Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Resources from early learning symposium now available online

Earlier this month, scientists, early learning leaders and others met together in Seattle for a symposium highlighting the newest research on children’s brains and development and how to use that knowledge across Washington. Participants heard from:
  • Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University 
  • Dr. Robert Anda, consultant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Patricia Kuhl, the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington
The event was sponsored by Casey Family Programs, who made the symposium resources and presentations available online. Click here to check them out.

The first video includes Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Susan Dreyfus, Department of Early Learning Director Bette Hyde and Department of Health Secretary Mary Selecky who have committed to working together to improve outcomes for Washington children.

“The three of us put our hands on the table together, and we made a pledge,” Dreyfus said. “We made a pledge of a commitment to early childhood in the state of Washington.”

The three agencies recognize early childhood spans physical health, mental health and every development milestone, Dreyfus said. The new state Early Learning Plan aims to tie together all these efforts into a cohesive approach to support children and families, said Hyde, who followed Dreyfus at the podium.

“We are looking at partnerships in a whole new way,” she said.

Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large also attended the symposium, and you can read what he took away.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DEL boosts child care licensing performance, earns applause from Governor

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) child care licensing team got kudos and applause this morning during the Government Management Accountability and Performance (GMAP) forum on vulnerable children.

GMAP is Governor Chris Gregoire’s tool to hold government accountable for performance. DEL is involved in two GMAP areas: vulnerable children (for our child care licensing) and education (for our Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, or ECEAP).

We are proud of the incredible effort our team has made to improve timely monitoring visits, licensing complaint inspections and inspections involving allegations of abuse or neglect. These GMAP measures are tied to child health and safety in licensed child care. We had work to do to make sure we were focusing on and meeting these measures.

Our entire agency, especially our licensing team, worked together over the past months to:

• Increase our performance on timely monitoring visits of licensed facilities by 33 percent
• Exceed our target for closing complaints that do not involve allegations of child abuse or neglect.
• Decrease the average time it takes to close licensing complaints involving allegations of child abuse or neglect.

You can watch the forum shortly on by going to “Media Archives.” More information on DEL’s GMAP measures can be found at Learn more about DEL’s child care licensing work and why it matters by reading You Have a Choice! A Guide to Finding Quality Child Care.

We are proud of this hard work to make sure licensed child care facilities are safe, healthy, nurturing places for children in Washington!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Give your input on the draft policy recommendations for Washington's Birth to 3 Plan

The Legislature passed a bill last session (House Bill 2687) asking DEL to create a plan for how to ensure a "robust continuum of services" for parents and caregivers of children birth to 3. The plan is to look at education and support around healthy child development.

DEL and Thrive by Five Washington have led the drafting of the plan, which will be delivered to the Governor and Legislature in December. We need your input on the draft policy recommendations in the plan!

Click here to read the draft policy recommendations, and then click here to take a brief survey to give your input.

Monday, November 1, 2010

DEL's agency strategic plan now online

So what exactly is the Department of Early Learning's mission, and how do we know whether our work is having a positive impact on outcomes for children in Washington?

Our 2011-2014 Agency Strategic Plan is now online. Click here to read about our work and how it aligns with our state's Early Learning Plan.

Our vision: Our state offers world-class, developmentally and culturally appropriate early learning opportunities for all of Washington’s youngest learners, so each child enters kindergarten with a solid foundation for success in school and life.

Our mission: The Department of Early Learning develops, implements and coordinates system oversight to early learning policy and programs that create safe, healthy, nurturing learning experiences for all Washington children.

Our strategic goals:
  • Provide high-quality, safe, and healthy early care and education opportunities for all children.
  • Partner with and inform parents, families and communities about early learning.
  • Support early learning professionals with professional development and technical assistance.
  • Promote excellence and hold the system accountable for results.