Welcome to the Mid-State Regional Key STARS Newsletter!! 
OCDEL News & Updates

Meeting the Requirements of the Child Protective Service Law (CPSL) for Child Care Facilities 

Due to ongoing violations and citations for not meeting the staff requirements of the CPSL, all regulated child care providers are strongly encouraged to review the 55 Pa. Code Chapters §3270.32, §3280.32 and §3290.32. It is critical that all regulated child care providers understand their responsibilities for meeting the staff requirements of the CPSL.




Providers should also view the OCDEL Announcement C-17-01 for an overview of the CPSL requirements.  

Please contact your Regional Office with any questions. 

STARS Re-Visioning Updates 

Keystone STARS Revisioning Update
On January 19, 2017, the ECE Community was invited to participate in a webinar update on the status of the Keystone STARS Revisioning process. If you could not join OCDEL for the webinar you can view the recorded webinar HERE . The Powerpoint is also available HERE ..

►    When will the new standards be available?
OCDEL anticipates releasing the new indicators in May 2017. OCDEL understands that there will need to be time for providers, assessors, and other regional partners to become proficient in the new system. Therefore, providers may maintain their 2016-17 STAR level during 2017-18 as they learn the new system.
►    How will our STAR level be assessed next year? We were going to apply for a STAR 3, should we wait?
Providers may maintain their 2016-17 STAR level during 2017-18 as they learn the new system. Providers may still apply to increase their STAR level in this year rather than waiting for the new standards to be in place. If you increase your STAR level this fiscal year, you can maintain that increased STAR in 2017-18. You may also receive the benefits of increased tiered reimbursement and grants and awards by increasing your STAR level now.
►    Will the grants and awards change?
Part of the STARS Revisioning process is making sure that our limited resources are being used as effectively as possible to provide quality early learning opportunities especially to at-risk children. There may be some adjustments to financial supports to meet that objective.
►    If I am an accredited Program or a Head Start Program how will my quality be assessed?
Head Start Providers and Providers who have demonstrated high levels of quality through a different monitoring process will have an alternate pathway to support their movement up the quality continuum. This alternate methodology will be determined based on a crosswalk of the new STARS Indicators and various accreditation models. The goal is to reduce any duplicative work on the providers part.
►    Will programs be grandfathered into the new system?
Yes. Programs that have received their STAR level prior to July 1, 2017 will maintain their level until it expires or until they decide to raise their level or have a situation that removes their rating. Programs entering the system after July 1, 2017 will utilize the revised system.

The STARS Revisioning work is available on the PAKeys website, including the work of the individual committees HERE . OCDEL encourages providers with questions or comments to contact them at

STARS Updates from the Mid-State RK

STARS Movement

Providers may still apply to increase their STAR level in this year rather than waiting for the new standards for 2017-18. If you increase your STAR level this fiscal year, you can maintain that increased STAR in 2017-18. You may also receive the benefits of increased tiered reimbursement and grants and awards by increasing your STAR level now.

Goal Planning & Continuous Quality Improvement 

If you have already renewed, already submitted your grant and are looking at what lies ahead, consider setting up a Planning Meeting with your Specialist. Typically completed about six months prior to your expiration, we are now scheduling Planning Visits for all sites expiring in July and August 2017. These meetings will be focused on your goals, strengths, challenges, and how we can best support you with your over all quality improvement. 

Health & Safety News - Anne Dodds 

ECELS Health Capsule: New American Academy of Pediatrics Infant Safe Sleep Recommendations and CFOC3 Update 

New recommendations for prevention of sleep-related infant deaths have been released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Infants should be put to sleep on their backs for the first year of life. Children who roll over on their own after being put down in the back-to-sleep position do not need to be repositioned. Infants should sleep on a firm and flat sleep surface, without any loose bedding, and not in any type of seating device. Infants should not be placed to sleep on soft bedding or soft furniture. Overheating and head covering should be avoided. Additional recommendations for SIDS reduction include breastfeeding; routine immunization; and offering a pacifier at nap and bedtime. Families should be advised to avoid prenatal and any later exposure to smoke, use of alcohol and illicit drugs and bed sharing with their infants.

The AAP urges child care providers to model safe sleep practices and offer supervised “tummy time” when babies are awake. Tummy time promotes healthy development of neck muscles and helps prevent flattening of the back of the head. To read more about the new recommendations, go to To read the actual policy statement, go to

View the updated Caring For Our Children, Third Edition (CFOC3) standard at Standard Safe Sleep Practices and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)/SIDS Risk Reduction

For help implementing the new standards, contact ECELS at or 1-800-243-2357

Family Provider News

New Questions on Child Care Certification Application
Last month the Office of Child Development & Early Learning (OCDEL) rolled out its new "Universal Application" for certification for all new and renewing child care providers -- formerly there were separate applications for Center/Group Homes and Family Child Care Homes (FCCH). The universal application now encompasses information that was on both of the former applications.
All questions on the application must be answered.

