Early Care and Education E-Update, April 2011

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NCSL Home Visiting Resources

The federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program will appropriate $1.5 billion over five years for states to develop a coordinated system of high quality, evidence-based early childhood home visiting programs.  This new federal investment provides states with opportunities to strengthen and expand their programs, and also presents challenges in meeting federal guidelines and allocating funds.   To learn more about the federal initiative and its impact on state home visiting programs,  visit NCSL’s home visiting web page where you can find links to new NCSL web resources, including a webinar, a home visiting alert and links to state home visiting data and resources.
Webinar.  NCSL hosted a 60 minute webinar, “What Legislators Need to Know About New Federal Home Visiting Funding” on April 1, 2011, available online here. The web briefing described the current landscape of state home visiting programs, identified steps that states are taking right now to update their state plans and apply for funding, and highlighted ways that state policymakers can get involved as their state makes important decisions about where and how to allocate home visiting resources.  The webinar features presentations by NCSL and the Pew Center on the States and Representative Ruth Kagi who highlighted Washington’s home visiting strategies.  In response to the approaching deadline for submitting state home visiting plans, NCSL’s Jack Tweedie highlighted key policy questions and options for legislator participation in the state planning and implementation process. 

Home Visiting Alert.  NCSL has summarized several key components of the federal home visiting initiative in a Home Visiting Alert.   In addition to providing background on home visiting and the research on effectiveness of home visiting programs, the Alert summarizes the federal home visiting initiative, funding levels for states, important timeline for states and steps that states must take to qualify for federal home visiting funds. The Alert also identifies Key Questions that state legislators can ask about their states’ home visiting programs.  To view please visit.
Home Visiting Research and Technical Assistance.  NCSL staff members are available to provide additional research and technical assistance.  For more information, contact Jack Tweedie or Steffanie Clothier.

Other Home Visiting Resources.  ZERO TO THREE’s new Home Visiting Community Planning Tool guides communities through the process of developing home visiting services that meet their specific needs.  The tool is intended to help communities assess current services and identify assets and service gaps and select an evidence-based program model that meets the community needs.  The Planning Tool is available on the ZERO TO THREE website by clicking here.



Coming Soon:  Early Care and Education State Budget Actions 2011 Report and Online Map
NCSL’s release of the Early Care and Education State Budget Actions FY 2011 report will be coming in the next few weeks.  According to survey findings, funding for early care and education across the four areas surveyed remained stable with a slight increase.  The report is an annual survey of state fiscal decisions in early care and education policy and programs, including child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other related early childhood programs. The report tracks and analyzes trends in state decisions, particularly aiming to capture state funding choices in these areas.  In addition to the report, we are also completing an interactive map and 50-state profiles of data from FY 2008 to FY 2011 with state by state and program by program information.  These will be released soon, so look to our website for more information.    

Data for Action: ECDC’s State Analysis of Early Care and Education
The Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) conducted a webcast on March 10, 2011 to highlight the results of its 50-state survey of coordinated early care and education data systems.  The survey revealed that states collect a wealth of early childhood data, but the data is largely siloed by funding stream and most states are unable to answer basic policy questions about individual child experiences.  NCSL has partnered with six other organizations to provide a national forum to support state policymakers in the development and use of coordinated state early childhood data systems and to improve the quality of early childhood programs and the workforce, increase access to high-quality programs and improve child outcomes.  ECDC is supported through funding from the Birth to Five Policy Alliance, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.   For more information about the ECDC’s national survey results, visit here.  The webcast is now available in the spotlight section of the The Early Childhood DATA Collaborative website, or link to it directly at by clicking here

Building a Strong Infant-Toddler Workforce
The 2010 policy brief Toward a Bright Future for Our Youngest Children: Building a Strong Infant-Toddler Workforce focuses on strengthening systems that support professional development for the infant-toddler workforce.  The authors make ten recommendations aimed at achieving comprehensive, integrated professional development systems for those who work with infants and toddlers.  The brief is available on the ZERO TO THREE website

Promising State Child Care Quality and Infant/Toddler Initiatives
The April 2011 publication, Promising State Child Care Quality and Infant/Toddler Initiatives provides a snapshot of state child care quality improvement initiatives.  These initiatives were gathered through a nationwide survey of child care administrators to identify their state’s most promising quality and infant/toddler initiatives.  The report is available here.

