NCSL Early Care and Education Quarterly Update


In This Issue

Recent NCSL Early Care and Education Products

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 our recent products.

New from NCSL: Prenatal-to-Three Policy Resources
Explore NCSL’s new prenatal-to-three policies web page to learn about the experiences of parents, home visiting strategies, access to high-quality settings for infants and toddlers, developmental and well-being screenings and funding options and mechanisms.

Helping Babies and Toddlers Thrive: A Look at Recent State Legislation
This brief highlights recent legislation related to high-quality, affordable child care; paid family leave; home visiting; and access to nutritional foods. This brief was made possible with funding from ZERO TO THREE as part of Think Babies™, which was developed to make the potential of every baby a national priority. Funding partners for Think Babies™ include the Perigee Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which supports the public education aspects of Think Babies. Learn more at

From Pregnancy to Postpartum: The Effects of Maternal Depression on Mothers, Infants and Toddlers 
Maternal depression can have serious consequences for mothers and their children, especially infants and toddlers. Learn about the different types of maternal depression and state policy options to consider in this new brief.

LegisBrief: More States Leaning Into Child Care
High-quality child care provides significant benefits for children, parents, employers, and state and national economies, yet it remains in critically low supply nationwide. With the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant in 2014, along with increased federal funding, states have been acting to make child care more accessible and affordable. Read the full LegisBrief.

Early Care and Education 2018 Legislative Action Report
In 2018, state lawmakers introduced nearly 1,300 early care and education bills with 114 bills in 37 states signed into law. Legislation covers child care; early childhood financing; early childhood governance; home visiting and parent education; prekindergarten and school readiness; prenatal, infant and toddler issues; and early care and education workforce. NCSL summarized significant enactments in this brief and is tracking 2019 legislation now. Monitor what’s happening across the country on our website.

Legislative Corner
Learn about legislative initiatives from this session in our Early Learning Fellows Legislative Corner. Explore Mississippi with Senator Brice Wiggins, a 2016 Early Learning Fellow; and Kelly Klundt, senior fiscal analyst for New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee and a 2014 Early Learning Fellow.

LegisBrief: States Take on Discipline in Preschool Through Third Grade
With research showing that expelling or suspending young students can negatively affect their development, some states and school districts are limiting the practice. Instead, they're supporting social and emotional learning, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and restorative justice practices to help children learn how to self-regulate, communicate and adjust to school in healthier ways. Learn more in NCSL’s recent LegisBrief.

NCSL Tracks Legislation

young boy playing with wooden lettered blocksNCSL’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.

Curious which states are still in session? View NCSL’s state legislative session calendar online.

Introduced bills of note:
Louisiana HB 395 | Representative Steve Carter (R) | Authorizes the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to award remaining money of the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund to certain early learning centers for children eligible for the Child Care Assistance Program ages birth-through-two.

Maine LD 1607 | Senator Rebecca Millett (D) | Creates the Department of Early Care and Learning.

Texas HB 4348 | Representative Dade Phelan (R) | Allows a minor, who is otherwise eligible, to enroll and receive services from the Texas Home Visiting Program.

Washington HB 1771 (companion SB 5683) | Representative Tana Senn (D) and Senator Lisa Wellman (D)| Establishes the Welcome to Washington Baby Act to create family supports through universal home visiting programs and a statewide family linkage program for resources and referrals.

Enacted bills of note:
Colorado HB 1194 | Representative Colin Larson (R) and Representative Susan Lontine (D) | Allows a state-funded, community-based preschool program, school district, or charter school (enrolling entity) to impose an out-of-school suspension or expel a student enrolled in preschool, kindergarten, or first or second grade only under specified circumstances. Out-of-school suspension is limited to three school days unless the executive officer or chief administrative officer of the enrolling entity determines that a longer period is necessary to resolve a safety threat or recommends that the student be expelled. Requires the state board annually review the data concerning suspensions and expulsions of students in preschool, kindergarten, and first and second grades.

UT HB 47 | Representative V. Lowry Snow (R) | Creates the Early Childhood Utah Advisory Council within the Department of Health and Early Childhood Commission housed within the governor’s office. Both are responsible for coordinating early childhood programs and making services more accessible for Utah families. Requires the council and commission to bring together diverse groups of stakeholders to address the state of early childhood services.

Early Learning Fellows Program Update

Early Learning Fellows logo including capitol dome and the program name spelled outNCSL is preparing for the first meeting of its 2019 Early Learning Fellows program. The new cohort includes 24 legislators and two legislative staff representing 13 states.

Each participant has been selected through a competitive application process and is considered experienced or emerging leaders on early childhood and early learning issues. To learn more about the program’s eighth cohort, visit NCSL’s Early Learning Fellows website. The 2019 kickoff meeting will take place June 5-7 in Omaha, Neb., and a second meeting will be in late August in Denver. The program also includes webinars in July and August.

