June 2020 edition
An inside look at Pennsylvania's early childhood education system.
Message from DHS Secretary Teresa Miller
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), Teresa Miller, shares her appreciation for child care workers in a recent video. Click on the video below or here to watch the video.
The CARES Act funding, referenced in Secretary Miller's video, was recently announced by Governor Tom Wolf as an initial distribution of $51 million of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support child care providers around Pennsylvania. Distributed in partnership with the General Assembly, this initial funding will reach nearly 7,000 child care centers.

Pennsylvania received $106 million in funding to support child care providers through the CARES Act that will be distributed to providers in two waves. The first wave of $51 million will be distributed to all eligible, licensed child care providers and is designed to help providers preparing to reopen as counties move to the yellow phase. The remaining funding will be allocated following the  completion of a study by the Department of Human Resources (DHS) Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and Penn State Harrisburg’s Institute of State and Regional Affairs assessing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Pennsylvania’s child care providers.

5-Month Enacted Budget for 2020-21 Overview Office of Child Development and Early Learning
Prosperity for All Pennsylvanians
  • For five years, Governor Wolf has prioritized improving and ensuring quality of life for all Pennsylvanians, beginning at birth and extending throughout their lifespan.
  • This work has put the commonwealth on a comeback and set the stage for long-term prosperity and is helping people across Pennsylvania lead fulfilling, enriched lives.
  • Building on his prior budgets, Governor Wolf continued his push to make Pennsylvania the greatest place to live and work in the nation.
This is the vision Governor Wolf put forward when the 2020-21 budget was introduced in February, but we can’t ignore the present reality. 

As Pennsylvania continues to battle the global pandemic that is COVID-19, a short-term budget of $25.8 billion was enacted for the start of 2020-21.

These are unprecedented circumstances and an unprecedented response was necessary to protect the fiscal security of Pennsylvania’s future. 

This budget is largely level with the prior year but is initially enacted for just five months. The enacted budget amounts represent 5/12ths or 42 percent of the fiscal year. The primary, but not only exception, is for K-12 and Higher Education which were appropriated a full 12-month budget so Pennsylvania schools can adequately plan for a full academic year. 

Specific Investments in Children Impacting OCDEL

Department of Human Services
30 new positions to support increased workloads and ensure timely inspections, investigate complaints, monitor corrective action and provide technical assistance. 

Early Intervention
Early Intervention Birth-3 (supplemental increase of $12.839 million; total 2019-20 appropriation of $174.271 million AND 5-month 2020-21 appropriation of $78.870 million) to serve an estimated 51,900 children. 

If the 5-month enacted budget for 2020-21 is annualized to $189.288 million, it would be an increase of $15.017 million over 2019-20. In 2020-21, increased state funding will support services for an additional 3,000 infants and toddlers.  

Child Care Works
The Child Care Works (CCW) program is estimated to serve approximately 111,470 children in June 2020.
Child Care Services (5-month 2020-21 appropriation of $65.201 million) to support low income families.

Child Care Assistance (5-month 2020-21 appropriation of $45.785 million) to support families receiving TANF, Former TANF and SNAP benefits.

If the 5-month enacted budgets for 2020-21 for CCS and CCA are annualized, both budgets would be level with 2019-20 at $156.482 million and $109.885 million, respectively. 
Child Care Works is also supported by federal funding sources including Child Care Development Block Grant, Social Service Block Grant and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Federal funding level were enacted for the full fiscal year.   

The 2020-21 budget includes:
  • $436,000 (federal) to support the restructured co-payment contribution calculation required of families participating in CCW
  • The continuation of Infant Toddler Contracted Slots, 800 slots at an average of $16,125 per slot
  • Future opportunity to consider additional supports for child care
  • Federal appropriations were enacted at proposed levels that include funding originally set aside to support a minimum wage increase and a base rate increase.    

Home Visiting and Family Support Services
Community-Based Family Centers (5-month 2020-21 appropriation of $7.733 million)
Nurse Family Partnership (5-month 2020-21 appropriation of $5.491 million)
If the 5-month enacted budgets for 2020-21 for Community-Based Family Centers and Nurse Family Partnerships are annualized, both budgets would be level with 2019-20 at $18.558 million and $13.178 million, respectively. 

