NCSL Early Care and Education Quarterly E-Update


Recent NCSL Early Care and Education Publications

NCSL’s Early Care and Education project periodically hosts webinars, creates new reports, new webpages and pens articles. Here are some of the recent products that might be helpful and relevant to the work you do. 

Updated Web Page | School Readiness and Transitions
This updated webpage is dedicated to understanding the importance of school readiness as it affects long-term achievement by highlighting prekindergarten access, funding, length-of-day, transitions to kindergarten and school discipline in an effort to help policymakers understand the breadth and depth of this issue and its implications.

Updated Web Page | Home Visiting: Improving Children’s Health and Well-being
Home visiting programs support women who are pregnant and new parents to promote infant and child health, foster educational development and school readiness, and help prevent child abuse and neglect. NCSL’s recently updated home visiting webpage is a one-stop shop for information on the topic, including:

  • What is home visiting?
  • What does the research say?
  • What is the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program?
  • What legislation has been passed since 2008?
  • What are the policy options for states?

Webinar | CCDBG: Opportunities and Challenges Created by Reauthorization
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is the major source of child care funding to states. The CCDBG was reauthorized by Congress in 2014 with the intent to improve the quality and effectiveness of child care systems to support children’s development and increase its ability to provide a valuable work support for low-income families. During this Nov. 15 webinar Rachel Schumacher, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care, discussed key components of the law and final rule, the timeline for effective dates, as well as important considerations for state legislators. 

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 other week, is made possible by the generous support of the Alliance for Early Success

More than 600 early education bills were introduced during the 2016 legislative session and more than 100 bills were enacted. A full report of all enacted 2016 legislation will be available shortly. 

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. 

2017 Introduced bills of note: 

Arizona HB 2288 | Representative Tony Rivero (R): Requires the department to provide child care assistance vouchers at a higher reimbursement rate for quality early childhood education to eligible children and families, including: foster families care for children in the custody of the state, children at risk for removal by the Department of Child Safety, children of families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and for families whose income is below 165 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Allows eligible providers to receive the voucher and be paid a rate equal to the lesser of the 75th percentile of the most recent market rate survey or the quality first scholarship rate if the provider is a Head Start grantee, received a 3- 5-star rating from the quality rating improvement system, or has a national accreditation from an organization that is recognized by the Department of Education.   

Connecticut HB 5197 | Representative Robert Sanchez (D): Requires the Office of Early Childhood to develop an early childhood educator compensation schedule for early childhood educators that ensures the retention and recruitment of qualified educators, secures a standard of living that meets such educators' needs and reflects the true costs associated with quality standards for early childhood care and education programs. 

Maryland SB 244 | Senator Barbara Robinson (D): Establishes the Task Force to Study Suspension Rates of African American Prekindergarten Students with the purpose to determine whether specified students are suspended at a higher rate than students of other races, determine the resources available to remedy suspensions of specified students, and to make recommendations to deter specified suspensions.  

Mississippi HB 161 | Representative Alyce Clarke (D): Creates the child care advisory council to advise the Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development on the development of the child care and development block grant state plan, provides the membership of the council and requires the council to submit a report of its findings to the legislature. 

Mississippi SB 2485 | Senator Brice Wiggins (R) and HB 1329 | Representative Becky Currie (R ): Establishes a children's cabinet to coordinate services for young children, prescribes the powers and duties of the children's cabinet, transfers the responsibilities of the state interagency coordinating council for the early intervention program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and the interagency coordinating council for children and youth to the children's cabinet, establishes the state early childhood advisory council and establishes the state interagency coordinating council. 

New York SB 2695 | Senator Kevin Parker (D): Establishes the Childcare and Early Education Sector on the Economy Act to study the economic impact on the state economy of quality childcare and early education programs for children aged 0-4, and afterschool programs for children aged 5-12.  

Oklahoma HB 1965 | Representative John Jordan (R): Requires the Department of Human Services to establish rules to modify the "Child Care Eligibility/Co-payment Chart" by increasing income eligibility limits and establishing a new copayment structure in a manner that will result in a longer-term phase-out of eligibility, so that increases in family income in low-income families will not result in the loss of the benefit and in a manner that will be revenue neutral for the department.  

Texas HB 674 | Representative Jarvis Johnson (D): Prohibits the out of school suspension for discipline of students younger than age six.  

Virginia HB 1536 | Delegate Richard Bell (R) and SB 997 | Senator Bill Stanley (R): Prohibits students in preschool through grade five from being suspended or expelled except for drug offenses, firearm offenses or certain criminal acts.

NCSL Offers Technical Assistance (TA), But What is TA?

young children looking at a book togetherNCSL technical assistance (TA) is designed in consultation with legislators and staff. NCSL staff can assist you with identifying state innovations, in asking the right questions to understand what would work best in your state or learning about what other states are doing. We have 50-state charts and maps to show the different policies across the country. We publish issue briefs and legislative summaries.   

