NCSL Early Care and Education Summer 2017 E-Update


Recent NCSL Publications

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 the work you do.

Early Care and Education Webinar Series
Access archived versions of webinars from the inaugural Early Care and Education five part webinar series. This spring and summer NCSL’s Early Care and Education project hosted a webinar series which covered "Science of Early Childhood Brain Development," "Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences," "Integrating Early Childhood Data," "State Preschool Programs," and “Young Dual Language Learners.”

Archived Webinar | Improving Systems of Care for Children and Youth With Special Health Care Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Access an archived version of NCSL’s Improving Systems of Care for Children and Youth With Special Health Care Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder from July 2017. Did you know, according to the Health Resources Services Administration, an estimated 9.4 million children in the U.S. under the age of 18 have special health care needs? Learn more on the topic from the webinar presenters.

LegisBrief | Closing the Opportunity Gap in Early Childhood Education
Achieving equity in early childhood education—making sure all children have the resources to be successful in school—is a fundamental goal of international leaders in education. Read the full July LegisBrief which examines this timely topic.

Early Learning Fellows Program Update

Blue wavy background with a dome and words early learning fellows

This winter, NCSL was pleased to announce a sixth class of the Early Learning Fellows Program. After receiving nominations from the leadership office in many states, NCSL sent applications to those nominated, scored the completed and returned applications and invited 29 legislators and two legislative staff to participate in the program.

The sixth cohort of Fellows represents 16 states and the District of Columbia. The program, which began in 2011, kicked off in June with a meeting in Omaha, Neb. At the meeting, Fellows had an opportunity to meet and network with their legislative colleagues from throughout the country. Content sessions included an opportunity to learn about brain science and brain architecture in the early years, hear about the economic return on high-quality early childhood programs from an economist with the Federal Reserve, and receive an overview of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) specifically related to opportunities within the birth through third grade years.  

The class of Fellows heard from the Buffett Early Childhood Institute’s work in collaboration with 11 school superintendents to close the achievement gap as well as a presentation by the Sixpence Early Learning Fund, a public-private investment for quality early care and education programs that began in 2006 when the Nebraska legislature established the Early Childhood Education Endowment Grant Program. The meeting concluded with a tour and site visit to Educare of Omaha at Kellom Elementary School where Fellows saw first-hand what a quality early learning facility and program looks like. Read more about the meeting including quotes by attendees in a recent NCSL Blog Post.    

The program year also includes two webinars. The July webinar State Preschool Programs: Annual Yearbook Update included information from the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) and comments from Senator Brice Wiggins (R-Miss.) an alum of the Early Learning Program and sponsor of prekindergarten legislation. The August webinar Dual Language Learners (DLLs) featured DLL experts from New America and an Oregon legislative staffer providing policy strategies to effectively serve this group as well as comments by current Fellow Representative John “Bam” Carney (R-Ky.) about the work being done in his state. Both webinars are now archived and can be viewed on NCSL’s website.     

A final meeting will be held mid-September in Denver. At this meeting the Fellows will learn 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. After the final meeting this class of Early Learning Fellows will join the network of approximately 120 alumni of the program. Access additional information about the program and each of the meetings and webinars on NCSL’s website.  

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:

Connecticut S 954 | Joint Committee on Education | Requires the Department of Education, in consultation with the Office of Early Childhood, to develop a plan for universal preschool beginning in 2022.

Maryland S 651 | Senator William C. Smith (D) | Prohibits the suspension or expulsion of prekindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, or second grade students from public schools with certain exceptions for an expulsion required by federal law or a suspension for not more than a certain number of days; requires the principal or school administration to contact a student's parent or guardian under certain circumstances; requires the school system to remedy the impact of the student's behavior through certain intervention methods.

