There are 3 bills heading to committee and public hearing that the FCCAM’s Public Policy Committee is currently following. We do not have the hearing date for all 3 at this time, but wanted providers to have the time to: digest the bills; be aware of the thoughts raised in Public Policy Committee discussions; and have time to write their own personal testimony regarding their stance on a particular bill.
Our first bill is before the JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS and now has a PUBLIC HEARING scheduled for Monday, April 1, 2019, 1:00 PM, Cross Building, Room 208 // FCCAM Public Policy Committee will be submitting written testimony in favor of this bill.
This bill requires the Commissioner of Education to implement, beginning September 1, 2020, a statewide voluntary early childhood consultation program to provide support, guidance and training to families, early care and education teachers and providers working in public elementary schools, child care facilities, family child care settings and Head Start programs serving infants and young children who are experiencing challenging behaviors that put them at risk of learning difficulties and removal from early learning settings. The bill requires the Department of Education to design and implement the program and to report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over education matters on the implementation of the statewide voluntary early childhood consultation program.
- Important that it is voluntary and free.
- State will be designing the program in consultation with Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and key stakeholders. If the program is modeled after one in Connecticut, we believe it will possibly follow SAMHSA programs. Example: Project LAUNCH
- Consults would provide tools and skills for the programs that utilize it to work with children with challenging behaviors. Team effort includes provider, family, educational specialist and mental health consultants.
- Recognizes needs of rural communities
- Maine Roads To Quality has 1 person who is trained in Mental Health.
- Maine has 2nd highest expulsion rates in the country.
- Licensing requires providers to now have expulsion policy. Good to have support providers can incorporate into their policy.
- Where does CDS fall in this?
At this time there is no scheduled public hearing or workshops for this bill. // FCCAM supports the ideal of this bill. There is effort underway to gather more information around questions discussions have raised.
- It establishes graduated quality differential rates for steps 2 to 4 in the 4-step child care quality rating system currently required by law;
- It requires that contracts with providers of child care services prioritize infants, toddlers and preschool children up to 4 years of age in a variety of ways;
- It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a shared services program for providers of child care services to realize efficiencies and achieve financial sustainability by sharing administrative and program services and costs.
This bill amends the child care services provisions (subsidy):
- FCCAM likes that “Continuity of care” is a main piece or focus and stated right off.
- Special increase in differential rates for infants might encourage more providers to provide infant care. There is a significant need for both regular and subsidized infant care across Maine.
- What does “additional training” look like? Is it already aligned with the required training programs providing subsidy care currently have to take?
- How does age assigned care slots work as child ages?
- Concern with the age 4 language, as question how that works with a child who turns 5 before entering public school as a Kindergartner.
- Question sharing of services and how that will work with family child care providers. Is it modeled off the original Shared Services Leah Parker established under grant. Or are we looking at establishing resources referral centers that are only accessible to providers that have contracted to provide subsidized care?
UPDATE: Public Hearing May 1st / 1 PM
At this time there is no scheduled public hearing or workshops for this bill. // FCCAM supports the ideal of every child having access to quality child care and early childhood education. There is ongoing discussion about what public preschool will look like and where family child care will fit in.
The topic for the April 8th online FCC Community of Practice (facilitated by Tammy Dwyer of MRTQ) is: Public Pre-K. Registration link for the CoP will be posted in the sidebar once available.
This bill specifies that it is the goal of the State to ensure that public preschool programs for children 4 years of age are offered by all school administrative units by the 2020-2021 school year. In order to achieve that goal, this bill requires the Department of Education to develop recommendations and report back to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs by January 1, 2020. Recommendations must include:
- Standards for public preschool programs;
- A process for approval and certification of programs not operated by a school administrative unit, including, but not limited to, a Head Start program or other program affiliated with the school administrative unit; and
- Funding for public preschool programs.
The Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs may report out legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature to implement the recommendations in the report.
- Family child care must be explicitly mentioned in this bill.
- REQUIRE the school departments who take this money ensure a portion will be used to include FCC providers through community collaboration as part of the solution to providing public Pre-K.
- FCC provider could be required to meet the state requirements of having the required teaching degree.
- Nationally accreditation could be required.
- Could FCC provider work as subcontractor under supervision of school system, thus not requiring Step 4 on QRIS, teaching degree or national accreditation?
- Funding to support FCC providers meet increased requirements such as degree, accreditation.