We can travel to your state to help you solve the most pressing issues in early care and education by testifying before a committee or convening a meeting of stakeholders. We also provide opportunities for you to meet the experts in the field as well as opportunities to talk with your peers from across the country on how they tackled today’s tough issues in their legislatures. We host meetings and workshops, and convene teams of state leaders to spend a day or more diving deep into specific policy issues. Here are a few common examples:  

  • Presentations, informal briefings, and testimony before committees and hearings.
  • Written research and analyses. 
  • Assisting with drafting and reviewing legislation. 
  • Informal conference calls with legislators and legislative staff in other states to discuss their experiences with early childhood.

Be sure to call 303-364-7700 or email if you are interested in learning about how NCSL can help you and your state. 

Information Request of the Month: Suspension and Expulsion for Preschool Students

What are states doing in response to high incidences of suspensions and expulsions from early childhood programs, especially for minority and male children? 

Over the last few years states have introduced and enacted legislation dealing with the rising concern about suspension and expulsion of young children from early education programs. These bills deal specifically with prohibiting and/or limiting suspensions and expulsions and providing needed supports to children, parents and teachers. The bills, however, did not address issues regarding the racial and gender disparities that seem tied to the reasons for removing young children from early education programs. There is a body of research and that address racial and gender biases that contribute to higher suspension and expulsion rates for children of color and for boys. 

State Activity
Connecticut passed SB 1053 in 2015, which prohibits out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for student in preschool and grades kindergarten through second grade. 

In the same year, the District of Columbia passed a similar bill that prohibits the suspension or expulsion of a student of prekindergarten age from any publicly funded prekindergarten program. The bill includes a requirement for annual data reporting from local education agencies related to suspensions and expulsions. 

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education issued a report in 2014, Reducing Out-of-School Suspensions and Expulsions in District of Columbia Public Schools and Public Charter School. The report highlights findings and recommendations for eliminating out-of-school suspensions and expulsions and discusses the racial bias that exists for children who are most frequently suspended or expelled. 

During the 2016 legislative session, New Jersey passed SB 2081 that limits expulsions and suspensions for students in preschool through second grade. The New Jersey Department of Education, Early Childhood Education developed guidance on preschool student suspensions and expulsions. 

Colorado in 2016 created a task force to study and develop recommendations to address suspensions and expulsions of children under 8 years of age in public school programs. An article in Chalkbeat talks about some of Colorado’s work and plans for lawmakers to introduce legislation during this year’s session. Many of the policy ideas discussed within might be helpful as other states examine this issue.

 NCSL hosted a webinar Supporting Children’s Social and Emotional Needs and Reducing Early Childhood Expulsions in November 2016, and an archived copy of the presentation along with the slide deck is still available. 

The federal Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services offers many resources on the topic. And of particular interest might be the “State and Local Action to Prevent Expulsion and Suspension in Early Learning Settings” brief and webinar slide deck

The 2014 data snapshot from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights found that, nationally, black students make up 18 percent of the preschool population but 42 percent of those suspended once and 48 percent of those suspended multiple times. The same report found that boys make up 54 percent of the preschool population but 79 percent of those suspended once and 82 percent of those suspended multiple times. 

Additional related resources of interest

NCSL Capitol Forum | Child Care Policy Roundtable Wrap up

NCSL Capitol Forum Logo: includes photo of Capitol Building, Dec. 6-9 and Washington D.C.

During NCSL’s 2016 Capitol Forum, Dec. 6-9 in Washington, D.C., legislators and legislative staff tackled critical state-federal issues, gained insight from national experts and worked with committees to craft the States’ Agenda. View the searchable online agenda, to access session handouts and PowerPoint Presentations. 

During the Forum the Early Care and Education project staff hosted a Child Care and Infant and Toddler Policy Roundtable. Staff facilitated a robust policy conversation about infants, toddlers and child care gathering input from legislators and legislative staff on the issues. Some of the main topics covered, discussed and feedback provided included:

  • Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Reauthorization.
  • Supporting parents and other caregivers.
  • Improving child care program quality.
  • Evidence-based programs such as home visiting that serve children and families.
  • Budgeting and financing issues including leveraging public and private dollars. 

Read more about the roundtable in a NCSL blog post and access the PowerPoint Presentation online. 

Early Learning Fellows Program Continues in 2017

Blue wavy background with a dome and words early learning fellows It is with pleasure that NCSL announces another year of the Early Learning Fellows program. Beginning in 2011, approximately 150 legislators and legislative staff have participated in the Early Learning Fellows program. Participants, selected through a competitive application process, include those who are experienced or emerging leaders on early childhood and early learning issues. The program is geared toward those chairing or serving on human services, education or appropriations committees who want to expand their knowledge and learn from other legislators and experts from across the country. 

