October 2019 edition
An inside look at Pennsylvania's early education system.
What's New for October
OCDEL's primary goal is to ensure Pennsylvania children have a safe and reliable learning environment and this month there are several recent updates from the Bureau of Certification to recognize. 

The first is the change regarding fire safety inspections and standards within child care facilities. Licensing staff are now including fire safety checks in every initial inspection, renewal inspection, unannounced inspection and complaint inspection. See below for what each facility operator will need to demonstrate related to fire safety during an inspection.

A reminder that even though there is a nationwide shortage of Tuberculin Skin Test Antigens, it's acceptable to replace it with the Interferon Gamma Release Assay blood test for child care applicants and providers. Also, medical marijuana, like other medicines within a child care program, should be stored in a locked area of the facility or in an area out of reach for children. See below for more information on both of these updates.

Our partners at ECELS share information that although car seats should be used for infant travel, they should not be used as a substitute for a crib, bassinet or other safe sleeping environment for infants. The blurb below shares best practices, helpful for providers and families with infants. 
Early Education in Pennsylvania
Changes to Fire Safety Inspections and Standards for Child Care Facilities 
Following the fire at a child care facility that claimed the lives of five children, Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller announced efforts to enhance fire safety at all Pennsylvania child care facilities and strengthen DHS’s regulatory authority and further protect children. This quick action is an important step to protecting children receiving care from licensed child care providers around the commonwealth. 

Effective Sept. 16, 2019, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) requires its licensing staff to include fire safety checks in every initial inspection, renewal inspection, unannounced inspection, and complaint inspection. Licensing staff will require each facility operator to demonstrate an operable fire detection and prevention system, which includes the presence of operable smoke detectors on each floor of the facility and fire extinguishers in the kitchen or other cooking areas at minimum.

If an operator is unable to demonstrate such a system, DHS licensing staff will complete a complaint and deliver it to the Department of Labor & Industry or local officials. These officials have the authority to act against the facility. DHS will also recommend that licensed child care facilities work with their local fire safety officials to meet compliance with fire safety codes. DHS will also cite the provider for a health and safety violation. These changes will also be codified in DHS’ child care regulations moving forward.

During September, DHS conducted a fire safety initiative call campaign to collect information from family child care providers and alert them to the department’s fire prevention efforts. This campaign surveyed family child care providers about their fire prevention systems and emergency plans, including evacuation plans for children in overnight care. DHS will use the information gathered to inform ongoing efforts to enhance fire safety at Pennsylvania child care facilities.

In July, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order strengthening protections for vulnerable populations like children receiving care from licensed facilities. As part of this effort, the administration is actively reviewing regulations toward enhancing the regulatory authority of all licensing departments, strengthen standards where needed, and strengthen departments’ ability to take corrective action against non-compliant providers. 

Daylight savings time ends November 3 and a good time to change clocks and change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. For more information on child care in Pennsylvania and to view inspection history for licensed providers, visit www.findchildcare.pa.gov.
Where to Find OCDEL’s Data
Recently, the OCDEL Research website was decommissioned, but the data is still available in alternate locations. The Child Care provider file was moved to the Governor’s Office Open Data Portal . From the main page, click Schools That Teach , then Early Education .

Historic Reach and Risk reports are available on the PA Key website. In the future, all information previously presented in the Reach and Risk reports will be available on the Governor’s Office Open Data Portal. OCDEL continues to rely on the risk data as reported in the 2016-17 Reach and Risk report and utilizes information available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Future Ready PA Index  ( futurereadypa.org ).  OCDEL will evaluate risk in the 2020 Home Visiting Needs Assessment which will be available in the near future. 

The Governor’s Office Open Data Portal also publishes historic and current PA Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program funded slots by location. To find this information, click Schools That Teach, then Early Education . In the future, this site will also include data on:
  • Family Support Services;
  • Subsidized child care enrollment;
  • Children served by OCDEL programs; and
  • A new, expanded version of OCDEL’s Child Care provider data file.

Another good resource for data is the Research and Results page on the PA Key website . This page houses the Early Learning Data Reference document that lists publicly available resources, describes the data and/or information that is available in each resource and provides direct links to the resource.  Moving forward OCDEL will point individuals requesting data from any of these publicly available sources to the appropriate source. Requests for data that are not available on one of these sources should be directed to Aaron McMahon at c-aarmcmah@pa.gov .
TB Blood Test for Child Care Facilities
The Bureau of Certification is re-issuing the Bulletin: 3001-12-01, Tuberculosis Blood Test for Child Care Facilities . This bulletin was last issued Feb. 4, 2012 and is being reissued due to a nationwide shortage of Tuberculin Skin Test Antigens; the shortage is expected to last 3-10 months. 

