Tuesday, February 27, 2018

ELAC discusses Market Rate Survey, DCYF proposals during February meeting

The Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) held its first meeting of 2018 on February 6. Using the K-20 Education Network, ELAC members participated via video conference from nine sites around the state.

The full-day meeting included updates on DEL’s Quality Practice and Professional Growth (QPPG) division, the 2018 Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) plan, the current legislative session, and the new Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF).

DEL Assistant Director Nicole Rose provided ELAC members with an update on the Market Rate Survey, which was made available to Washington providers in January. ELAC helped revise the survey for the current year and learned during the meeting how their feedback was implemented before the survey was released.

The council was also invited to participate in a webinar next month to review the Cost of Quality survey, which will be released this spring. This survey will help DEL better understand the operating costs of child care facilities.

The QPPG presentation included information on the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) expansion and on efforts to encourage inclusion of children with disabilities in early learning settings. The QPPG division is also working to address issues with provider professional development, including compensation, career pathways, and evaluations of the current workforce.

ELAC members received an update on the CCDF 3-year plan that will be submitted to the federal government by July 1, 2018. The plan will outline the state’s current child care subsidy programs, which are partially funded by federal CCDF grants. Once DEL has drafted a plan, the department will seek input from the community, including from ELAC, on the plan’s contents, repercussions, and changes from the previous plan.

DEL Director Heather Moss also discussed the proposed DCYF regional structure, which was adapted from a six-region map used by the Department of Social and Health Services. Council members expressed a desire to maintain sub-regional identities during the transition. DEL Assistant Director Frank Ordway described the proposed organizational structure for the new department.

The next ELAC meeting will be held April 3 in Tukwila. To keep updated on ELAC’s meetings, DEL's ELAC meeting page

Monday, February 12, 2018

Last negotiated rulemaking session next month

After nine months of negotiating, the Department of Early Learning is planning the last session for negotiating the Standards Alignment licensing rules. Negotiators will meet on March 3 and 4 for a final review of all negotiated revisions. The original draft rules with negotiated revisions can be read online at https://del.wa.gov/PolicyProposalComment/Detail.aspx and DEL is accepting comments through February 22. Comments will be delivered to the negotiators in time to be considered for the final review.

Negotiated rulemaking is when a state agency collaborates with stakeholders who are impacted by a rule to develop and agree to the rule language. Teams representing family home child care providers, center child care providers, parents of enrolled children, Head Start/ECEAP providers and DEL licensing staff began negotiating the aligned standards in June 2017. Each month, a small group with representatives from each team would meet to review draft rules and negotiate revisions. Those revisions were taken to a monthly meeting where all negotiators would discuss, refine and measure consensus.

We have a lot to celebrate as we wrap up negotiations. There are just a handful of sections for which negotiators still have to reach consensus. The high success rate is entirely due to the negotiators’ collaborative spirit and hard work. Each participant was deeply committed and generously gave time and energy – including many weekends – to the project. We are also celebrating transparent negotiations that stakeholders were able to follow by attending a session or watching on DEL’s YouTube channel. During negotiations, more than 1,000 comments were submitted by the public and informed the negotiators’ work.

Statewide, representative stakeholders have contributed during every step of the Standards Alignment project. DEL is committed to continuing to engage with stakeholders once the rules are adopted and implementation begins.

After negotiations are done, DEL expects to file with the Code Reviser proposed rules by May 2 and solicit comments on those rules before adopting final rules at the end of June. After the rules are adopted, there will be a year-long implementation phase before the rules take effect in the summer of 2019.

If you have questions about the negotiated rulemaking process please e-mail rules@del.wa.gov.