Human Resources

Right from the Start


Department of Health Services

Empowering Families of Milwaukee Home Visiting Program (Prenatal Care Coordination)

Additional Resources

Federal Update and Resources

Head shot of Abbi GruwellDid you know that NCSL has offices in both D.C. and Denver?

The newest employee to join the Health and Human Services work in D.C. is Abbie Gruwell. Abbie is NCSL’s new human services policy director. Email Abbie. Abbie joins NCSL from Capitol Hill with a deep appreciation for NCSL’s mission as former state legislative staff. Abbie most recently worked as a legislative assistant for U.S. Representative Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.) from Los Angeles and served as primary staff for the House Homeland Security Committee working on defense, cyber and homeland security, immigration, and judiciary issues. As a staff attorney for the Indiana Legislative Services Agency, she drafted legislation for the House and Senate in the areas of transportation, criminal law, family law, judiciary issues and others. She also served as counsel for the Indiana House Roads and Transportation and House Courts and Criminal Code Committees and was a member of RELACS. Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Abbie received her B.A. in political science and a certificate in international business from the University of Iowa in 2010, and a J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law (Bloomington) in 2015. She is currently finishing her graduate certificate in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from SPEA in Indianapolis.

Stay up to date with the new NCSL HHS State-Federal Newsletter, a bimonthly publication.

Access and read the latest Early Child Development Newsletter from ACF

Mark Your Calendar

2017 calendar in the shape of a circle

Webinar | State Home Visiting: Enhancing Maternal and Child Health, Wellbeing and School Readiness
Register and join us on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m. ET to discuss home visiting. This webinar will highlight the benefits of home visiting, discuss funding options and provide examples of state initiatives and programs.

NCSL Capitol Forum
The NCSL Capitol Forum is where legislators and staff come together to tackle critical state-federal issues, gain insight from national experts, and work with committees to craft the States’ Agenda. The 2017 Capitol Forum will be held Dec. 10-13 at the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, Calif. At the meeting, we will have sessions covering infants and toddlers, Indian child welfare, foster care, two-generation strategies and much more.

NCSL Annual Legislative Summit  
The NCSL Legislative Summit will be held July 30-Aug. 2 in Los Angeles, Calif. Information about this meeting will be available in March.   

resources of interest

Persistent Gaps: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2017

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) | Oct. 2017
Child care assistance has the ability to not only affect children, but their parents as well, by limiting the strain of child care on family budgets, providing quality options for children’s care, and giving parents the opportunity to work, without the financial burden of child care. The National Women’s Law Center released a report, Persistent Gaps: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2017, which examines state-by-state policies regarding child care assistance and the impact it has on children and family well-being.

Science to Policy and Practice: Three Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families

Source: Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University | Oct. 2017
In a new report, the Center on the Developing Child has identified three principles that can guide public policy choices and front-line practice across a wide range of areas affecting children and families. The paper discusses the science behind each of these principles and presents examples of how they might be applied. Finally, the paper explores the crucial ways in which the three principles are related to and support one another. Read the report

10 Characteristics of Preschool-Age Children: A State and Local Data Tool to Inform Policy and Action

Source: Urban Institute | Sept. 2017
This interactive tool shows national, state, and local characteristics of 3- to 5-year-olds, including whether the children are enrolled in preschool, whether their families are low income, or whether their parents are immigrants. With key data points on immigration status, language spoken at home, and parental English proficiency, this tool paints a dynamic picture of the linguistic and cultural diversity of the preschool-age population.

additional resources

Age Requirements for Free and Compulsory Education

Source: Education Commission of the States (ECS) | Nov. 2017
Read the report

Cost of Preschool Quality Communications Toolkit

Source: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) | Nov. 2017
Access the toolkit.   

A Bipartisan Case for Early Childhood Development

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center | Oct. 2017
Read the report.  

Leading the Way: A Guide for Business Engagement in Early Education

Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation | Oct. 2017
Read the report

Vanderbilt Researchers Develop 'Magic 8' Practices to Create An Effective Preschool

Source: Education Week | Oct. 2017
Read the blog.

A QRIS Practical Data User’s Guide

Source: BUILD Initiative and QRIS Network | Oct. 2017
Read the report

Superintendents Say Too Little Invested in Early Education

Source: Gallup News | Oct. 2017
Read the poll.

Building Strong Foundations: Advancing Comprehensive Policies for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

Source: CLASP and ZERO TO THREE | Oct. 2017
Learn more about this new collaborative project online.

The Effects of Accountability Incentives in Early Childhood Education

Source: Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis | September 2017
Read the report

Early Childhood Higher Education Directory

Source: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) | Fall 2017
Access the website and find relevant early care and education related degrees.

Positive Parent-Child Interactions: Supported and Supportive Families and Communities

Source: NC Early Childhood Foundation and Institute for Child Success | Aug. 2017
Read the working paper. This working paper is part of a larger set of 12 working papers for the Pathways to Grade Level Reading Initiative.

Pathways to High-Quality Child Care: The Workforce Investment Credit

Source: Committee for Economic Development (CED) | Aug. 2017
Read the report

Indispensable Policies & Practices for High-Quality Pre-K: Research & Pre-K Standards Review

Source: New America | Aug. 2017
Read the report.

Reframing School Discipline: A Strategic Communications Playbook

Source: FrameWorks Institute | 2017
Read the playbook.

Click to View the Fall 2017 e-update as a PDF