NCSL Early Care and Education Update

In This Issue 


NCSL’s Early Care and Education staff, along with our colleagues in education and health, host webinars and podcasts, produce reports, create webpages and author articles to support your work. Here are our recent products.

Briefs, Webpages and Resources

New from NCSL
Beyond the ABCs and 123s: Social and Emotional Development in Early Learning Settings

Healthy social and emotional development is rooted in nurturing and responsive relationships with family members and other caregivers, including those who provide care in early learning settings. State legislatures often consider policies and resources to support school readiness. Increasingly, legislation to enhance social and emotional well-being in early learners is seen as a crucial component to promoting success in school. Learn more in NCSL’s latest brief.

New Policy  Brief  
Early Childhood Home Visiting: What legislators need to know

Recognizing parents as their child’s first, and often best, teachers is the foundation of home visiting. At the same time, all parents need guidance and support—especially single, first-time and low-income mothers. Voluntary home visiting is a vehicle to connect parents and their young children to resources that facilitate positive parenting and healthy child development. This brief is intended to help state policymakers make informed decisions about home visiting policies in their states. 

Preschool-3rd Grade Research, Resources and News
The latest research, resources and news on preschool-3rd grade early learning is on NCSL’s website. New links related to preschool, school readiness, literacy development, early STEM, dual language learners, family engagement and more are added every other week.

New LegisBrief | States Elevate Preschool-3rd Grade Learning
With studies showing that children who start school early in life do better both in and out of the classroom, more and more states are acting to boost high-quality early learning opportunities. During the 2019 legislative session, 49 states introduced 496 bills and resolutions related to early learning, with 87 bills enacted in 29 states. Read the recent NCSL LegisBrief to learn more.

Archived Webinar | Infant and Toddler Data to Support Ready Learners
The State of Babies of Babies Yearbook, an initiative of Zero to Three and Child Trends, presents state-by-state data comparing 60 indicators across three policy domains: good health, strong families and positive early learning experiences for very young children. Hear an expert from Zero to Three in this archived webinar explain the yearbook and ways to utilize the data to support your legislative activities.

Kansas Legislators Convene for Early Learning Forum
This fall approximately 60 members of the Kansas Legislature, key stakeholders and NCSL staff participated in an Early Learning Forum for legislators and legislative staff. This new webpage highlights sessions from the day, including handouts and PowerPoint presentations.


young children clapping their handsIn July 2019, NCSL published Strong Beginnings, Successful Lives: A Prenatal-to-Three Policy Guidebook for Legislators, the product of NCSL’s Prenatal-to-Three Legislative Advisory Group.

The guidebook includes the following features:

  • Baseline facts and figures about infants, toddlers and their families.
  • A framework for understanding prenatal-to-three issues and how they relate to one another.
  • Actions and policy options for consideration.
  • Questions to guide learning and development on prenatal-to-three policy topics.
  • Examples of how legislators are using state policy to improve circumstances and outcomes for young children and their families.

With financial support from the Pritzker Children’s Initative, NCSL will continue focusing attention on this critical period of child development through a collaboration with the newly created Prenatal-to-Three Policy Impact Center at The University of Texas at Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs. The center, led by Dr. Cynthia Osborne, aims to be an integral resource that policy leaders, scholars, advocates and funders can turn to for meaningful data, reliable evidence and opportunities for collaboration across the field.

Look for more resources, briefs and webinars on prenatal-to-three topics in 2020. For more information about prenatal-to-three policies and practices, send a message to and visit our website


Young student and teacherQuestion: How have state legislatures supported access to child care specifically for families experiencing homelessness?
Answer: Significant legislative action around early care and education for children experiencing homelessness stems from the reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) in 2014. The updated law includes new provisions designed to increase access to child care for homeless families and required states to:

  • Allow enrollment while required documentation is obtained.
  • Prioritize services for children experiencing homelessness.
  • Increase outreach to families experiencing homelessness.
  • Collect and report data on homeless families receiving child care subsidies.

A summary from the National Center on Subsidy Innovation and Accountability lists policy and practice options for states to meet these requirements.

Since 2014, more than a handful of states have introduced bills to bring their state into compliance with the new requirements. Often these bills:

  • Expand eligibility to subsidies by modifying work requirements for parents experiencing homelessness.
    • Minnesta (2019) SF 1111 - Intrduced
    • Nrth Carolina (2019) HB 613 - Intrduced
    • Washingtn (2019) HB 1574 - Intrduced
  • Make it easier to apply for and access to child care subsidies for homeless families.
    • Massachusetts (2019) HB 103 - Intrduced
  • Prioritize children experiencing homelessness to receive subsidies.
    • Illinis (2015) SB 730 - Veted
    • Minnesta (2017) HB 219 - Failed
    • New Yrk (2017) AB 1055 - Failed

A guide from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth and the Ounce of Prevention Fund summarized opportunities available through CCDBG to improve access to early care and education for homeless children.