The purpose of this bulletin is to remind child care applicants and providers that the Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) blood test remains an acceptable replacement for the Mantoux skin test screening.  Please see the 2012 bulletin for additional information

Note : Comments and questions regarding this bulletin are no longer directed to Amanda Dorris. Comments and questions regarding this bulletin should be directed to Tamula Ferguson, Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Division of Regulatory Administration, Bureau of Certification, 333 Market St., 6th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126 or 717-346-9320.
Apply Now for Families In Recovery: Strengthening Connections One Day at a Time
Application Deadline Oct. 7
The PA Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning, in collaboration with Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA) is seeking sites interested in applying to deliver the program, Families In Recovery: Strengthening Connections One Day at a Time. PA Family Support Alliance has developed a seven week parenting curriculum specifically for families impacted by opioid use disorder/substance use disorder (OUD/SUD). The curriculum “Families in Recovery: Strengthening Connections One Day at a Time” provides recovery-specific support and education to families, parents, and their children, who have been touched by addiction and are navigating parenting in recovery. 

This comprehensive experiential and educational program attends to a variety of challenges and experiences common and unique to parents in recovery, including: identifying strengths, needs, and resiliencies; exploring healthy parenting in balance with recovery needs, understanding the person-focused and family-centered change process; promoting healthy parenting and communication styles; developing healthy coping skills and modeling self-care; coping with guilt, shame, and stigma; and developing a personalized family blueprint for holistic wellness. Application deadline is Oct. 7, 2019. See the Summary for additional details and how to submit a survey to participate.
Clarification of Medical Marijuana Within Licensed Child Care Facilities
On June 7, 2019, the Department of Human Services in conjunction with the Department of Health issued a bulletin to clarify the storage, use, and administration of medical marijuana within licensed care facilities in Pennsylvania. This bulletin can be accessed here .

Effective immediately, this bulletin applies to all family child care homes, group child care homes, and child care centers. In accordance with regulations, medications shall be stored in a locked area of the facility or in an area that is out of reach of children. Providers are prohibited from providing care to children if impaired.

COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS REGARDING THIS BULLETIN SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO : Department of Human Services Office of Policy Development, P.O. Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17110-2675. General Office Number 717-265-8347. You may also contact your regional Office of Child Development and Early Learning for more information .  
Wilkes Barre Area Partners Celebrate Schools That Teach Initiative
Pennsylvania's Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Pedro Rivera and OCDEL's Deputy Secretary Tracey Campanini visited the Building Blocks Learning Center's (BBLC) SPARKS! Kindergarten Readiness Boot Camp at Solomon Elementary School in August as part of the Wolf's administration's #schoolsthatteach initiative. 

Visitors and staff engaged in a round table discussion and exchanged feedback regarding the positive impact of early education and bridging the gaps for children throughout their academic journey. Dr. Rochelle Koury and other members of the Wilkes Barre Area Administrative Team were in attendance to offer their experiences with students who have completed early education and the benefits of having pre-K on site at the elementary schools.

The Schools That Teach tour celebrates the teaching and learning taking place in Pennsylvania classrooms every day, and provides a forum for communities across the state to discuss how to create and improve educational opportunities for students, regardless of their zip code. The tour was launched by Governor Tom Wolf after he took office in 2015, and over the past three years, senior leaders from the Wolf Administration have visited dozens of schools across Pennsylvania.  Get more information about Schools That Teach.
Using the PD Registry to Access and Apply for Important Opportunities
Pennsylvania child care professionals might not to be able to access the full PD Registry without completing their profile. A completed profile places child care professionals on Pennsylvania's Career Pathway and allows them to apply for important programs like Rising STARS Tuition Assistance , the CDA Voucher , and the Director Credential .

What makes a completed profile? Making sure all fields are accurately filled out on an individual's PD Registry profile.

  • Address 
  • Email
  • Employment 
  • Hours worked
  • Full/Part time
  • Position/Role
  • Start Date
  • Education

Questions? Email registry@pakeys.org or call 1-800-284-6031. The PD Registry team is available to help!
Oct. 9 Webinar: Meeting the Requirements of CPSL: Ensuring the Safety of all Children in Care throughout PA
Sign up now for a no-cost informative and timely webinar presented by OCDEL Bureau of Certification Services Director Tanya Vasquez and Division of Regulatory Administration Chief Diane Michel. This Webinar will focus on the changes to Child Protective Service Law (CPSL). This includes the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) requirements, requirement for facility persons who have resided outside of PA in the last five years, requirements for volunteers to obtain all clearances/verification, and ending of provisional hires.

