Early Care and Education E-Update, Spring 2013

Child Care & Early Education Legislative Network E-Update banner






Resources of Interest

View previous editions of this publication


Boy with lettered blocksThe Early Care and Education project is housed within NCSL’s Children and Families Program. Our staff conducts 50-state bipartisan research and policy analysis, tracks legislation, prepares policy reports, testifies before legislative bodies, conducts in-state consultation and technical assistance and supports state legislators in their efforts to implement innovative state policies and programs to improve the outcomes of young children. If you, or your state, are in need of presentations, informal briefings and testimony before committees and hearings, written research and analyses, or conference calls with legislators and legislative staff in other states to discuss their experience with early care and early education please contact us by email.

The Early Care and Education project policy areas of focus include:  •Brian Science & Research •Early Childhood Literacy •Prekindergarten/School Readiness •Kindergarten Readiness Assessments •Child Care (subsidy, access, & quality) •Funding & Financing •Home Visiting •Early Intervention/Infants & Toddlers •Early Childhood Workforce •Early Childhood Data Systems •Governance •Tax Incentives


NCSL Early Learning Fellows logoThirty-five state legislators and legislative staff from 26 states and Puerto Rico were recently selected as NCSL’s Early Learning Fellows for 2013. A successful Early Learning Fellows kickoff meeting was held May 1 and 2 during NCSL’s 2013 Spring Forum in Denver. The program, in its second year, exposes fellows to the latest research and state policy ideas during a year-long series of webinars and meetings on how best to make sure young children get a positive start in life. In addition to hearing the latest information about the current brain research and exploring new research and policy ideas at the May meeting, the fellows learned about evidence-based programs and strategized about federal initiatives.

Fellows were nominated by state leadership and selected based on their interest and commitment to a wide range of education, health, human services, state budget and other issues as they relate to early learning. Two webinars will be conducted over the summer and a final meeting focusing on best practices and the latest science will be held in December as part of NCSL’s Fall Forum in Washington, D.C. The fellows program is funded by a grant from the Alliance for Early Success. For more information, please visit www.ncsl.org/fellows.


Home Visiting at the 2013 Early Learning Fellows kick off, NCSL 2013 Spring Forum
During the 2013 Early Learning Fellows kick off meeting, participants had an opportunity to hear about the latest trends in state implementation of home visiting from a representative from New Mexico and staff from the Pew Center for the States Home Visiting Campaign. Topics of discussion included:

  •  Accountability of programs to children and families as well as taxpayers.
  •  Differences between nationally recognized evidence-based programs and state or locally developed programs.
  • Innovative and effective strategies to address geographic and population needs.
  • Entry point for families:  What can lawmakers do to ensure the system catches as many at-risk families as possible.
  • The role of state legislatures in program evaluation, funding and oversight.

For more information about home visiting state actions (including recently enacted home visiting legislation) and how state legislators can play a role, please contact Robyn Lipkowitz  by email or call 303-856-1420, or Phuonglan Nguyen by email or call 303-856-1582).

New NCSL Home Visiting Webpage and Video
Need a quick review of the federal home visiting initiative and what it means for states? Visit the new webpage and go here for a 5-minute video by Jack Tweedie, group director of the NCSL Children and Families Program.
New Home Visiting Research Studies
A recently released body of commissioned research shows that certain “well-designed, voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs have been shown to improve the lives and prospects of children and families and to yield positive returns on taxpayer investments.” However, when it comes to ensuring the most effective programs and outcomes, it is more important to consider “what works for whom under what circumstance?”

The research brief—Expanding Home Visiting Research: New Measures of Successhighlights findings from 11 research studies and discusses how the interaction between program quality and target populations can make a difference. For more information on the recently released Pew Home Visiting Campaign commissioned research studies, please go here.

Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation (MIHOPE)
MIHOPE (Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation) is a legislatively mandated national evaluation of the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. The goal of MIHOPE is to systematically answer questions about how, why, and for whom home visiting programs work, as they are operated by states under the MIECHV umbrella and through a random assignment research design.
Map showing current and emerging MIHOPE SitesAll states receiving MIECHV funding are required to participate in MIHOPE.  However, the research team is working closely with 12 selected states—Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (phase I) and California, Georgia, Kansas, Oregon, and Washington (phase II). To learn more about how states were selected, go here.

Preliminary findings of MIHOPE will be available in mid- to late-2013, followed by a Report to Congress in 2015 and results of MIECHV impacts in 2017.To stay informed of project progress, milestones and related information sign up for MIHOPE Updates. A one-page project description is also available here.

2013 Selected Home Visiting Enacted Legislation (as of June, 2013)
Read through 2013 Home Visiting Enacted Legislation from the following states:  Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Washington by clicking here. For all home visiting enacted legislation (going back to 2008), visit the database.