Infant & Toddler News - Kim Alloway 


Do you ever get frustrated trying to hear a voice in a noisy restaurant or a crowded party? Babies have more difficulty distinguishing foreground sounds (such as calling his name), and background noise (TV, radio, or loud voices).  A quieter setting allows them to hear language clearly, which stimulates the brain pathways for developing language. Providing a quiet environment for play during the first year(s) can actually allow those discriminating skills to develop more easily.
Music is a wonderful and necessary  experience for babies, but have a separate music time where you focus on the songs, bang to the beat and sing along. Music experiences also help our babies learn math, social studies and body awareness.  And while we sometimes hear “music can help soothe the savage beast”, we also need to remember that quiet time and turning off florescent lights can help calm babies and toddlers when life gets a little chaotic.
In a quiet environment, very young babies are capable of hearing tiny differences between sounds. A researcher at Brown University showed that one-month-old babies could hear the difference between a "p" and "b" sound, which are very close acoustically. If you provide an environment with a quiet background, these discriminative abilities have a better chance to operate.
Excerpted and adapted from Sherry Artemenko, MA-CCC, a Speech-language pathologist and founder of

SACC News 

Save the Date - SACC Mini-Conference 

April 1, 2017 

STEM Micro-Badging 

The Pennsylvania School-Age Child Care Alliance (PENN SACCA ) is looking for programs to  join a pilot beginning in February and ending in October. We will use blended learning to  develop and recognize STEM teaching skills with the goal of empowering afterschool and  summer program staff to deliver more and better STEM-related learning opportunities. Each  staff will earn up to 5.5 PQAS hours and upon successful completion a STEM Micro-Badge.  Badges will be stackable and can lead to a STEM Credential.
Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting!

Grant Closure - join us to review the Receipt Splitting Chart, learn how to keep your receipts organized, and to find out what you need to do to CLOSE your grant!

  • 2/7/17 at Panera Bread on Jonestown Rd in Harrisburg at 9:30 - with Corrie 
  •  2/8/17 at Lancaster Penn State Coop at 12:20 - with Jenn & Alyssa
  • 2/11/17 at Panera Bread on Queen St in York at 11:00 with Jen D.  
  • 3/9/17 at Lebanon YMCA at 1:00 - with Corrie 

Art for Infants & Toddlers with Kim Alloway - designed for Directors to learn what types of art activities should be happening in your Infant/Toddler classrooms. PD Hours will be provided.

  • 2/8/17 at Christ Lutheran, Dallastown at 1:30 - Carrie
  • 2/9/17 at Camp Hill Giant at 12:30 - with Christina 

Director Roundtable & Parent to Parent Overview - 2/7/17 at Hoss's in Gettysburg at 12:30 - with Christina 

Care Plans with Anne Dodds - 2/15/17 at Union County Library at 10:00 - with Michaelle 

Professional Development Updates - register on the PD Registry at the PA Keys website

Training Lists & Updated Events 

Core Series Training

  • ERS Foundations in Lititz on 2/20/17 from 10-12
  • ECERS-3 in Lititz on 2/20/17 from 1-4 
  • ECERS-3 in York on 2/20/17 from 9:30-12:30 

Other Training Organizations & Online Training 

Webinar Highlight

Grant Reminders
The deadline to submit your MERA grant request is 10 days after your STARS Renewal or Move up date. If you have already renewed your STAR level for 2016-17, please submit your grant request  electronically  to your specialist ASAP. If you have not yet renewed and plan on requesting a grant, please contact your specialist to renew now!

Grant Closures – If you have received your grant funds, please keep in mind that you must CLOSE your grant within 90 days of the date on the check that you received. There are several Grant closure meetings scheduled (see above).  If you would like to set up an individual Grant Closure meeting, please contact your specialist to do so.  This should be done no later than 3 weeks prior to your deadline date (in case you need to get more receipts/documentation).

Resources from our other ECE Partners

The Pennsylvania Departments of  Education, in partnership with  the Pennsylvania Department of
Agriculture and Penn State University  is pleased to announce “Farm to  School: Making the Connection”
Training Sessions. Five half–day  regional sessions will be offered in  February. These sessions are designed
to bring together school food  service directors as well as sponsors  of Summer Food Service Programs
and Child and Adult Care Food  Programs with farmers and distributors who are able to provide local food for school,  summer food service, and child care food programs.

T.E.A.C.H. Scholarships STILL Available!

PACCA is still accepting scholarship applications for semesters within the current fiscal year.  If you and/or your staff were enrolled for the Fall 2016 semester or are planning to enroll for upcoming semesters, submit an application today!  On-line options are available for the CDA Credential and Associate’s Degree. For more information or to find out how to get started, contact a Scholarship Counselor at (717) 657-9000.  Or download application at

Newsletters and Community Resources 
Thank you for all you do for children, families, and your community by being part of the STARS program!


Mid-State Regional Key/Child Care Consultants

(717) 854-2273 or (800) 864-4925