Early Care and Education E-Update, July 2011

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On July 8th NCSL and the Pew Center on the States convened a meeting in Denver, Colorado of NCSL’s Home Visiting Advisory Group to discuss the new federal home visiting grant opportunity called the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program.  This federal funding opportunity allows states to expand and/or implement evidence based home visiting models which meet federally approved standards.  The July meeting was attended by legislators and legislative staff from Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Washington interested in helping their states make the most of this new funding opportunity to increase home visiting capacities.

Legislators and legislative staff had the opportunity for a question and answer session with the executive directors of Invest in Kids and the Colorado Parent and Child Foundation.  This panel discussion helped answer questions ranging from how to make efficient use of funding, how to increase program accessibility and how to develop programs’ workforce, and possible challenges to implementing the federal MIECHV requirements.  Legislators and legislative staff had the opportunity to discuss their state’s current home visiting capacities and how their state may use this new federal opportunity.

Attendees discussed ways to help NCSL develop a successful and helpful guide for legislators to implement home visiting programs which meet federal standards.  Legislators provided valuable feedback about how to make a policy guide which can be used by their colleagues to develop future legislation.  NCSL  will take what was learned from the meeting to develop the guide which will be published early fall.

For more information about the meeting or how we can help you, contact Steffanie Clothier.   NCSL staff members have been reviewing state plans and needs assessments and could help you in your state efforts.



Cowboy Boots - logo for San Antonio 2011 Legislative SummitNCSL Legislative Summit 2011
San Antonio, Texas
August 8-11


The NCSL Legislative Summit is the largest and most important meeting of the year for legislators and legislative staff.  The meeting offers terrific policy and research content covering the important topics of the day.  If you haven’t registered, you can. Register now!  See below for more information on this year’s early care and education sessions.

Home Visiting:  Strengthening Supports to Parents and Young Children
Monday, August 8th, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm, CC 007B, River Level

The federal home visiting initiative provides $1.5 billion to states to provide evidence-based home visiting to parents and young children designed to improve children’s health and development outcomes.  State planning can also focus on how to strengthen existing state home visiting programs.

Speakers:        Steffanie Clothier, Project Director, NCSL
                        Senator Kevin Bacon, Ohio
                        Representative Mark McCullough, Oklahoma
                        Libby Dogget, Pew Center for the States, Washington, DC

Human Services and Welfare Committee Luncheon - Birth to Grade 3:  Connecting Early Childhood to the Early Grades
Tuesday, August 9th, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm, CC007B, River Level

Research indicates that third grade is a strong predictor for future academic achievement and graduation success.  Learn how efforst to connect early childhood to early grades in school can have a lasting effect on academic achievement.

Speakers:      Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento
                      Patricia Kempthorne, Twiga Foundation, Idaho


In July, the Obama Administration published draft guidance for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.  Similar to the first round of Race to the Top funding, the Early Learning Challenge is a competitive grant opportunity and this one is specifically focused on early learning.  The grant criteria calls on states to develop comprehensive and quality early education services that focus on producing successful outcomes for children.  Jointly administered by the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services, the Early Learning Challenge supports state efforts to:

  • Increase both the number and percentage of low-income children in quality early learning programs
  • Design and implement integrated system of early learning programs and services
  • Use assessment tools that match recommendations from the National Research Council's report on early childhood

Awards will be based on state populations and will range from $50 to 100 million.  As well, grantees are expected to track child development outcomes and publicly document successful programs.  As of today, at least 36 states and D.C. have shown intent to apply.  The Obama Administration will finalize the grant application at the end of summer and will designate grantees before December 31, 2011.



Early Care and Education State Budget Actions 2011 Highlights and Online Map
NCSL’s  Early Care and Education State Budget Actions FY 2011 online resource is now available.   The resource includes research highlights, interactive map, specific state and category information and 50-state profiles of date from FY 2008 to FY 2011.  Looking at the change in appropriations from FY 2010 to FY 2011, program funding was generally stable, with increases in prekindergarten, home visiting and other early childhood initiatives and a 2 percent decrease to child care. The analysis is based on a 50 state survey of decisions made in child care subsidy programs, state prekindergarten programs, home visiting funding, and appropriations to any other early childhood initiatives that states identified.

