NCSL Early Care and Education Spring 2018 E-Update


In This Issue

Recent NCSL Early Care and Education Publications

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

Podcast | The Economic Argument for Early Childhood Education
In this podcast, economist Art Rolnick explains how investing in early childhood education can pay off in big ways for the states, by closing opportunity gaps before they become achievement gaps. 

2017 Enacted Legislation on Early Care and Education
During their 2017 legislative session, state lawmakers addressed an array of policy issues related to young children. Nearly 1,200 bills were introduced and approximately 140 were signed into law in 33 states. This report provides an overview of significant 2017 legislative enactments in the following topic areas: child care (subsidy, quality and access); early childhood financing; early childhood governance; home visiting and parent education; prenatal, infant and toddlers; prekindergarten and school readiness; early childhood teacher workforce. 

Archived Webinar | Opioid and Early Adversity
Access an archived copy of NCSL’s Opioid and Early Adversity: Connecting Childhood Trauma and Addiction from April 2018. During this 60-minute webinar attendees learned about the connection between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the opioid epidemic. Speakers discussed how ACEs can affect later substance misuse, including the intergenerational impacts on families. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and legislators from Tennessee and Vermont highlighted innovative policy options and state strategies. 

Early Learning Fellows | Legislative Corner
NCSL’s Early Learning Fellows Legislative Corner is a great way to stay connected with other Early Learning Fellows and to learn about legislative work being done in the states. In the April edition, read about legislative activities in the District of Columbia and Louisiana.

New Early Care and Education Team Member

Jeni PalmerJeni Palmer transferred to NCSL’s Children and Families program in March after first joining NCSL in 2017 as a Research Analyst II in the Education program. Jeni is already providing support to the Early Care and Education project by tracking legislation, conducting research and writing, creating a prenatal-to-age-3 legislative advisory group, and helping with the Early Learning Fellows Program. Prior to NCSL, Jeni worked alongside high school exchange students and their host families with Youth for Understanding. As an AmeriCorps member she helped build houses with Habitat for Humanity and improved local health policies. She also clerked in the Iowa House of Representatives. Jeni earned her MPA from the University of Colorado Denver and a bachelor’s in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Iowa.

Legislative Session Update

Young boy playing with alphabetical wooden blocksNCSL’s early care and education database tracks early care and education legislation from the 2008-2018 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 for 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 2018. View the full 2018 legislative session calendar for information on legislative sessions in each state, district and territory.

Introduced bills of note:
Colorado SB 265 Owen Hill (R): Establishes a child care savings account and provides for an income tax credit.

Louisiana HB 676 | Representative Stephanie Hilferty (R): Creates the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission and pilot programs for community early childhood care and education networks.

Louisiana HB 864 | Representative Gary Carter (D): Dedicates a portion of certain state funds into the Early Childhood Education Fund.

Minnesota HB 4281 | Representative Julie Sandstede (DFL) | SB 3931 | Senator Erik Simonson: These companion bills create a child care regulation working group to assess current child care regulations and make recommendations to the legislature and Commissioner of Human Services.

Enacted bills of note:
South Carolina HB 3591 | Representative Jerry N. Govan, Jr. (D): Establishes the benchmarks and objectives required as part of the First Steps to School Readiness comprehensive long-range initiative; provides the benchmarks and objectives must be approved by the First Steps to School Readiness board of trustees and posted on the internet website of the state office of first steps to school readiness; relates to the first steps school readiness assessment; imposes certain requirements for reporting and use of the results of the assessment.

Tennessee HB 1686 | Representative Eddie Smith (R): Requires local education agencies that receive prekindergarten program approval to utilize the pre-K/kindergarten growth portfolio model approved by the State Board of Education in the evaluation of prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers; requires notification of teachers evaluated using this model. 

Information Request of the Month: Child Care Access and Affordability

How are state legislatures addressing affordability and access to child care?

During the 2018 legislative session, states have considered numerous bills to increase access and improve affordability of child care. Options on the table include expanding eligibility for child care assistance, addressing child care wait lists, promoting child care business development or expansion through grants or business training programs, and incentivizing employer contributions to offset the cost of child care for employees. 