A recent alumni report shows that as of 2018, 189 legislators and 25 legislative staff representing 48 states and two territories had participated in the program. Participants enjoy the following key components:

  • Build knowledge alongside legislators and staff about new research and policy.
  • Participate in a peer-learning environment, fostering the exchange of early learning policy ideas and solutions.
  • Meet, connect and learn from other legislative leaders.
  • Identify action steps as part of an individual action plan.
  • Enjoy the exclusive opportunity to speak and learn from leading researchers and policy experts.

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

Commonly Used Abbreviations

Policy work is fraught with a maddening number of abbreviations. For a friendly assist, check out NCSL’s updated guide to commonly used early care and education abbreviations.

2019 Legislative Summit 

summit logoTake part in NCSL’s 2019 Legislative Summit, Aug. 5-8, in Nashville, Tenn. Nearly 6,000 people attend NCSL’s largest meeting each year. Living legend Dolly Parton will be among the nearly 400 speakers and 130 policy sessions. Registration is now open!

NCSL’s early care and education team invites you to an informative session on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. CDT.  John King, president and CEO of The Education Trust and Laurie Smith, an education policy advisor to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, will discuss how to create high-quality programs and classroom environments that can help children overcome adversity, address opportunity gaps and promote school readiness. Learn more about this and other Health and Human Services sessions on the Summit website. See you in Music City!

Federal Update

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. Newsletters are archived on NCSL’s website.

The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Enhancement Act of 2019 Congress is considering a bill that would increase the value of the existing federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) and help more low- and middle-income families afford the high cost of child care. The current CDCTC has a maximum credit of $1,050 per child. Under this bill, families would receive a maximum of $3,000 per child, up to $6,000. H.R 1967, and its companion in the Senate (S.931), also would make the CDCTC refundable, allowing families without tax liability at the end of the year to benefit, and adjusts the credit to inflation to better keep up with the rising costs of child care. The bill was introduced by Illinois Congressman Danny K. Davis (D) in March.

Mark Your Calendar

Calendar showing the year 2019Upcoming Webinar: Building Systems That Work for Young Children: International Insights from Innovative Early Childhood Systems
Register now and join NCSL on Tuesday, June 18 at 2 p.m. EDT as we examine how six countries with different demographic makeups address the early care and educational needs of their youth. Hear from Sharon Lynn Kagan as she shares takeaways from the field and learn how your state can design and implement services for young children and families that aim to advance early care and education outcomes. Dr. Kagan is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy and co-director of the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University, and professor adjunct at the Child Study Center, Yale University.

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

Featured Resources

Early Childhood Two-Generation State Policy Profiles

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) | April 2019
Recently updated state and national profiles provide a two-generation view of current policies affecting children birth to age 8 in the areas of early care and education, health, and parenting/family economic supports. Find your state profile.

State of Babies Yearbook 2019

Source: Zero to Three and Child Trends | February 2019
There are 12 million infants and toddlers in the U.S., and they are our next generation of parents, leaders and workers. This first-of its-kind yearbook compares state and national data on the well-being of U.S. babies. How is your state doing?

Resources from the Field

The State of Preschool 2018

Source: National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) | April 2019
Read the report.

Adverse Childhood Experiences are Different than Child Trauma, and It’s Critical to Understand Why

Source: Child Trends | April 2019
Read the blog.

Head Start Program Offers Low-Income Children a Chance to Thrive

Source: NBC News | April 2019|
Watch the news clip.

The Role of Licensing in Supporting Quality Practices in Early Care and Education

Source: Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation (OPRE) | Child Trends | April 2019
Read the report.

Two Open Windows: Infant and Parent Neurobiologic Change

Source: Ascend at the Aspen Institute | March 2019
Read the report.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014: Update on State Implementation of Key Policies

Source: National Women’s Law Center | March 2019
Read the report.

Identifying Child Care Deserts: A Toolkit for Child Care Advocates, Administrators, and Analysts

Source: Center for American Progress | February 2019
Access the toolkit.

Preschool Education is Absolutely Vital to America's Security

Source: Newsday | February 2019
Read the article.

Trends in Pre-K Education Funding in 2017-18

Source: Education Commission of the States | February 2019
Read the report.

Impacts on Family Outcomes of Evidence-Based Early Childhood Home Visiting: Results from the Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation

Source: Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation | January 2019
Read the report.

Child Care in State Economies – 2019 Update

Source: Committee for Economic Development | January 2019
Read the report.

Early Learning Facilities Policy Framework

Source: The Bipartisan Policy Center | November 2018
Read the report.

View the Spring 2019 ECE Update as a PDF