Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Early learning bills passed the Legislature, signed into law--what happens now?

Every year, DEL tracks and weighs in on bills in the Legislature that affect early learning in Washington, and we update bills’ status throughout the session on our website.

But what happens after the bills are signed into law? DEL is posting the implementation plans for the bills that require our action. In some cases, it may be a matter of DEL updating a policy or rule in order to comply with the new law. In other cases, the bill may require DEL to form a work group or to institute changes with partner agencies like the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).
Here are a few examples:
House Bill 1203 allows DEL to exempt personal information relating to children from public inspection and copying. That means that when citizens request public records from DEL, we are allowed to redact children’s identifying information from the records before we release them. Previously, we had to ask the requester’s permission and if the requester declined, we attempted to notify the children’s parents or guardians by mail and give them time to file a court injunction (we explained the bill in more detail in this blog post). You can read how DEL plans to implement the new law, which in this case means we will update our policies and procedures and be ready to go on July 28 when the bill takes effect.

Senate Bill 5595, concerning child care reform,  requires DEL and DSHS to train employees who work with families who apply for or receive child care subsidy; change rules, policies and procedures that apply to Working Connections Child Care subsidy program; and participate in a legislative task force that will look at child care improvements. More detail on how we will do that work is in the implementation plan.
You can see all of our 2013 early learning legislation implementation plans on the DEL website. We will continue to post them as they are completed.

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