Some states are taking a closer look at the issue by establishing task forces or conducting studies to evaluate the availability of child care in their state. In 2016, Minnesota’s Legislative Task Force on Access to Affordable Child Care released a report that makes several policy recommendations to address child care access and cost.

Below is a snapshot of enacted legislation in recent years.

MD S 293 | 2017 | Child Care Subsidy Program
Summary: Requires the State Department of Education to report to certain committees of the General Assembly on or before a certain date on methodologies to set child care subsidy reimbursement rates in the Child Care Subsidy Program, requires the report to contain certain information including alternative methodologies, benefits and constraints, and feedback.

MD S 294  | 2017 | Child Care Subsidy Program
Summary: Requires the State Department of Education to conduct a specified analysis regarding the Child Care Subsidy Program beginning in 2017 and every two years thereafter, requiring the Department to consult with specified entities before conducting a specified analysis, and requiring the Department to report to specified committees of the General Assembly on or before September 1, 2017, and by September 1 every two years thereafter.

NE L 335 | 2017 | Child Care Market Rate Survey
Summary: Changes provisions of the child care market rate survey and the rates of reimbursement market survey.

WA H 1624 | 2017 | Child Care Eligibility for Vulnerable Children
Summary: Establishes and implements policies in the working connections child care program to promote stability and quality of care for children from low-income households.

AZ H 2262 | 2016 |Child Care Assistance
Summary: Amends child care assistance eligibility requirements for families who are attempting to achieve independence from the cash assistance program and who need child care assistance in support of and as specified in their personal responsibility agreement.

CO S 22 | 2016 | Child Care Assistance Cliff Effect Pilot Program
Summary: Expands the number of counties that can participate in the existing pilot program designed to mitigate the cliff effect for low-income families who are working and receiving child care assistance. Expanded participation is subject to available appropriations.

CO S 212 | 2016 | Child Care Assistance Program Eligibility Requirement
Summary: Aligns state statutes with changes made to the federal child care and assistance program. Requires that a child receiving Colorado child care assistance supports continues to be eligible for those supports for a 12-month period before eligibility is re-determined, and receive at least ninety days of transitional assistance, as long as the child's family income remains below the federal limit of 85 percent of state median income for that family size.

OR H 2015 | 2015 | Subsidized Childcare
Summary: Requires the subsidy programs for employment-related child care to provide for a period of eligibility regardless of change in employment. Permits students enrolled in coursework and self-employed persons to receive subsidized employment-related child care. Allows for reduced copayments and incentive payments when child care provider meets specified minimum standards. Authorizes on-site inspections of child care premises.

RI S 99 | 2015 | Childcare Benefits
Summary: Extends low-income child care benefits indefinitely by repealing the June 30, 2015 sunset provision from the law.

Early Learning Fellows Program 2018 Update

Blue wavy background with a dome and words early learning fellowsNCSL is preparing for the first meeting of its 2018 Early Learning Fellows program. The new cohort is composed of 30 legislators and five legislative staff and represents 23 states. Each of these participants has been selected through a competitive application process and are considered experienced or emerging leaders on early childhood and early learning issues. To learn more about the program’s seventh cohort, visit NCSL’s Early Learning website.    

The 2018 kickoff meeting will take place June 6-8 in Denver, Colo., and a second meeting will be in late August in Minneapolis, Minn. In addition, the program will include a webinar in July discussing suspension and expulsion in the early years and a second webinar in August discussing prekindergarten throughout the country. Each of these webinars will include legislative respondents alongside our presenters from the BUILD Initiative and Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) respectively.

Key components of the Early Learning Fellows program include:

  • Building knowledge among legislators and staff about new research and policy.
  • Promoting an exchange of ideas and solutions related to early learning, the early achievement gap and many other issues.
  • Introducing and connecting legislators to other legislative early childhood leaders.
  • Providing participants with a practical early learning plan they can use in their state.
  • Facilitating access to leading researchers and policy experts.

For more information about this premier NCSL program contact Alison May at or call 303-856-1473.