Young girl reading with teacherNCSL’s early care and education database tracks legislation from the 2008-2019 legislative sessions for all states and territories. Search 2019 legislation on our webpage or live tracking sheet by state, topic, status, primary sponsor, bill number or keyword. The database is updated weekly through the generous support of the Alliance for Early Success.

Check the session calendar for convening and adjourning dates, updates on special sessions, and dates of formal organizational sessions.

Enacted bills of note:

  • CO HB 1262 | Revises provisions relating to state funding for full-day kindergarten. Before passage of the act, Colorado’s school finance formula provided funding for half-day kindergarten, plus a small amount of supplemental kindergarten funding. The act provides funding through a school finance formula. Students enrolled in full-day kindergarten will be funded at the same rate as students enrolled full-time in other grades.
  • NV AB 430 | Requires the Legislative Committee on Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice to study maternal, infant and early childhood home visitation services.
  • OR SB 526 | Directs the Oregon Health Authority to design, implement and maintain a voluntary statewide program to provide universal newborn nurse home visiting services to all families within the state to support healthy child development and strengthen families.
  • VA SB 1015 | Expands the education improvement scholarships tax credits program by including, as eligible scholarship recipients, children enrolled in or attending nonpublic prekindergarten programs whose parents or guardians were unable to obtain services for the children through the Virginia Preschool Initiative.


NCSL’s Washington, D.C.-based staff ensure state legislatures have a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system. Stay up to date with NCSL’s bimonthly Health and Human Services State-Federal Newsletter for health and human services committee members. The HHS Update provides updated on important federal legislation. Read the October edition today.


Capitol building with the words NCSL Capitol Forum noted in a boxNCSL Capitol Forum
Register and join us Dec. 10-13 in Phoenix. The NCSL Capitol Forum is where legislators and staff come together to tackle critical state-federal issues, gain insight from national experts, and work to craft the States’ Agenda.

NCSL Calendar
Find other NCSL-sponsored webinars and meetings on our calendar.

Featured Resources 

Early Childhood Essentials: A Framework for Aligning Child Skills and Educator Competencies

Source: Learning Policy Institute | October 2019
Providing high-quality early learning experiences is complex work. A new report and fact sheet from Learning Policy Institute outlines essential skills and competencies for early childhood educators and provides a baseline of knowledge to help decision-makers think critically about how to improve the early learning programs they oversee. Read the report

Funding our Future: Generating State and local Tax Revenue for Quality Early Care and Education

Source: Build Initiative | October 2019
Funding gaps pose a significant challenge to making high-quality early care and education a reality for more children. This new report offers guiding questions and seven tax areas for state and local early childhood leaders to consider when considering expansion and diversification of public funding for early care and education. Read the report.

Registered Apprenticeships: A Viable Career Path for the Early Childhood Workforce

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center | September 2019
Registered apprenticeships are well-established in many occupations, but not so much in the early childhood, where they are just starting to take off. Registered apprenticeships can provide pathways to improve transitions from education into the workforce, provide employees with continuous on-the-job education and skill attainment, and support advancement in their field. Select state efforts show that registered apprenticeships have promise to advance the skills, knowledge, and abilities of the early childhood workforce. Read the report.

Resources From The Field

Young Learners, Missed Opportunities: Ensuring that Black and Latino Children Have Access to High-Quality State-Funded Preschool

Source: The Education Trust | November 2019
Read the report.

2019 Home Visiting Yearbook

Source: National Home Visiting Resource Center | October 2019
Read the yearbook.

One Step at a Time: The Benefits of an Incremental Approach to the Integration of Home Visiting and Other Early Childhood Data

Source: Child Trends | October 2019
Read the brief.

The US and the High Price of Child Care: 2019

Source: Child Care Aware of America | October 2019
Read the report.

2019 State Policy Update Report

Source: Ounce of Prevention Fund | October 2019
Read the report.

Early Head Start: An Essential Support for Pregnant Women, Infants, and Toddlers

Source: Zero to Three | October 2019
Read the report.

Investing in Infant and Toddler Child Care to Strengthen Working Families

Source: Center for American Progress | October 2019
Read the report.

Building Bipartisan Support for Child Care: A Toolkit

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center | September 2019
Read the toolkit.

Early Learning in the United States: 2019

Source: Center for American Progress | September 2019
Find your state’s fact sheet.  

No Child Left Behind, National Ambitions, and Local Realities: Implications for Social and Emotional Learning

Source: American Enterprise Institute | September 2019
Read the report.

What We Can Do about Toxic Stress

Source: Center on the Developing Child | Summer 2019
View the infographic.

Exploring State Strategies for Financing Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Source: Zero to Three | January 2019
Read more.


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