This act would expand eligibility to the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) by establishing a pilot program which would provide low-income families with high quality early learning opportunities modeled after early head start programs for their children from birth to 3 years of age.
This pilot program would be state-funded and eligible for children under 36 months old, with a commencement date of July 1st, 2019 and ending on June 30th, 2022.
SB 5437 requires the Department to:
- Consider early head start rules and regulations when developing provider, family eligibility, and program requirements;
- Offer home visiting services that the child or family are eligible for under the home visiting service’s statutory eligibility requirements, and must include at least 3 home visits per year if eligible;
- Ensure the pilot program meets minimum licensing standards, be enrolled in Early Achievers, and have an Early Achievers rating of at least 4 while providing a minimum of 1,380 annual hours of classroom operations; and
- Select up to 10 pilot project locations during the first year of the project.
Furthermore, eligibility requirements would include:
- For the child to be under 36 months old; and
- For the child’s family income to range from 110%-200% of the federal poverty level.
SB 5437 also requires for the Department to conduct evaluations of quality and performance measures, starting with an annual report beginning on November 1st, 2019, and with a final report being submitted by November 1st, 2023.
*Companion to HB 1351*
Updated on 4.12.19:
- Made changes to the birth-to-three ECEAP pilot.
- Changes the definition of "eligible child" for the purposes of ECEAP by bifurcating into children entitled to enroll in ECEAP and children allowed to enroll in ECEAP.
- Expands the group entitled to enroll in ECEAP to include a family income at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level instead of 110 percent.
- Limits children who are allowed to enroll in ECEAP to families with income greater than 130 percent of the federal poverty level but less than 200 percent and allows enrollment, as space is available, according to a system of risk factors and priority points.
- Now directs DCYF to develop recommendations related to differential slot rates for ECEAP based on variable factors and to submit a report by September 1, 2020.
- Corrects statutory references.
- Removs the emergency clause.
- AddsLegislative finding that the income eligibility limit in ECEAP hinders the state's ability to recruit and enroll qualified families, particularly in rural and tribal communities.
- Adds Legislative intent to allow for flexibility in ECEAP to serve children with family incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Removs provisions creating a new definition of "allowable" child.
- Adds language requiring DCYF to adopt rules to allow the inclusion of children with family incomes above 110 percent but less than or equal to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and limits their enrollment to no more than 25 percent of total statewide enrollment.
- Adds being an Indian child as a risk factor for priority enrollment on a space available basis and clarifies that DCYF must obtain the advice and consent of the state's tribal nations to develop a definition of the term "Indian child".
- Added language requiring that children with incomes up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level be given priority when enrolled on a space available basis.
- Removes the requirement that DCYF develop recommendations related to differential slot rates.
- Requires DCYF to develop a plan for phased implementation of an Early ECEAP pilot project within available federal resources and removes the requirement that, during the pilot, DCYF begin an evaluation to analyze quality and performance measures.
House Committee Amendments (updated 4.12.19):
The amended bill:
- Allows for the enrollment of a non-entitled child in ECEAP if the child has a family income:
- Above 110 percent of the FPL but less than or equal to 130 percent of the FPL; or
- Above 130 percent of the FPL but less than or equal to 200 percent of the FPL, and the child meets at least one risk factor criterion as adopted in rule by the DCYF;
- Removs status as an Indian child as a risk factor and removes the associated requirement for the DCYF to consult with tribes to adopt a definition of "Indian child" in rule for this purpose;
- Requires the DCYF to consult with federally recognized tribes to explore creating a pathway or funding stream within ECEAP to close the opportunity gap for tribal children and report recommendations to the Legislature by December 1, 2020;
- Removes the January 1, 2020, deadline for the DCYF to begin planning for the Birth to Three ECEAP pilot;
- Removes the requirement for the DCYF to implement the Birth to Three ECEAP pilot in 10 locations;
- Revises findings and intent language; and
Makes technical changes for consistency in the event that Substitute Senate Bill 5089, relating to increasing early learning access for children ages three and older, is enacted.