Prenatal-to-Three Legislative Advisory Group Convenes

young children looking at a book togetherNCSL has formed a Prenatal-to-Three (PN-3) Legislative Advisory Group. This bipartisan group of legislators, legislative staff, researchers and NCSL staff will create a framework for specific roles and policy options for legislators across the country to consider when advancing prenatal-to-three legislation. Members of this group include: Senator Thomas Alexander (R-S.C.), Representative Terri Collins (R-Ala.), Representative Thomas Holmes (R-S.D.), Representative Craig Horn (R-N.C.), Representative Susan Lontine (D-Colo.), Senator Beth Mizell (R-La.), Representative Carla Piluso (R-Ore.), Assemblymember Michaelle Solages (D-N.Y.), Councilmember Robert White (D-D.C.), Maria Garnett from Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and Kelly Klundt from New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee.

Members of the PN-3 Legislative Advisory Group will meet in Denver in May and in Los Angeles in July. The group will release its framework this December in Washington, D.C. at NCSL’s Annual Capitol Forum. The three primary goals of the PN-3 Legislative Advisory Group are:

  • To provide a neutral, bipartisan forum for dialogue around prenatal-to-three policy issues.
  • To enhance the leadership capabilities of participating state legislators by increasing their knowledge of prenatal-to-three policy issues.
  • To inform a broader legislative audience on prenatal-to-three policy issues.

Contact Julie Poppe at or call 303-856-1497 for more information.

Federal Update 

Did you know that NCSL has offices in Denver and D.C.? The Denver office houses our state policy research division and our D.C. staff ensures state legislatures have a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system. Stay up to date with NCSL’s new bimonthly Health and Human Services State-Federal Newsletter. Access the April edition highlighting relevant information from congress and the administration.

Mark Your Calendar

2018 calendar in the shape of a circleAnnual Legislative Summit
The NCSL 2018 Legislative Summit brings legislators and legislative staff together to work on the nation's pressing issues, share experiences and influence federal policy. The 2018 Legislative Summit will be July 30 - Aug. 2 in Los Angeles, Calif. Join your early childhood colleagues Tuesday, July 31 at 10:15 a.m. for a session titled Healthy Starts: Tools for Early Childhood Success.

Capitol Forum 
The NCSL Capitol Forum is where legislators and staff tackle critical state-federal issues, gain insight from national experts, and work with committees to craft the States’ Agenda. The 2018 Capitol Forum will be Dec. 5-8 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.

Resources of Interest

The State of Preschool 2017

Source: National Institute for Early Education Research | April 2018
The report is based on a survey for the 2016-17 year, and it includes trend data going back to 2002. Also included is a special report on state policies supporting young dual-language learners. Read the report

State Policies for Assessing Access: Analysis of 2016–2018 Child Care Development Plans

Source: The Early Childhood Data Collaborative | March 2018
The Early Childhood Data Collaborative’s new research report examines how states and territories are addressing, or plan to address, new requirements and goals of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) law. Read the report

Additional Resources

The Workforce Data Deficit: Who It Harms and How It Can Be OvercomeEvent 

Source: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment | May 2018
Read the brief

What is the Market Price of Daycare and Preschool?

Source: Brookings | April 2018
Read the report.

Social-Emotional Development in the First Three Years

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Penn State | April 2018
Read the report

A Compass for Families: Head Start in Rural America

Source: Center for American Progress | April 2018
Read the report

Early Childhood Two-Generation State Policy Profiles

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) | April 2018
Access the profiles.

Organizing Early Education for Improvement: Testing a New Survey Tool

Source: The Ounce and The University of Chicago Consortium on School Research | March 2018
Read the report.

Federal Spending on Prenatal to Three: Developing a Public Response to Improving Developmental Trajectories and Preventing Inequities

Source: Center for the Study of Social Policy | March 2018
Read the report.

Career Pathways in Early Care and Education

Source: Abt Associates | February 2018
Read the report.

Growing Superdiversity among Young U.S. Dual Language Learners and Its Implications

Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) | February 2018
Read the report.


View the Spring 2018 e-update as a PDF