Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DEL reports on outcomes for children who attend state's preschool program in 2012-13

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) reported gains in student achievement and the lowest-ever turnover rate for children who attend Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), Washington's state-funded preschool program.

During the 2012-13 school year, DEL administered ECEAP through 40 contracts with educational service districts, school districts, community colleges, local governments and nonprofits. ECEAP served children in 37 of 39 Washington counties at 269 sites.

In the 2012-13 school year:

  • ECEAP had space for 8,391 children. ECEAP served 9,328 children. The ECEAP turnover rate has decreased each year to 11 percent in 2012-13, the lowest in ECEAP’s recorded history.
  • At its peak in May 2013, the ECEAP waiting list had 1,186 4-year-olds and 1,281 3-year-olds, totaling 2,467 children. 
  • Approximately 32,322 children in Washington were eligible for ECEAP and were not served by ECEAP or the federal Head Start program. Head Start and ECEAP serve 37 percent of Washington children who are eligible for ECEAP. 
  • ECEAP received 9 out of 10 quality points from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) for our state early learning guidelines, comprehensive family and health services, staff professional development requirements, class sizes, staff–to-child ratios, meals and DEL’s monitoring of program quality. The 10th quality point would require ECEAP lead teachers to have a bachelor’s degree. DEL currently requires an associate or higher degree with 30 quarter credits of early childhood education. 
During the 2012-13 school year, ECEAP children progressed from below age level to at or above age level during their time in ECEAP:

Read the 2012-13 ECEAP Outcomes report.

Starting this school year, ECEAP is expanding thanks to the 2013 state operating budget, which increased the number of slots and the per-slot funding for ECEAP children. This school year, ECEAP added 350 slots; next year ECEAP will add 1,350 slots and increase the per slot-funding for ECEAP. Each subsequent year after 2014, ECEAP will add up to 2,400 slots until 2018-19, when it becomes an entitlement for all Washington children who qualify.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Federal government approves DEL's plan for spending child care grant

DEL's 2014-15 plan for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) was recently approved by the federal Office of Child Care. 
CCDF is a federal grant administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families. CCDF block grants are awarded to states, territories and Tribal Nations to help ensure families—particularly low-income families—have access to high-quality child care choices.
CCDF pays for:
  • Subsidized child care for families. DEL sets policy for Working Connections Child Care subsidy program, while the Department of Social and Health Services determines eligibility and makes payments to providers.
  • Activities to improve the quality of child care and offer additional services to families, such as child care referral services and training for child care providers.
  • Other research and technical assistance at the state and national levels.
As the lead state agency for the CCDF block grant, DEL must submit a plan every two years for how the funding will be used to improve accessibility and quality of child care in our state.
The 2014-15 plan builds upon goals we set and accomplished for prior years' plans, including moving to 12-month child care subsidy authorization, development of a career lattice and strengthening Washington's professional registry system, called the Managed Education and Registry Information Tool (MERIT). The goals for 2014-15 include:
  • Allowing child care licensing to focus on the providers' strengths and allowing DEL child care licensors to focus on high-risk indicators.
  • Continued work to improve the quality of child care through Early Achievers, Washington's quality rating and improvement system. 
  • Adding resources and supports for child care providers to our online professional development training library.
  • Aligning and streamlining Washington early learning systems, including subsidized child care, to better support high-quality programming that gets children ready for success in school. 
Read the entire CCDF plan