Tuesday, January 9, 2018

DEL begins drafting Child Care Development Fund Plan

Beginning January 2018, DEL began coordinating drafting of the state’s Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Plan with the goal of submitting a Plan by July 1, 2018. So what does all that mean for Washington families and child care providers?

CCDF is a federal and state partnership program administered by states, territories, and Tribal Nations. They use CCDF grant funds to provide access to child care for low-income families so they can work or attend job training or educational programs. They also invest CCDF funds to build the skills and qualifications of providers, support child care programs to achieve higher standards, and provide consumer education to help families select child care that meets their needs. Working Connections Child Care is one example of a CCDF-funded program administered by DEL, but the grant also funds other DEL activities, including licensing, Early Achievers, and provider professional development.

Under federal law, Washington is required to submit a CCDF Plan every three years in order to continue receiving the CCDF grant. The Plan serves as the application for CCDF funds and describes the state’s child care program and all services available to eligible families. The Plan is developed in collaboration with numerous partners, stakeholders, and tribal governments to ensure that the state’s CCDF program period addresses the needs of families, providers and communities. Once approved by the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF), it allows the state to continue receiving the CCDF grant.

Washington’s current CCDF Plan is set to expire in 2018, so a new plan must be submitted to ACF by July 1, 2018 and to be completely finalized by October 1. On December 8, 2017, ACF released a draft preprinted (Preprint) form to collect all of the required Plan information (see here). With the release of the Preprint, the path is now clear for DEL to begin coordinating plan drafting. Here is how the drafting process will work and how you can participate:
  • Starting in January 2018, DEL will convene an Executive Steering Committee (ESC) composed of representatives of early learning focused organizations, community partners, and government agencies.
  • The ESC will review initial Plan drafts, feedback from partners, stakeholders, and tribal governments, and from the general public, and approve a plan for submission by July 1.
  • In between, DEL will provide the Plan Preprint and Plan drafts to the Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC) and Indian Policy Early Learning (IPEL) group for their feedback, starting in February and concluding in April.
  • In May and June, DEL will convene one or more public meetings to receive further community Plan input.
  • Then in June, DEL will convene a public hearing, as required by federal law, to receive formal community input on the draft Plan. DEL will then submit the plan to ACF on July 1.
If it all sounds a bit confusing, take heart. DEL maintains a page on its site here where you will find important updates on the status of the Plan as it develops, as well as information on opportunities to give your feedback, and general information on CCDF. Stay tuned!

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