North Carolina S 315 | Senator Chad Barefoot (R) | Directs the University of North Carolina to implement the undergraduate degree completion improvement plan; directs certain boards, colleges and the University of North Carolina to develop and implement a system wide articulation agreement for the transfer of credit from a community college early childhood education program to a university; provides for implementing the UTEACH program as part of the curricula offered by the university.

North Dakota S 2038 | Office of Legislative Management | Relates to the establishment of a task force on children's behavioral health; relates to behavioral health training for educators and early childhood service providers and to emergency hold limitations for mental health examinations; provides for a report to the governor and the legislative management; repeals provisions relating to professional development training regarding the prevention of bullying and youth suicide.

Texas H 2039 | Representative Dan Huberty (R) | Creates an early childhood certification to teach students in prekindergarten through grade three; ensures that there are teachers with special training in early childhood education focusing on prekindergarten through grade three, requires the board to establish an early childhood certificate.

Information Request of the Month: Child Care Contribution Tax Credits

young children looking at a book together

What is the Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit and do other states have something similar?

The Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit allows for taxpayers that make a qualifying monetary contribution to promote child care in Colorado to then claim an income tax credit of 50 percent of the total qualifying contribution. In-kind contributions of property (non-monetary donations) do not qualify for the credit.

In addition to Colorado it appears that Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Oregon have similar child care tax credits. The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation provides case studies on their website with additional information.  

  • Colorado | The Child Care Contribution Tax Credit in Colorado was enacted in 1998 and has been amended several times. Individuals and corporations can claim a credit for contributions made to qualifying child care organizations for eligible purposes. In-kind contributions such as labor, materials and other non-cash donations do not qualify for the credit. When originally enacted, the credit was equal to 25 percent of the value of the donation. In 2000, the credit was amended to increase the value of the credit to 50 percent of the donation.
  • Louisiana | In 2007, the Louisiana State Legislature passed legislation to provide five tax credits, which are collectively referred to as the School Readiness Tax Credits. Credits are designed to strengthen the quality of child care and incentivize child care programs to participate in the state’s voluntary child care quality rating system. The School Readiness Tax Credit package includes: Child Care Expense Tax Credit (for parents); Child Care Provider Tax Credit (for programs); a tax credit for child care directors and staff (for child care personnel); a tax credit for business-supported child care; a tax credit for donations to Child Care Resource and Referral agencies.
  • Pennsylvania | The Pennsylvania legislature enacted the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program in 2001. In 2015, this program worked with 2,500 businesses and generated over $100 million in tax credits. The program offered businesses tax credits to donate to three types of programs. The first program provided $60 million in tuition assistance to K-12 schools. The second program provided $30 million to fund academic programs in K-12 schools. The third program provided $10 million to fund preschool programs for families with limited income.
  • Oregon | The Child Care Contribution Tax Credit in Oregon was enacted in 2003. Donations are not made to individual child care programs, but rather to the Office of Child Care, which uses the funding for child care initiatives. The tax credit is worth 75 percent of the contribution and is not refundable, but may be carried forward to be used within four years. The total amount of credits is capped at $500,000 per year, which yields $667,000 in revenue to be used for child care. Funds are distributed to child care programs throughout the state on a competitive basis and have been used to increase provider wages, expand access to professional development, reduce parent costs to less than 10 percent of family income and improve the quality of care.

The Tax Credits for Early Care and Education: Funding Strategy in a New Economy from the Opportunities Exchange provides an overview of tax credits and how they can assist in financing early care and education programs throughout the county. 

NCSL Annual Legislative Summit Wrap-up

Summit logo including NCSL and the words Legislative Summit Boston Aug. 6-9-107

We made history at the NCSL Legislative Summit, August 6-9, in Boston. Were you one of the 1,206 legislators or 1,110 legislative staff in attendance in Boston able to join NCSL at the Summit? For those unable to travel to Boston you can now access all resources from the meeting on NCSL’s website.