Sponsor: Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA)
Cost: No Cost
Registration Deadline : Tues., Oct. 8, 2019, at Noon
Webinar Date: Wed, Oct 9, 2019 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT
Click here to register. For questions, please contact Maureen Murphy at 717-657-9000 x107
T.E.A.C.H. Webinar provides info for sponsoring employers
Find out everything you always wanted to know about the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® PENNSYLVANIA scholarship program during the T.E.A.C.H. 101 for Sponsoring Employers webinar on Oct. 16, 2019, 1:00-2:30 pm. Learn how to make it work for your staff and your program, and find out how to take advantage of all the benefits T.E.A.C.H. has to offer!

This session will provide attendees with an overview and general introduction to the program. The webinar is for any director, owner or program administrator who wants to learn more about the details of T.E.A.C.H. and how to make the program work from a management perspective.  
Topics covered during this webinar presentation include:
  • Scholarship overview and funding updates
  • Selecting applicants and completing applications
  • Understanding contract obligations
  • Managing program logistics and paperwork
  • Budgeting for costs associated with employer’s responsibilities
  • Coordinating scholarship obligations with employer and employee policies
  • Utilizing supports available
  • Q&A time to address specific questions related to your program, staff and implementation
Free online registration is available now.  Click here to register.
T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® PENNSYLVANIA is administered by the Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA). T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® PENNSYLVANIA is a licensed program of Child Care Services Association. For more information call visit www.pacca.org or call 717-657-900
Save the Date
Of Interest
Still Time to Register for the 2019 ECE Summit
The 2019 ECE Summit in State College is just days away (Oct. 21 – 23), but there is still time to register. Don’t miss this opportunity to join over 1,100 of your fellow early childhood education professionals in learning, sharing, networking, and even some shopping!

Don’t have your credit card? Chose the “Pay Later” option and you will be billed. (Payment due by the first day you attend Summit)
Take advantage of regular registration fees while they last. Online registration ends at midnight on Monday, Oct. 14. After that time, you will need to call PACCA at 717.657.0128 to register –
there will be a $25 late registration fee.
Call for Presenters: EMPOWER 2020: Pennsylvania's OST Conference
Application Deadline October 18, 2019
Proposals for presenters are being accepted for the EMPOWER 2020: Pennsylvania's Out of School Time (OST) Conference to be held November 3-6, 2020 in Lancaster, PA. The conference provides high-quality professional development opportunities for afterschool professionals at all levels, school administrators, teachers, school counselors, social workers, youth development workers, early childhood professionals, student support specialists, higher education staff, community partners, parents, policymakers, intermediate units staff, business/industry partners and other professionals and advocates who work on behalf of children and youth. PSAYDN seeks high-quality, effective presentations addressing the latest research and promising practices in supporting children and youth success as well as continuing professional development for professionals. Presentation themes include:
  • Family Engagement and Community Partnerships
  • Local, State or National Landscape
  • Quality Counts
  • STEM, Computer Science or Career Readiness
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Staffing and Leadership Development

Call for Presenters: 2020 PA PBS Network Implementers Forum
Application deadline Nov. 22
The 2020 Pennsylvania Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Network Implementers’ Forum planning committee is seeking presentation proposals that reflect innovative and best practices integrating the effective use of data, systems and/or practices within a framework supporting the development, sustainability, and integration of positive behavior interventions and supports. 

The Forum will take place on May 11 and 12, 2020 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.

Completed proposals are to be submitted on or before the close of business on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. Click here to submit a proposal. Submitted proposals will be reviewed by the Forum planning committee to determine applicability, alignment with Forum strands, and efforts to advance the implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). All submissions will receive email notification of the Forum Committee’s decision regarding their proposal status on or before the close of business on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. Click here for additional info to help with submitting a proposal. For questions regarding the proposal process, please contact a local facilitator or the regional contact.

ECELS Health Capsule - Safe Use of Infant Sitting Devices  
A recent study in Pediatrics, “Infant Deaths in Sitting Devices,” reviewed the safety of infant sitting devices. The study found over 300 sleep-related infant deaths from 2004-2014 happened in car seats, strollers, bouncers, swings, and other infant seats. Most sleep-related infant deaths in sitting devices occurred in car seats. Incorrect use of car seats led to most infant deaths in this type of device. Sleep-related infant deaths in sitting devices were more likely to happen when an infant was supervised by a caregiver or child care provider.

Car seats are safe and effective for infant travel. Always remove an infant from a car seat after traveling. It is OK if an infant falls asleep in a car seat while traveling. Transfer sleeping infants from a car seat to a safe sleep environment, such as a crib. If an infant is in a sitting device and falls asleep, move the child to a crib. 

Avoid using sitting devices as a substitute for a crib, bassinet, or portable crib/play yard. Sleeping in a seated position can restrict breathing and may lower blood oxygen levels in infants. Injuries and death have occurred when sitting devices fall from a surface or when straps entrap body parts.

