NCSL Early Care and Education Winter 2018 E-Update


In This Issue

Recent NCSL Early Care and Education Publications 

NCSL’s Early Care and Education project, along with 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 your work.

LegisBrief | Legislative Children’s Caucuses
Due to an increased focus on children's first years, formation of legislative children’s caucuses is an emerging trend among state legislatures. The caucuses are intended to promote children’s issues and educate members and the public about the topic. A February 2018 LegisBrief examines legislative children's caucuses throughout the country and takes a deeper look at the Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus which began in Apr. 2016.

Archived Webinar | State Home Visiting: Enhancing Maternal and Child Health, Wellbeing and School Readiness
Access an archived copy of NCSL’s State Home Visiting: Enhancing Maternal and Child Health, Wellbeing and School Readiness from Nov. 30, 2017. During this 60-minute webinar attendees learned about the health, wellness and school readiness benefits of state home visiting programs; heard state examples of home visiting from Tennessee, Kentucky and New Mexico; learned about ways states fund and provide resources for home visiting and participated in a robust question and answer period with the four presenters.

Opioid Deep Dive Webpage
The opioid epidemic is so complex that it cannot be solved without an all-out effort by the health, criminal justice and human services agencies working together to find solutions. NCSL, mirroring state efforts, has compiled resources from these three policy areas on our new Opioid Deep Dive webpage.

A Fair Start: Ensuring All Students Are Ready to Learn
In 2016, NCSL formed the State Policy and Research for Early Education Working Group (SPREE) to develop a bipartisan framework to guide and assist state policymakers as they work toward the goal of ensuring that every child is ready to learn. The 16-person group (including state legislators, legislative staff and early learning experts) identified equity, high quality P-3 education, governance, community and family engagement, and educator development as five essential principles. Learn more about the principles in the working group’s report.

Magazine Article | Looking After the Little Ones
Children’s or kids’ legislative caucuses are bicameral, bipartisan groups of legislators and other stakeholders that work mainly to inform their colleagues about issues affecting children, though some also make policy recommendations. The oldest, Hawaii’s Keiki Caucus, formed in 1994, and the newest, formed recently in Maine. Learn more about these caucuses in a recent State Legislatures magazine article.

Meet the Children and Families New Group Director

Head shot of Wade FicklerWade Fickler joined the National Conference of State Legislatures as group director for the Children and Families program in Feb. 2018. His previous policy experience includes leadership positions with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Children’s Institute (Oregon) and City Club of Portland. His background also includes agency and in-house experience helping nonprofit, for-profit, and government entities achieve their goals through carefully crafted communications. As a Peace Corps volunteer, Fickler also contributed to grassroots efforts to establish democratic practices in Ukraine. Access information online to learn more about NCSL’s Children and Families program.  

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 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. A full report of all enacted 2017 legislation will be available this winter. Below is a sampling of 2018 introduced bills.

Introduced bills of note:
New Jersey SB 698 | Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D): Establishes the Department of Early Childhood.

New Jersey AB 1615 | Assemblymember Holly Schepisi (R): Creates a corporation business tax credit for day care center support benefiting children of employees.

New Mexico SJR 2 | Senator Michael Padilla (D): Proposes an amendment to the Constitution of New Mexico, subject to the approval of congress, to conditionally provide for an additional annual distribution of one and one-half percent of the land grant permanent funds, a portion of which shall be used for early childhood education services.

Ohio SB 246 | Senator Peggy Lehner (R) and Senator Gayle Manning (R): "SAFE Act" would revise the procedures for emergency removal of a student, to prohibit certain suspensions and expulsions of students in grades prekindergarten through three, to require each public school to implement a positive behavior intervention and supports framework in accordance with state standards, and to make an appropriation.

South Carolina SB 840 | Senator Scott Talley (R): Creates the Department of Early Development and Education and divides the department into the early health and wellness division and the early care and education division. Provides that the early health and wellness division shall administer the BabyNet program, the nurse family partnership program funded by the federal maternal and child health block grant program, and the women, infants, and children supplemental.

South Dakota SB 132 | Senator Billie H. Sutton (D) | Establishes the Early Learning Advisory Council.

