Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Important New Early Learning System Rules

On Friday, July 1, 2016, the Department of Early Learning published a suite of “emergency” rules in order to implement components of the Early Start Act. The State calls these “emergency” rules because we weren’t able to go through our normal public process period prior to the ESA-mandated deadline of July 1, 2016. We’re using this administrative procedure to ensure families and children get access to the quality care and supports they need. These rules will only be in effect for 120 days.

What’s in these new rules? They address eligibility for state funded child care and support for families transitioning to self-sustainability. They also increase supports for providers with quality improvement awards, professional development, and increased reimbursement rates.

Our normal rule filing process was truncated due to two over-extended legislative sessions and a larger-than-average number of new rules to process. While not ideal, we were able to consult with stakeholders in advance of today’s filing, and will launch our normal public process on these same rules next week. After gathering feedback from the community we will be able to make changes, if necessary, to these rules without interrupting service for children. See below for the upcoming rule-making schedule.
  • July 6, 2016: DEL files proposed permanent rules (they will be found here).
  • July 20 – August 10, 2016: proposed rules are open for public comment.
  • August 9 & 10, 2016: DEL hosts public hearings on proposed rules.
With implementation of these new rules, DEL is continuing to build and support a high quality early learning system in Washington that will ensure all kids are ready for kindergarten.

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