Some of the highlights included an update on federal activities relating to health and human services, and a session on improving children’s chances by combating early trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Other interesting early childhood sessions included, the latest data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation on their KIDS COUNT report, and a session including Georgetown University and Brookings Institution discussing the short- and long-term benefits of preschool including the potential for fadeout and highlighting who benefits most.

Mark your calendars and be sure to join us July 30-Aug. 2, 2018 in Los Angeles for the next annual NCSL Legislative Summit. 

Federal Update and Resources

Did you know that NCSL has offices in both D.C. and Denver?

NCSL D.C. Staffer Haley NicholsonThe newest employee to join the Health and Human Services work in D.C. is Haley Nicholson. Haley has worked in federal policy and advocacy, focusing on domestic and global health, for over seven years. She has done policy education and outreach in the nonprofit sector and on Capitol Hill for: global health appropriations, Medicare, Medicaid, public health, education, labor, foreign affairs, telecommunications and small business. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in English and international affairs, and has a master’s degree in public management from the Johns Hopkins University.

So far in Congress several bills have been introduced related to early childhood health and development and programming:

  • S. 774- Trauma-Informed Care for Children and Families Act of 2017: Introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-S.D.). Addresses the psychological, developmental, social and emotional needs of children, youth and families who have experienced trauma. Legislation would identify, evaluate, recommend, maintain and update the best practices with respect to children and youth and their families who have experienced or at risk of experiencing trauma as appropriate. This work would be coordinated with a task forced composed of federal employees including an Assistant Secretary from all relevant federal agencies.
  • H.R. 2824- Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act: Introduced by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.). Amends title V of the SSA to extend the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. This program is set to expire in September.
  • H.R. 3291- Alleviating Adverse Childhood Experiences Act: Introduced by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). Amends title XIX of the Social Security Act (SSA) to provide states the option for maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting programs. Adverse experiences would include: emotional and physical neglect and abuse, sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, household substance abuse, household mental illness, parental separate or divorce and having an incarcerated household member. Home visiting programs and related evidence-based approaches have been proven to prevent and mitigate the negative effects of adverse childhood experiences on children and their families.
  • H.R. 1539- Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2017: Introduced by Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.). Amends the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to reauthorize a program for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment regarding deaf and hard-of-hearing newborns, infants, and young children. These programs can benefit these children and their families and can help in a range of areas, including: listening and spoken language and visual and language acquisition, family-to-family support, support from other individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and progress monitoring among others.
  • H.R. 737- Caring Start Act of 2017: Introduced by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.). Amends the Head Start Act to provide and allocate resources for training and technical assistance with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prioritize activities that: supports the implementation of evidence-based trauma-informed practices, age-appropriate behavioral supports, early childhood mental health consultation, and prevention of suspension and expulsion. It also asks to increase coordination between Head Start agencies and other programs serving very young children.
  • H.R. 1332: Early Childhood Nutrition Improvement Act: Introduced by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.). Amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve the child and adult care food program. This would eliminate the current distinction between institutions and sponsoring organizations including: child or day care institutions, or a family or group day care organization, and increases the maximum meal and supplement reimbursement amount for these institutions. Would also have USDA establish an advisory committee to examine the feasibility of reducing unnecessary or duplicative paperwork for those participating or wanting to participate in the program.

Federal Agency Updates:
New Policy Interpretation Questions on Background Checks: The Office of Child Care released guidance to States, Territories and Tribes on the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) for background check requirements. New requirements are below.

  • Clarifies the applicability of background check requirements, including making clear that checks are not required for staff of license-exempt, non-CCDF providers.
  • Describes state flexibility on how to proceed when all results are not received within 45 days.
  • Explains that the FBI fingerprint check satisfies the requirement for a state criminal records check in a state that participates in the National Fingerprint File program.
  • Clarifies that states have flexibility to determine which health and safety trainings are required prior to serving children unsupervised.