Utah SB 161 | Senator Luz Excamilla (D) | Creates an evidence-based nurse home visiting pay-for-success program within the Department of Health. 

Virginia HB 873 | Representative Robert Orrock (R) | Extends from July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2020, the expiration date and contingency on the requirement that the following individuals undergo fingerprint-based national criminal history background checks: applicants for employment by, employees of, applicants to serve as volunteers with, and volunteers with any licensed family day system, or child care center exempt from licensure. 

How Can NCSL Help You?

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 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.

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: Workforce Education

How are states legislatively addressing workforce education, compensation and benefits issues?

Early Childhood Workforce Legislative Actions
During the 2017 session, eight states passed bills addressing the education, training and professional development of the early childhood workforce and staff qualifications. States included Colorado, Connecticut, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

During the 2016 session, a handful of states proposed workforce legislation that looked at workforce issues, including early childhood teacher compensation, professional development, wages and loan forgiveness. The Virginia legislature enacted HB 46 which establishes the School Readiness Committee with the goal of addressing the development and alignment of an effective professional development and credentialing system for the early childhood education workforce. Oklahoma’s HB 3136 was an attempt to establish the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential Assessment Scholarship, but it failed to pass.

In 2015, several states passed bills that addressed improving the quality of the early childhood workforce, including legislation that focused on wages, scholarships, and creating registries. 

During the 2015 legislative session Connecticut lawmakers passed HB 7020, an act concerning early childhood educators and initiatives. The bill allows early childhood education credits earned at an accredited out-of-state institutions of higher education to count toward staff qualifications for school readiness program staffing and requires collecting data to determine whether bachelor’s degree programs align with teacher preparation standards. It also requires the Office of Early Childhood to provide a plan for ways to increase the salaries or provide incentives for staff who already hold a bachelor's degree or otherwise meet the stricter qualifications.

Maryland SB 677 (2015) establishes the Professional Development for Teachers and Providers of Early Childhood Education—Master Plan. The bill requires the State Department of Education, in collaboration with the Maryland Higher Education Commission and representatives from institutions of higher education in the state that offer early childhood education programs, to develop a master plan to address the critical shortage of qualified professional teachers and child care providers in the early childhood education workforce.

Nebraska LB 525 (2015) creates the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System within the Department of Education. The bill establishes a database of Nebraska's early childhood education workforce, verifies educational degrees and professional credentials held, as well as relevant training completed by employees of participating applicable child care and early childhood education programs, and provides such information to the Department of Health and Human Services for use in evaluating applications to be rated at a level above step one. The bill also requires child care or early childhood education programs to report the educational degrees and professional credentials held and relevant training completed by its child care and early childhood education employees to the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System for the program to be eligible for a quality rating above step one.

Nevada passed SB 511 (2015), establishing the Teach Nevada Scholarship Program. The program provides scholarships to students pursuing teaching degrees at a university, college or other provider of an alternative licensure program. 

Wages and Compensation Resources
Wisconsin developed the REWARD program that awards incremental yearly salary supplements to early childhood professionals based on educational attainment and longevity in the field.

Development of articulation agreements between community colleges and institutions of higher education are another way states are working to improve retention of the early childhood workforce. The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood National Center developed a fact sheet that includes useful information about developing articulation agreements.

The Child Care WAGE$ project provides education-based salary supplements to low-paid teachers, directors and family child care providers. WAGE$ is an evidence-informed model that advances the education level of early educators, increases their compensation levels and results in the retention of a qualified early care and education workforce. The Child Care WAGE$ Project is offered throughout North Carolina as a funding collaboration between local Smart Start Partnerships and the Division of Child Development and Early Education. Counties that use Smart Start funding to support the Child Care WAGE$ Project may participate. 

Career Ladders and Professional Development Registries
Career Ladders can assist early care and education professionals in planning their training, education and career development goals. The ladder organizes coursework, credentials, degrees and licensure. A registry is an information system for the early childhood workforce. Currently,  42 states have registries according to the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. The registry promotes professional growth and development, captures data about early childhood practitioners, is based on state career-level systems that provide a framework for professional development, and collects data on verified educational information.