Annually, the program includes two face-to-face meetings and two webinars and aims to create a peer learning community. Some of the key components of the 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. 

The Early Learning Fellows kickoff meeting will take place in late June in Omaha, Neb. and a second meeting will be in mid-September in Denver, Colo. Additionally, two webinars will take place this summer. The process of selecting the 2017 Early Learning Fellows class will begin in March 2017. Visit our website for more information about the selection process or contact Alison May at or call 303-856-1473.

Infant and Toddler Project Gears Up

Nurse checking on infant that sits on mothers lapNCSL has embarked on a new birth-to-three policy project for state legislators funded by the JB and MK Pritzker Family Foundation. The goal of the project is to educate and engage legislators about the latest neuroscience and child development research and to explore policy options, evidence-based interventions and funding strategies that impact families and very young children. 

NCSL will host a birth-to-three national symposium for legislators May 22-24 in Denver, Colo. At the meeting attendees will hear from national researchers and policy experts. NCSL will host a webinar this spring highlighting the research tied to brain science and the importance of the early years. Early Care and Education staff have conducted a legislative focus group in Washington, D.C. in December 2016. The one-year long birth-to-three policy project will conclude with a legislative infant and toddler report. 

For more information, please contact Julie Poppe at or call 303-856-1497.

Federal Update and Resources

U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Award $247.4 million in Preschool Grants to 18 States
Former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. announced on Nov. 30, 2016 that 18 states will receive more than $247.4 million in awards under the Preschool Development Grant program to continue their work in expanding access to high-quality preschool for children from low- to moderate-income families. 

U.S. Department of Education Announces Six Promise Neighborhoods Winners
The U.S. Department of Education announced on Dec. 20, 2016 the six winners of the 2016 Promise Neighborhoods competition, which will award $33 million to help communities launch, scale and sustain educational supports and community-based services to meet the complex needs of children and families. All of the winners, California (two sites), Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have made specific commitments to early childhood education.

Mark Your Calendar

2017 calendar in the shape of a circleAnnual Legislative Summit
The NCSL 2017 Legislative Summit is the meeting where legislators and legislative staff come together to work on the nation's pressing issues, share experiences and influence federal policy. The 2017 Legislative Summit will be held Aug. 6-9 in Boston.




State Policy Update: November 2016

Source: The Ounce of Prevention Fund | Dec. 2016This semi-annual update asks states to look forward to the upcoming 2017 state legislative session and share policy priorities, political challenges and opportunities. It also provides an updated snapshot of what has recently happened in each state during the 2016 legislative sessions as of Oct. 2016. Read the report.

The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program

Source: Heckman Equation | Dec. 2016New research from Nobel Laureate economist James J. Heckman and colleagues finds that comprehensive birth-to-age-five early childhood programs can produce higher economic returns than those previously established for preschool programs serving 3- to 4-year-olds.The groundbreaking study shows that high quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children can deliver a 13 percent per child/per year return on investment through better outcomes in education, health, social behaviors and employment, reducing taxpayer costs down the line and preparing the country’s workforce for a competitive future. Read the new research.


High-quality, statewide preschool is possible–just look to Michigan

Source: Brookings the Brown Center Chalkboard | January 2017
Read the blog

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: Policies and Practices to Foster the Social-Emotional Development of Young Children

Source: Zero to Three | January 2017
Read the report.

Every Student Succeeds Act and Opportunities to Prioritize Early Learning Policy Goals 

Source: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) | January 2017
Read the updated version

CCDBG Participation Drops to Historic Low

Source: CLASP | January 2017
Read the fact sheet.

Fewer Children, Fewer Providers: Trends in CCDBG Participation

Source: CLASP | January 2017
Read the fact sheet.

An Infant-Toddler Agenda for the New Administration and Congress: Building Connections for Stronger Families, Communities and Our Country’s Future

Source: Zero to Three | December 2016 
Read the report.

Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2016

Source: Child Care Aware of America | December 2016
Read the report.

State(s) of Head Start

Source: National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) | December 2016
Read the report.

K-3 Policymakers’ Guide to Action: Making the early years count

Source: Education Commission of the States (ECS) | November 2016
Read the report.

The Integration of Early Childhood Data

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U. S. Department of Education | November 2016
Read the report.

Serving Immigrant Families Through Two-Generation Programs: Identifying Family Needs and Responsive Program Approaches

Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) | November 2016
Read the report.

Impact of North Carolina's Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School

Source: Duke Center for Child and Family Policy | November 2016
Read the article. Read a press release about the article. 

Giving Credit Where It’s Due: School Readiness Tax Credits Benefit Louisiana Families and Communities

Source: Louisiana Policy Institute for Children | October 2016
Read the report.

Slowly But Surely: How Indiana is Building a Pre-K Program

Source: New America | October 2016
Read the report.

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