Welcome to the ECE Recap where you can find the
most recent and important information from the
Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).
Message from Deputy Secretary Campanini

Happy New Year! I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season, and were able to take time to rest, relax, and safely gather among family and friends.
I’m sharing a video message from Acting Secretary of DHS Meg Snead to thank you for all you do for the communities you serve. I hope you will watch and share it with your teams. On behalf of Acting Secretary Snead, please know how grateful I and all of us here at DHS are for each of you.
The past two years have been challenging for all of us, but especially those like you whose job is to provide or support essential care and education for our children. Thank you for all you do for children and families across Pennsylvania. Human services like child care and early learning programs are the backbone of our communities, and so many people are thriving because of your amazing work and commitment to helping people.
As we plan for 2022, DHS would like to continue to recognize providers like you, the dedicated professionals who spend their lives caring for others, and all those who make this work possible.
DHS is collecting stories from providers and caring professionals about why their work is essential and why they chose their careers. Our goal is to highlight the stories of our broader human services system and how the caring industry makes an impact in all parts of our communities. If you or your colleagues are interested and willing, please consider sharing your story. We’re looking for:
  • Why you chose an early childhood career
  • How your career lets you help others
  • A story about when you felt like you’ve made an impact
  • A time you’ve felt proud in your work helping others
  • Or any other story you’re willing to share
Stories can be emailed to the DHS Press Office at ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov. Please include names, county/place of residence, and a picture if you’re willing to share. We may use these stories on social media, the DHS blog, or our central human services job recruitment page at www.dhs.pa.gov/jobs. The DHS Press Office team will be in touch to obtain consent to use these stories.
I strongly encourage you and your teams to share your stories and your experiences of how you serve others. I know firsthand the impact you make every day, and I look forward to sharing this essential work.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2022,
Tracey Campanini
Deputy Secretary, OCDEL
Concerns Related to Announcement C-21-11

OCDEL understands the concerns raised by many providers regarding the policy issued related to COVID-19 being added to the communicable disease list as outlined in the C-21-11 policy.
We are working on a solution, but because we are no longer operating under a Disaster Proclamation issued by the Governor, we cannot suspend regulations as we had flexibility to do in the past.
Our regulations state - 55 Pa. Code § 3270.137, 55 Pa. Code § 3280.137, and55 Pa. Code § 3290.137, relating to child health, states: “an operator who observes an enrolled child with symptoms of a communicable disease or infection that can be transmitted directly or indirectly and which may threaten the health of children in care shall exclude the child from attendance until the operator receives notification from a physician or a CRNP that the child is no longer considered a threat to the health of others.”
Also acceptable, is a negative test result sign by a pharmacist testing site operating with CLIA Certificate of Waiver or Certificates of CLIA Compliance, such as a CVS or Minute Clinic, if they are unable to have their pediatrician provide a written note or a signed negative test result.
While we work on a solution, if certification were to identify instances of non-compliance, they would have to cite on those instances. 
It is our intent to work toward a different solution and as soon as possible communicate that to the field.
CDC Guidance

Currently the CCD has not yet updated the recommendations regarding child care and early learning settings. The current recommendations can be found here.

This guidance continues to advise "The length of time the child should stay out of an ECE program depends on whether the child has COVID-19 or another illness. In most instances, those who have COVID-19 can be around others after 10 days since symptoms first appeared and 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. Children who test positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms can be around others 10 days after their first positive COVID-19 test."

The change in guidance issued by the CDC to decrease to 5 days was focused on the "general population" where a greater number of individuals have the ability to become vaccinated.   

It is consistently OCDEL's message to follow the CDC COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs. If a change is issued, or if the Department of Health advises otherwise, we will immediately communicate to the providers. 
Applications Open for the 2022 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards
Application Deadline Jan. 28, 2022

There are few things that can match the impact on a child’s life more than a great teacher! Applications for the 2022 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards are available until Jan. 28, 2022. Early childhood teachers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and on U.S. Military bases and installations around the world are invited to apply. Get more information
Flyer/Addendum to Solicitation RFA 17-21

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) has posted a Flyer/Addendum to solicitation RFA 17-21 for the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) grants, which operate under the administration of the CTF Board and DHS, to promote primary and secondary child abuse and neglect prevention programs in community-based settings in order to prevent abuse and neglect of children in the Commonwealth. Addendum 1 has been added as an update to the Q&A portion of the RFA. Addendum 2 has been added as a revision to Rider 3 has been made. Please disregard the previous version of Rider 3. Any organization located and operating in Pennsylvania that provides direct services and meets the criteria in this Request for Applications is eligible to apply for a CTF grant. Application deadline is Jan. 13, 2022. View the bid online at eMarketplace or by clicking here.
Free Course - Enroll for the Spring 2022 Child Care Health Advocate Course Today
Course begins Jan. 18, 2022

Enrollment is open for the Spring 2022 online Child Care Health Advocate course offered by Northampton Community College (see flyer for full details and enrollment instructions). The 3 credit hour college course is taught remotely over 15 weeks: January 18 through May 9, 2022, and prepares the Child Care Practitioner to function in the role of a Child Health Care Advocate. In partnership with OCDEL, tuition assistance ($1,000 course fee is covered) is available for child care facility staff currently employed in Pennsylvania. Space is limited and students must pay for books / materials.

STAR 3 and 4 programs can receive 2 bonus points:

Leadership and Management - Program participates in an organized effort to promote environmental health improvements in their early learning program, making their facility and program healthier and less likely to negatively affect the health of children and early learning program staff. (example: PA Eco Healthy Child Care)
2022 GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant
Application Deadline Feb. 4, 2022

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening have announced the launch of the 2022 GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant. This grant will award funding to start or expand youth gardens or greenspaces. Any nonprofit organization, school district, university, government entity, or tax-exempt organization, like religious organizations and Tribal governments, serving at least 15 youth is eligible to apply. Applicants must be planning to use the funds to install new or expand existing youth gardens or greenspaces. Applications due by Feb. 4, 2022. Click here for info.
Family Friendly Newsletters for January

The January editions of family-friendly early learning newsletters have info and resources for families and early childhood education partners.

Click here to subscribe.
Pennsylvania Early Ed News

An inside look at Pennsylvania's early childhood education system with important information for those invested in early childhood education is now available in the January edition of the PA Early Ed NewsClick here to subscribe.
ARPA Stabilization Grant

The countdown is on! Only three weeks remain until the ARPA Stabilization Grant Jan. 31, 2022 application deadline! Apply now. Need assistance in Spanish? Click here
Coming Soon: Compliance Announcements

OCDEL will soon release several policy announcements that pertain to the child care regulations for certified child care facilities so child care providers understand what is required to be in compliance with the established CCDF regulations and the Pennsylvania Child Care Regulations. Read more.
Upcoming Deadlines