Map from MDRC.org


NCSL’s Spring Forum, held May 2-4, 2013, in Denver was a wonderful succes. The meeting provided legislators and legislative staff the opportunity to meet colleagues from across the country, share ideas, talk with experts and discover state policy solutions. This year’s Early Care and Education session took place on Friday, May 3, when a group of legislators and legislative staff traveled to Educare Denver, a nationally recognized early childhood education program for a tour. The tour lasted about 90  minutes and gave legislators the opportunity to see an example of high quality care. There was plenty of time for questions and answer and attendee feedback was very positive.

Legislative Summit BannerMark your calendar and plan to join us Aug. 12-15, 2013, in Atlanta for NCSL’s largest and most important event, the Annual Legislative Summit. Over these four days—with opportunities that will bring you to new heights in your legislative career—you will go from good to great. Register now! See below for more information on this year’s exciting Early Care and Education sessions.   

  • Aug. 13: Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, will be speaking about recent advances in neuroscience, molecular biology and genomics that now help us better understand why healthy development in the early years provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity and lifelong health. There will be a discussion of policy implications across many sectors including early education/education, child welfare, family support and health.

  • Aug. 14: In collaboration with Educare of Atlanta center, we will host a site visit to this nationally recognized school. Educare Atlanta is  operated by Sheltering Arms Early Education & Family Centers, in partnership with The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Atlanta Public Schools. The center opened in 2010 on the first floor of Dunbar Elementary School and has already achieved remarkable results in preparing children for school success, thanks to innovative alignment of curriculum and teacher training for infants through fifth graders and a dual-generation approach to services that build strong families. After its first full year of operation, the percentage of incoming kindergarteners reading at or above grade level increased from 6 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2011. Educare of Atlanta serves 194 children from birth to age 5.


On May 16, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) released proposed revisions to the Child Care and Development Fund regulations that will have an impact on the $5 billion Child Care and Development Block Grant to states. The 75-day comment period ends on Aug. 5, 2013, 11:59 p.m. NCSL is interested in your insights and concerns over implementation and identification of potential unintended consequences. Please let us know which provisions work well or enhance your current state efforts. NCSL anticipates officially commenting on this proposed rule and we are asking you to assist in informing these comments. We also encourage you to talk with your state agency officials about how these changes may impact your state. Email your comments to Sheri Steisel, NCSL senior federal affairs counsel and human services policy director, or call her at 202-624-5400.

CCDF Priority Areas of Proposed Rules and Citation:  Code of Federal Regulations Title 45 Part 98
  1. Health and safety (§ 98.16 (v), § 98.32, § 98.41 (a))

  • Fire, health and building codes; background checks, staff training, onsite monitoring and unannounced site visits, annual assessment of serious injuries and death;
  1. Family-friendly practices (§ 98.20, § 98.42)
  • Eligibility determination, family copays, comprehensive services based on child developmental needs and parental needs for work or training, protective services eligibility;
  1. Quality improvement (§ 98.33, § 98.43, § 98.50, § 98.51)
  • Early learning guidelines, quality improvement systems, professional development, annual reporting of quality, payment rates based on quality, alternative methodology for rate setting, consumer education and transparency regarding provider quality;
  1. Program integrity (§ 98.16, § 98.60, § 98.68 (new), § 98.102)
  • Internal controls, risk management, fraud, eligibility and error rate reviews and documentation;
  1. Tribal provisions (immunizations, quality set-asides, certificate exemption for small tribes, base funding amounts, consultation in July 2013).

Additional Information:
HHS Press Release (May 16, 2013)
Frequently Asked Questions
Review the proposed rule
Comment on the regulation


Preliminary findings from a NCSL survey of 21 state legislative fiscal offices in December 2012 indicate that in FY 2013 overall state appropriations for early care and education increased by 1.7 percent ($146.5 million). Home visiting state appropriations increased by 16.8 percent ($48.8 million) with 14 states reporting increases, four states reporting decreases and three  states reporting level amounts. Prekindergarten appropriations increased by 2.8 percent ($65.5 million) with 10 states reporting increases, five states reporting declines and three states reporting no change. Child care appropriations decreased by $40 million (less than 1 percent) with 12 states reporting increases, seven reporting reductions and one state that maintained level funding. State appropriations for other early childhood learning and care initiatives increased by 9.6 percent ($72million) between FY 2012 and FY 2013. These initiatives include state-funded Head Start, early childhood social, emotional and mental health public-private partnerships, early intervention and infant and toddler programs. Twelve states increased appropriations for these initiatives, five states decreased them and two states maintained the same level of funding.

The full report, with state-by-state tables, will be available this summer. Previous years’ state survey results are available here. For more information about states’ budget and appropriations in early education, please contact Phuonglan Nguyen or Julie Poppe.