Improving State Child Care and Dependent Care Tax Provisions
The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) published a report titled “2011 Making Care Less Taxing: Improving State Child and Dependent Care Tax Provisions” in April assessing states’ child and dependent care tax policies.  NWLC developed recommendations for the best income tax provisions through a grading system based on twelve variables which either gain or lose points towards a states’ overall grade.  New York received the highest grade, an A-, while fourteen states received an F for their child and dependent care tax provisions.  The brief is available on NWLC’s website or by clicking here.

Online Resources on Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) provided various helpful resources which can help inform state applications for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.  One report, titled “Building Comprehensive State Systems for Vulnerable Babies” describes steps to build a coordinated system to deliver quality support to vulnerable infants/toddlers and families.  CLASP suggests states use the Early Head Start model and existing state capacities to begin building comprehensive systems.  Through linking existing programs in early education and development, child mental and physical health and family partnerships and economic supports, states can begin forging cross program coordination for an inclusive system.  The online resource is available by clicking here.

Linking Home-Based Child Care and Preschool
In May 2011 the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) produced a study titled “Linking Home-Based Child Care and State-Funded Preschool” focusing on Illinois’s state funded preschool program.  The study examined children enrolled in the Community Connections program which increases accessibility to state funded preschool for children enrolled in family child care homes.  Community Connections provides half day sessions four days a week for 3-4 year olds in home based care and on the fifth day teachers visit child care providers and deliver books along with other education materials.  The study surveyed parents whose children were enrolled in Community Connections one year after initially starting the program.  Findings suggest home child care providers were able to better engage in activities with children and children were highly engaged with the caregiver and education materials.   To access the study, visit NCCP’s website or click here.  

Long-Term Benefits of Preschool
A study for Science Magazine shows the long term benefits of attending preschool.  The study tracked children who attended Chicago’s Child-Parent Center Education Program over the course of twenty-five years.  The Child-Parent Education program provides intensive preschool, parent training and continued support for children through 3rd grade.  Results showed students who attended the preschool program, now 28 years old, had higher educational attainment, were less likely to commit crimes and held better jobs compared to those who were not enrolled in the program.  View the report by clicking here.


NCSL tracks child care and early education legislation.  Some examples of 2011 enacted legislation are summarized below.  For more information, visit NCSL’s legislative database here:

Arkansas Act No. 982 allows money collected from the state tax on alcoholic beverages to be used to fund subsidized child care for low-income families, the Arkansas Better Chance Program, and the Child Care Development Fund.

Connecticut Act No. 11-54, signed by the governor on June 30th, requires the Department of Education to be the lead agency to develop school readiness standards.  As well, the measure outlines requirements for early childhood education programs to receive state funds.  These require at least 50 percent of individuals working at programs to hold certification with an early childhood education or a bachelor’s degree with concentration in early education.  By 2020, 100 percent of the workforce is required to have certification.

Florida Chapter No.2011-157 transfers the Office of Early Learning to the state Department of Education.  The law also requires the Department of Health to consult with the Department of Early Learning to screen all newborns in the state for potential developmental delay and environmental risk factors as well as create a data system to track these indicators.

Maine Chapter No. 77 requires the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a comprehensive home visiting plan for the next three years.  The plan must include an emphasis on providing services for vulnerable families in at-risk communities and reflect an emphasis on proven strategies to improve early childhood health.

Nevada Chapter No. 98 requires employees of child care centers to complete at least 15 hours of training each year, with at least 2 hours devoted to training in wellness, health and safety of children relating to childhood obesity, nutrition and physical activity.

Oklahoma Chapter No. 182 creates the state’s P-20 Council Task force to study the feasibility, value and structure of a P-20 council or educational partnership that assure a seamless system of education that maximizes achievements of all students from early childhood through postsecondary education.

Oregon Chapter No. 519 creates the Oregon Education Investment Board to make a unified public education system beginning with early childhood services and continuing through post-secondary education.  The bill also establishes the Early Learning Council to help align early childhood services.

Washington Chapter No. 32 calls for collaboration between the Departments of Social and Health Services and Early Learning to participate in developing a nongovernmental private-public initiative focused on coordinating government and philanthropic organizations’ investments in the positive development of children.



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 alison.may@ncsl.org.