Early and Middle Childhood Goal Developed for Health People 2020: Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. This announcement builds up on previous work and research done within Healthy People 2010, now Healthy People 2020. After a better understanding through policy, research and practice it is understood while childhood health goals for Maternal, Infant and Child health is important, it is also important to incorporate middle childhood stages of development as well.

USDA Summer EBT Grants: Included New States and Rural Communities: USDA announced the award of $31.5 million in Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (Summer EBT) in several states including rural areas and tribal nations. The grants will help states and tribal nations explore how to help alleviate hunger for low-income children during summer months. The grants were awarded to nine states and tribal nations that had demonstration projects in 2016, including: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Virginia and the Chickasaw and Cherokee nations. Texas and Tennessee are starting new projects after participating in 2012. 

USDA Announced Farm to School Grant Awards; Projects Nationwide are Chosen: USDA awarded funding to 42 states and Puerto Rico, reaching more than 5,500 schools and 2 million students to support farm to school programming. This funding will help support a variety of activities including: training, planning and developing partnerships to create new school menu items, establish supply chains for local foods, plant school gardens, organize field trips. The grants range from $14,500 to $100,000 with a total of $5 million being awarded to schools, state agencies, tribal groups and nonprofit organizations working on farm to school planning. USDA received a total of 44 applications from state or local agencies and 17 state agencies will receive funding.

Access and read the latest Early Child Development Newsletter from ACF

Mark Your Calendar

2017 calendar in the shape of a circle


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, 2017 at the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, Calif. 



Four States Receive Grants to Improve Early-Childhood Workforce Conditions

Source: Ed Week | June 2017Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and New York each received $14,000 grants through a competitive process. The money will be awarded over two years through a grant from the Foundation for Childhood Development. Through these awards, the grant winner will be encouraged to come up with strategies that can be replicated in other states. Read the article

Nurse-Family Partnership: Parental Education and Early Health Result in Better Child Outcomes

Source: Heckman Equation | Summer 2017
Latest analysis from professor James Heckman and his colleagues about the Memphis Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program. Read the report.

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Policies Database

This new website The CCDF Policies Database is a single source of information on the detailed rules for States’ and Territories’ child care subsidy programs under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Key areas of policy covered by the database include family eligibility, application and redetermination, priorities and waiting lists, family payments, provider requirements, and reimbursement rates.


Exploring State Investments in Early Childhood Home Visiting

Source: National Home Visiting Resource Center | Aug. 2017
Read the blog.

An Unofficial Guide to the Why and How of State Early Childhood Data Systems

Source: The Ounce | Aug. 2017
Read the paper

Alabama Pilot Program Aims to Connect Learning From Pre-K Through 3rd Grade

Source: Education Week | Aug. 2017
Read the article.

CDC Grand Rounds: Addressing Health Disparities in Early Childhood

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | July 2017
Read the article

Pre-K Isn’t Just Academic

Source: U.S. News and World Report | July 2017
Read the article

Preventing Suspensions and Expulsions in Early Childhood Settings

Source: SRI International | Summer 2017
View the website and resources.

Using ESSA to Build a Birth-to-Third Grade Early Education Continuum

Source: National Institute for Early Education Research Blog | July 25, 2017
Read the blog post.

Half of America’s Childcare Workers Need Food Stamps, Welfare Payments or Medicaid

Source: Washington Post | July 11, 2017
Read the article.

Equity in Education: Key Questions to Consider

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

Directory of State Early Learning Contacts

Source: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) | June 2017
View the directory.  

Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization: A Guide for States

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and CLASP | June 2017
Read the updated report

Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow: The Business Case for High-Quality Childcare

Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Center for Education and Workforce | June 2017
Read the report and a blog post

QRIS 101: Fact Sheet

Source: Center for American Progress | May 2017
Read the fact sheet

Parent Engagement Practices Improve Outcomes for Preschool Children

Source: The Pennsylvania State University | Jan. 2017
Read the research brief

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