Effective collection and use of early childhood data can play a critical role in informing state legislators and other stakeholders on strategies to prepare young children for school success.  State databases that collect information about subsidized child care, licensing standards, and state-funded prekindergarten (among others), are often housed in separate systems across different state agencies. As a result, basic information on programs can often be fragmented and insufficient to inform policy or practice.

In 2013, the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC), of which NCSL is a partner, is conducting a 50-state survey to assess how states are linking child-level data across ECE programs, to the K-12 education system, and to social services and health systems.  

The survey—scheduled for release in fall 2013—also asks how states govern their ECE data systems (e.g. data policies, processes, and management) and includes a question on states’ collection of child screening and assessment data.

For more information about the survey, early childhood data systems and how state legislators can play a role, email Phuonglan Nguyen or call 303-856-1582).

Additional Resources:

  • How Data Play a Role in Early Childhood Education. NCSL LegisBrief, March 2012. More
  • Developing Coordinated Longitudinal Early Childhood Data Systems: Trends and Opportunities in Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Applications. ECDC, September 2012. More
  • 10 Fundamentals of Coordinated State Early Care and Education Data Systems: Inaugural State Analysis. Early Childhood Data Collaborative, August 2010. More


Nineteen states (and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) are in regular session as of June 4, 2013. Twenty-nine states have adjourned the 2013 session and 11 more states will adjourn by the end of June 2013. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will have held regular sessions in 2013.

As of June 4, 2013, 49, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have introduced more than 600 bills on early care and education issues. Of those, 97 bills have been enacted in 26 states. In 10 states and Puerto Rico, legislators also adopted or enacted  17 resolutions or other legislative acts. More than 370 bills are pending action or will be laid over in the next session. Overview of Enacted Legislation:

  • Child care and child care quality: 35 bills in 16 states
    • Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia.
  • Financing and funding: 25 bills in 13 states
    • Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Virginia and Washington.
  • Comprehensive early childhood systems and governance: 17 bills in 10 states
    • Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma and Washington.
  • Prekindergarten: 28 bills in 18 states
    • Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
  • Home visiting and other birth-to-three issues: 18 bills in 10 states
    • Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and Washington
  • Other topics:
    • ECE workforce (Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada and Oregon), tax incentive (Indiana)

For more details or to track state legislation from the 2008 through 2013 sessions by state, topic, bill number, author or bill status, click here.    

The 2013 NCSL Report on Early Care and Education Legislative Action will be available in October 2013.  Click here to view the 2012 report.



  • Overcoming Impact of Adversity of Learning

Source:  Edweek.org - January 2013
Poverty, neglect, or family stress can make it especially difficult for young children to develop the self-discipline and habits of mind they will need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Read the full article.

  • Report Demonstrates Continuing Value of Preschool for New Jersey's Poorest Kids

Source:  NJ Spotlight – March 2013
Seven-year study puts pre-K students as much as three-quarters of academic year ahead of classmates. More evidence of the lasting effects of high quality preschool. Read the full article.

  • Tomorrow’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Workforce Starts with Early Education

Source: ReadyNation – March 2013
To keep our STEM workforce competitive, we need to develop the young learners who will start the innovative companies and make the scientific breakthroughs that our country needs.  Read the full brief.

  • The State of Preschool 2012

Source:  National Institute for Early Education Research – April 2013
The 2011-2012 school year was the worst in a decade for progress in access to high-quality pre-K for America’s children with state funding for pre-K decreased by over half a billion dollars during that time frame.  Read the full report.

  • Early Childhood State Advisory Councils:  Status Report

Source: Administration for Children & Families - April 2013
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) recently released a status report on the Early Childhood State Advisory Councils. The report offers background on the SAC grant, highlights some examples of how states have made progress across the seven required activities, provides examples of states going beyond the grant requirements, and offers individual state and territory profiles.  Red the full report.

  • Nurturing Change:  State Strategies for Improving Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Source:  ZERO TO THREE – April 2013
The six states profiled in this paper – Wisconsin, California, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, and Louisiana – offer compelling and varied examples of successful work in I-ECMH. The paper also provides recommendations for nurturing change in state I-ECMH supports and services, as well as strategic questions for states to consider in planning for I-ECMH. Read the full paper.

  • We Can Do Better Report Child Care Aware of America’s Ranking of State Child Care Center Regulations and Oversight, 2013 Update

Source: Child Care Aware of America – Spring 2013
Nearly 11 million children younger than age 5 spend an average of 35 hours a week in some type of child care setting.  This report marks the seventh year that Child Care Aware® of America has undertaken a review of state child care program requirements and oversight. Read the full report. Read specific sections of the report.

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 Alliance for Early Success. 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, if you are a legislator or legislative staff or unsubscribe by emailing Alison.May@ncsl.org