A comprehensive statewide early care and education system is created by improving accessibility and affordability for families, and making a tiered system of services available. The legislature will address the current inadequacies including caregiver workforce and supply, education services for parents of young children ages newborn to three years old, and services, supports, and resources for families with children up to age twelve. Services outlined shall be rolled over the next 10 years. System expansions such as inclusive and dual language classrooms will be included and supported.
Among other provisions, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program entitlement dates are pushed out to the 2027-2028 school year. Homeless is added to the definition of eligible child and the financial eligibility requirements are changed and will now use the state median income.
Working Connections Child Care shall be expanded to create statewide subsidized childcare for children up to 12. Co-payment levels are changed and other expansions including a carrier and wage ladder, home visiting services, early interventions, birth to three early childhood education and assistance program, and language access for parents, are called out to be funded and supported.
[Given the comprehensive nature of the bill this tracker is only able to provide a brief overview.]
The following changes are made to the original bill:
Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and Working Connections Child Care (WCCC)
• Directs DCYF to submit recommendations by December 2020 on the feasibility of using AMI to determine eligibility for ECEAP and WCCC and consider other eligibility measures that account for urban and rural communities.
• Adds that for families above 100 percent of SMI who have a copay higher than the slot rate/subsidy payment, ECEAP and WCCC providers must only receive the copay.
Child Care Subsidy Base Rates and Career and Wage Ladder
• Adds an appropriations clause of $50 million for the purposes of increasing subsidy base rates for licensed child care providers to achieve the 70th percentile of market in the 2021 fiscal year.
• Requires subsidy rates to achieve the 75th percentile of market by July 2021 instead of 2023.
• Requires subsidy rates to be based on a child care cost model by July 2022 instead of 2024.
• Amends the career and wage ladder to include family home providers.
• Adds that DCYF must support professional development with a focus on understanding behavior as communication and collaborative problem solving, and promoting membership, belonging, and social emotional development, and learning instead of focusing on reducing suspensions and expulsions.
• Requires DCYF to support professional development on culturally and linguistically appropriate practices for ECEAP providers; child care providers; and family, friend, and neighbor caregivers.
Dual Language Programs
• Revises intent language to state that studies “affirm” rather than “suggest” that dual language programs are especially beneficial for dual language learners.
• Directs DCYF in conjunction with other entities to collect and distribute information on dual language classrooms and providers.
Family Resource and Referral Linkage System and Shared Service Hubs
• Adds that the family resource and referral linkage system must coordinate and leverage the work of the statewide child care resource and referral network.
• Specifies that shared comprehensive services for the child care provider shared service hubs may include interpretation and translation services.
Pre-K through 3rd Grade Systems Coordinators
• Adds that ESD Pre-K through 3rd Grade Systems Coordinators must, in partnership with OSPI, provide support and technical assistance to school districts in the development of high-quality early learning environments and braided funding program models.
Family, Friend, and Neighbor Caregivers
• Adds that DCYF must provide curriculum in additional languages for play-and-learn groups.
• Removes a provision directing DCYF to integrate family, friend, and neighbor caregivers into home visiting programs.