Closing the Vocabulary Gap in Chicago Pre-K
Children raised in poverty typically enter kindergarten less prepared than their middle-income peers and often never catch up. Preschool: Closing the Vocabulary Gap, featured on PBS NewsHour on April 5, 2011 examines how educators in Chicago preschools are helping children in poverty overcome the achievement gap. The PBS NewsHour segment is available here.

Other New Resources Available through the Birth to Five Policy Alliance Website
The Birth to Five Policy Alliance website highlights several recent publications related to early care and education.

  • The 2011 report entitled Long Reach of Early Childhood Poverty discusses research on the long-term impact of childhood poverty on adult outcomes, as well as targeted policy approaches that focus on mitigating the impact of poverty. 
  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)’s 2011 report entitled State Early Care and Education Public Policy Developments summarizes policy actions in various areas, including state early childhood advisory councils, governance, professional development, prekindergarten and other areas.


NCSL tracks child care and early education legislation.  Some examples of recently enacted and pending legislation are summarized below.  For more information, visit NCSL’s legislative database here:
Arkansas Act No. 1130, enacted in April 2011, requires the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education to assess all state-funded early childhood programs based on nationally recognized standards.  Assessments can include various components, such as adult-to-child ratios, health and safety conditions, staff training and education, and curriculum and family involvement.  The Division will submit annual reports related to these assessments to the Governor and Senate and House Committee on Education annually.
Colorado HB 1027, signed by the Governor in March 2011, establishes the Department of Defense Quality Child Care Standards Pilot Program.  The legislation permits military families to use federal child care subsidies for off-base child care in facilities that meet federal Department of Defense quality standards.
Connecticut Senate Bill 1106would create the Department of Early Education and Child Development which would be responsible for overseeing all state early childhood education and child care programs.  In addition, the bill provides a collective bargaining process for family child care providers.
Iowa House File 535 would establish a preschool scholarship program for four year old children and repeal the voluntary preschool program and associated funding.
Massachusetts House Bill 1853 would establish the Massachusetts Early Reading Council with the goal of enhancing literacy and language development and achieving reading proficiency for all students by the end of third grade.  The 17-member council would be charged with advising the secretary of education and the commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care about programs and services aimed at enhancing literacy from birth through third grade.
New Mexico’s Early Childhood Care and Education Act (Chapter 123) creates a State Early Learning Advisory Council to lead the development of a high-quality, comprehensive early childhood development system and care.  Among its duties, the Council will make recommendations about how to “coordinate and align an early childhood care and education system to include child care, pre-kindergarten, home visitation, early head start, head start, early childhood special education, early intervention and family support.”
Pending legislation in Tennessee (HB 1213 / SB 0909) would require the Department of Health to ensure that 50 percent of home visiting funds be used on evidence-based programs for fiscal year 2011-12 and increases the percentage to 75 percent in subsequent years.  In addition, the legislation specifies research methods that demonstrate a program is evidence based.


NCSL is Available to Your Committee 

NCSL is available to come to your committee to talk about trends and policy ideas on early childhood development and early learning.   Please contact us if you would like us to update your committee, provide an orientation to the issues, or help you think through next steps for your state.  NCSL has a limited amount of grant funds that can pay for travel to your state.  For more information, please contact Steffanie Clothier or call (303)856-1416. 

Outside links are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by NCSL.

This e-update is made possible by the generous support of the Birth to Five Policy Alliance. This e-update is an informational service for state legislators and legislative staff who are part of NCSL's Child Care and Early Education Legislative Network. Contact Alison May for more information, (303) 856-1473 or to offer information from your state.  You may also request to subscribe or unsubscribe by emailing