The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning supports families and their children from prenatal through school age by using data, research and stakeholder guidance to assure high quality services.
Early Learning Resource Centers
Comments due: March 3, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Service's Office of Administration, the Bureau of Financial Operations has issued a Request for Information ("RFI") on behalf of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning ("OCDEL").  The RFI solicits input regarding the proposed scope of work for the creation and management of regional Early Learning Resource Centers ("ELRCs").  ELRCs will combine the work of the Child Care Information Services and the Regional Keys to better support continued capacity building for children and families' ability to access affordable, high-quality child care and other early care and education opportunities for their children.  Stakeholders, families and current OCDEL business partners are encouraged to visit
http://www.emarketplace.state.pa.us/  for more information regarding the RFI.  It is listed under "Solicitations - RFI PA Early Learning Resource Centers."
Governor releases proposed budget for 2017-18, including increases for early childhood education

On Tuesday, February 7, Governor Wolf released his proposed budget for 2017-18. Watch his budget address and download budget documents from the Governor's website.  

"I'm offering a budget proposal that represents a responsible solution to our deficit challenge - and a different approach from the way things have been done in Harrisburg for almost a generation. At the same time, my budget protects the investments we've made in education, in senior services, in fighting the scourge of opioids, and in growing Pennsylvania's economy."

Here are some highlights.

The proposed budget would provide:
  • $9 million increased investment to serve approximately 1,700 additional families in evidence-based home visiting;
  • $10 million increased investment in Child Care Works to serve approximately 1,800 additional children from the Child Care Works waiting list;
  • maintained investment in Keystone STARS to serve approximately 1,000 additional children;
  • $65 million increased investment in Pre-K Counts to serve at least 7,400 additional children;
  • $10 million increased investment in Head Start Supplemental to serve at least 1,030 additional children; and
  • $11 million increased investment in Preschool Early Intervention to serve approximately 1,100 additional children.
Please download the budget chart for more information.

Proposed Supports for Keystone STARS programs

As part of Keystone STARS Revisioning, OCDEL and stakeholders involved in the process want to make sure that limited resources are being used as effectively as possible to provide quality early learning opportunities especially to at-risk children.

As a result, OCDEL is proposing the following adjustments to financial supports:
  • Maintain funding for teacher higher education scholarships (T.E.A.C.H. and Rising STARS Tuition Assistance) and Education and Retention Awards;
  • Maintain STAR 2 tiered reimbursement and merit awards;
  • Increase tiered reimbursements for STAR 3 and 4 programs by 23 percent by shifting resources from merit awards. By shifting these resources to tiered reimbursement, providers will have more flexibility with no grant paperwork (saving time and money). With the 12-month redetermination of children receiving Child Care Works, providers will also experience more stability and less paperwork serving these children. Regional Keys can also direct more resources to supporting quality improvement; and the commonwealth can provide more equitable supports for at-risk children.
The reimbursement gap to cover the cost of quality early learning widens at the higher STAR 3 and 4 levels. Restrictions on merit awards can make it challenging to offset those costs, especially retaining qualified staff.

The current merit award structure has not resulted in a significant higher percentage of children receiving Child Care Works enrolling in Keystone STAR 3 and 4 facilities. In fact, there is such an inequitable distribution of resources for at-risk children that programs serving the minimum percentage of at-risk children receive more than ten times the amount per at-risk child than programs serving 90-100 percent enrolled children with IEPs or receiving Child Care Works subsidy.

More information will be provided during the Revisioning process. Visit the PA Key website for updates.

To have your voice heard during the budget process, please connect with organizations representing your field such as Early Learning PA or Pre-K for PA.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) provides families access to high quality services to prepare children for school and life success. 
Find more information about Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Early Childhood Education News is a project of the Pennsylvania Build Initiative and the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Human Services to inform early learning professionals, the early childhood community, policymakers, community leaders and the public on developments in early childhood education and care in Pennsylvania.

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