Follow national best practice standards to prevent sleep related deaths in group care settings. Review recommendations in Caring for Our Children Standards Limiting Infant/Toddler Time in Crib, High Chair, Car Seat, Etc, and Safe Sleep Practices and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)/SIDS Risk Reduction. Check your early care and education (ECE) program’s policies and procedures to make sure infant sitting devices are used safely.

Key Messages for ECE Program Staff and Families:
  1. Use sitting devices for their specific purpose, for example, transporting, feeding or playing. Avoid having infants sleep in car seats, strollers, bouncers, swings and other infant seats.
  2. If an infant arrives at the ECE program sleeping in a car seat, move the child to a crib.
  3. Always put infants alone on their back for every nap or sleep time in an individual, safe crib.
  4. Limit sitting in a high chair or other equipment that restricts movement indoors or outdoors to no more than 15 minutes. This time can be longer for feeding or while traveling in a vehicle. Infants need to be free to develop physical skills, explore the environment and interact with peers and adults.

Contact ECELS at info@ecels-healthychildcarepa.org with questions about implementing these practices in your program.
Budding Botanist Grant
Applications due Nov. 8
KidsGardening and Klorane Botanical Foundation have announced the opening of the 2020 Budding Botanist grant. Budding Botanist is open to any Title I public or charter school in the United States. Applicants must be planning a new or expanding an existing school garden program designed to teach students about environmental sustainability and the importance of biodiversity. Applications for Budding Botanist are due November 8, 2019. For more info about eligibility, contact KidsGardening education specialist Sarah Pounders.
Lights On Afterschool
Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their role in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to draw attention to the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things—such as science, community service, robotics, Tae Kwon Do and poetry—and discover new skills. The events send a powerful message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs. Discover events in your community and find ways you can celebrate on October 24, 2019.
Research and Reports
Articulation Agreements: An Essential Component for Supporting Early Educators Along Educational and Career Pathways
Articulation agreements are critical in the training and education of the early care and education (ECE) workforce. They also affect professional development systems for institutions of higher education and ECE programs. 

The Spotlights on Innovative Practices webinar series featuring Articulation Agreements: An Essential Component for Supporting Early Educators Along Career Pathways, from the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL) explores different state and territory models for using articulation agreements to strengthen professional development systems. 
Primary Arrangements for Child Care
Child Trends has presented a new data point from early care and education expert Katherine Paschall which examines the types of child care that U.S. infants and toddlers use as their primary arrangement. Aside from parents who care for children themselves, home-based child care—or care provided in a home by nonparental figures—is the most commonly used primary care arrangement for infants and toddlers in the United States, measured by the number of hours that a child spends in each type of care per week. Nearly one in three (29.5 percent) infants and toddlers use home-based care as their primary care arrangement.
Families in rural communities across the country face unique barriers to supporting their children’s developmental health and well-being. This article from the National Institute for Children's Health Quality, shares how community coalitions in Alaska are connecting families to needed supports and services, so more rural children can start school ready to succeed. Find out how they’ve gone from zero documented developmental screenings, to over 60 children being screened every month.
M eeting the Needs of Home-Based Providers
Child Trends has released a new suite of resources that explore how professional development opportunities can better meet the needs of home-based child care providers. Using home visiting models to deliver professional development to home-based providers may provide more tailored and effective supports than traditional trainings, which are often designed for center-based providers. Research suggests that professional development can help child care providers improve the quality of care they offer.
Encouraging the Development of Fine Motor Skills
From the time they’re born, children are working on their fine motor skills! Fine motor skills are the movements the hands and fingers make to grasp and manipulate objects. The way an object feels, moves or even tastes can help a child learn about the world around them. The October featured article from PA's Promise for Children shares how families can encourage the development of fine motor skills.
Learning Through Asking Questions
Reading to children isn't a passive activity. Families can help children develop language and reading skills by asking questions during reading and other daily activities. Read Aloud has six new printable flyers that help families (and child care providers) engage young children with open ended questions to explore the world around them and to see all the opportunities to speak, engage, and develop tiny brains. 
September Edition of Baby Talk
The September edition of Baby Talk from Camille Catlett shares information about 100 engaging activities for babies, a guide to vision health for newborn through toddlers, the best toys for babies and more.
Making Your Own Local Baby Food
Community GroundWorks in Madison, Wisconsin has created a new Farm to ECE resource- Making Your Own Local Baby Food. This resource is a guide for child care centers on how to make baby food from fresh and local fruits and vegetables.
Using Visual Supports with Infants and Toddlers
This Tots-n-Tech resource from Arizona State University is focused on the use of visual support as a form of AT adaptation and how they can be used to support teaching of social skills, communication, social competence, enhance memory and identify expectations. Included are also guidelines for implementation of visual supports and helpful links.
Healthy Eating Resources Now that School is Back in Session
School is back and the Food and Nutrition Service has resources for students, teachers, and parents to keep everyone eating healthy and discovering new foods. Below are some resources to check out:
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