National Reports and Resources

Early Learning Fellows Program Continues in 2018

Blue wavy background with a dome and words early learning fellowsIt is with pleasure that NCSL announces another year of the Early Learning Fellows program. Since 2011, approximately 180 legislators and legislative staff have participated in NCSL’s 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 2018 Early Learning Fellows kickoff meeting will take place in early June in Denver, Colo. and a second meeting will be in late August in Minneapolis, Minn. Additionally, two webinars will take place this summer. The process of selecting the 2018 Early Learning Fellows class began in mid-February and is currently underway. Visit NCSL’s website for more information about the selection process or contact Alison May at or call 303-856-1473. 

Federal Update and Resources

Update on Major HHS Provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123), signed in February by President Donald Trump, extends government funding through March 23 and incorporates a variety of important health and human services provisions, including funding for state programs. The bill also appropriates $6 billion over two years to address the opioid crisis with a focus on mental health, parents whose children are at imminent risk of entering foster care, and babies born dependent on opioids.

  • New MIECHV Financing Model—The federal home visiting program, which expired in September, was reauthorized for five years at $400 million and includes a new financing model for states. The new model authorizes states to use up to 25 percent of their grant funds to enter into public-private partnerships called pay-for-success agreements. This financing model requires states to pay only if the private partner delivers improved outcomes. The bill also requires improved state-federal data exchange standards and statewide needs assessments.
  • Child Care and Development Block Grant—$2.85 billion per year for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 was approved for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. 

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. More information will be available in March 2018.

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. For more information, contact NCSL.


Resources of Interest

The State of America’s Children® 2017 Report

Source: Children’s Defense Fund | December 2017
This report provides a comprehensive look at the status of America’s children in 11 areas: child population, child poverty, income and wealth inequality, housing and homelessness, child hunger and nutrition, child health, early childhood, education, child welfare, juvenile justice and gun violence. Read the report

Investing Early: Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs

Source: Rand Corporation | November 2017
A new report from the RAND Corporation looks at 115 early childhood programs that have been rigorously evaluated. Programs included home visiting, parent education, early care and education, health related visits, and food and child care subsidies. RAND’s synthesis captured short- and long-term outcomes, including behavior and emotion; cognitive achievement; child health; developmental delay; child welfare; crime; educational attainment; and employment and earnings, family formation, and uses of social services in adulthood. Of the 115 programs the study found that 102 have favorable impacts on at least one child outcome. Most programs with benefit-cost analyses show positive returns and largely pay for themselves with a typical return on investment of $2 to $4 for every dollar spent. Read the report.  

Additional Resources

Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education

Source: The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine | February 2018
Read the report.

State-by-State Impact of Doubling CCDBG Funding in FY 2018

Source: CLASP | February 2018
Read the fact sheet.

How States Fund Pre-K: A Primer for Policymakers

Source: Education Commission of the States (ECS) | February 2018
Read the report.

A National Imperative: Joining Forces to Strengthen Human Services in America

Source: Alliance for Strong Families and Communities & American Public Human Services Association | 2018
Read the report

Building Core Capabilities for Life

Source: Center of the Developing Child at Harvard University | January 2018
View the video.

Data Supplement | 2017 Home Visiting Yearbook

Source: National Home Visiting Resource Center | January 2018
Read the report.

Early Care and Education Policies and Programs to Support Healthy Eating and Physical Activity: Best Practices and Changes Over Time

Source: Healthy Eating Research | December 2017
Read the report.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Toolkit

Source: National Head Start Association (NHSA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) | December 2017
Access the toolkit.

The State of Early Learning in ESSA: Plans and Opportunities for Implementation

Source: Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) | December 2017
Read the policy brief

Promoting Family Engagement in Home Visiting: An Overview of Innovative Efforts

Source: National Home Visiting Resource Center | December 2017
Read the brief

How Common Are Nonstandard Work Schedules Among Low Income Hispanic Parents of Young Children? 

Source: National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families | November 2017
Read the brief

State by State: The Early Childhood Landscape

Source: The Hunt Institute | 2017
View the state by state briefings

View the Winter 2018 e-update as a PDF