During 2020-21, DHS plans to release a competitive Request for Application (RFA) to recompete for all federal and state Evidence-based Home Visiting (EBHV) and Family Support Program funding. New grants awarded through this RFA are anticipated to begin July 1, 2021.
All current EBHV and Family Support grantees will be required to recompete for funding through the RFA process.

In addition to the work at OCDEL, the Office of Medical Assistance Programs (OMAP) has expanded a home visiting initiative through Medicaid managed care organizations to provide at least two home visits to all first-time mothers and mothers of at-risk children covered by Medicaid. 

Department of Education

Early Childhood Education
Governor Wolf continues to value education in Pennsylvania and the decision was made to fund PA Pre-K Counts and Heads Start Supplemental Assistance for the full fiscal year.   
PA Pre-K Counts (level funded; total 2020-21 appropriation of $217.284 million)
  • To serve approximately 25,300 children.
Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (level funded, total 2020-21 appropriation of $64.178 million)
  • To serve an approximately 6,500 children.

Over the past five years, Governor Wolf has secured an additional $145 million for Early Childhood Education to serve approximately 13,600 additional children. In these unprecedented times, Governor Wolf remains committed to maintaining this increased level of investment so that Early Childhood Education services for more than 31,800 children can be continued for the full fiscal year.    

Early Intervention
Preschool Early Intervention, 3-5 (5-month 2020-21 budget of $135.625 million) to serve an additional 2,000 children or 61,000 total children.

If the 5-month enacted budget for 2020-21 is annualized to $325.5 million, it would be an increase of $11 million over 2019-20. In 2020-21, increased state funding will support services for an additional 2,000 preschoolers.  

COVID-19 Funding
The CARES Act awarded Pennsylvania $106 million to support child care.
  • The administration and legislature agreed on a formula to distribute $51 million in a first wave as child care providers begin to reopen across the state. Funds will be delivered to all eligible licensed providers via the Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) in a tiered distribution that considers provider type and the relative capacity of the provider to serve their communities with add-ons for CCW enrollment and operations in child care deserts. 
  • $55 million will be available for future distribution. 

The Corona Virus Relief Act awarded Pennsylvania $4.2 billion of which:
  • $116 million dedicated for child care will be distributed upon the completion of an evaluation currently underway on the impact of COVID-19 on child care. 
  • $9 million dedicated for Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program will be distributed to support increased program costs related to COVID-19.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act increased the the federal share of Medicaid eligible expenses by 6.2 percent, effective January 1 through June 30, 2020, resulting in increased federal funding of which: 
  • $3.2 million was dedicated for Early Intervention
  • $60,000 was dedicated for Nurse Family Partnership
The Impacts of COVID-19 on Child Care in Pennsylvania    
OCDEL has been tracking how COVID-19 is impacting child care across the commonwealth and wants you to have the information you need. The information below is current as of June 4, 2020, and OCDEL will continue to share on a monthly basis.
  • 14 child care facilities have experienced confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 since March 2020.
  • 20 individuals have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 related to child care facilities since March 2020.
  • 9 (of those 20) are staff, operator or related to the owner of child care facilities
  • 11 (of those 20) are children, parents or guardians

16 child care operators have notified OCDEL they have decided to cease operation permanently.
Wolf Administration Outlines Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Schools 
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) recently said elementary and secondary schools in the state’s yellow and green phases may resume in-person instruction and activities beginning July 1, 2020 under a phased reopening approach that first requires schools to develop health and safety plans based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state Department of Health (DOH).

Communication and Connectivity: Family Supports for Remote Service Delivery
Phones, laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi, and charging capability are critical tools for Head Start and Early Head Start remote service delivery. Families and children rely on these tools to access Head Start and Early Head Start and other vital health and human services in their communities. To ensure families have the access they need, wherever possible, consider resources from the Office of Head Start. Read more.
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