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Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA Issue Recommendations for Pennsylvania Stimulus Package to Support Child Care Programs Also, More COVID-19 Guidance

Dear early care and education supporters,

PennAEYC and its advocacy partners in the Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA campaigns issued recommendations yesterday to ensure that Pennsylvania’s early care and education infrastructure is ready to enable parents to return to work quickly once the COVID-19 crisis is abated. We are urging the General Assembly and the Wolf Administration to take swift action on our proposal. Know that these recommendations were informed by your feedback to us and our partners! You can access all the details of the plan in this message and we encourage you to take a minute and advocate with us by asking the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf to make child care part of a stimulus package!

In addition, we wanted to share a number of new announcements from OCDEL and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Please let us know how we can continue to help you and we’ll continue to share key updates!

Stay healthy and safe!

The PennAEYC Team 

Start Strong PA & Pre-K for PA Stimulus Recommendations
We are encouraging the PA General Assembly and Wolf Administration to enact the following emergency appropriations and legislation as part of any stimulus package to stabilize our early learning system and enable Pennsylvania’s economic recovery:
  1. Continue to pay child care subsidies and contract payments to Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Programs for the duration of the crisis.
  2. Provide $17 million to compensate for the share of revenues that would otherwise have been collected as child care subsidy copays until child care services are restored to normal.
  3. Provide $100 million to support the continued financial viability of child care providers that rely in part, or in full, on tuition payments directly from parents. 
  4. Appropriate $50 million to extend Pre-K Counts and Head Start programs through the summer to stem early childhood learning losses for students. 
  5. Passing legislation to impose an immunity from tort liability associated with claims related to COVID-19 to all Commonwealth-certified child care providers that are authorized to continue to operate pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order/Declaration of Emergency.
  6. Prohibiting any adjustments to employer unemployment compensation experience ratings associated with any claims paid as a result of child care centers’ compliance with Commonwealth COVID-19 guidance or directives.
  7. Decreasing the risk of subsequent infection by requiring every child care and other early childhood education program to attend free training on the practices needed to sanitize all spaces in which children and early learning staff are working before programs can be reopened.

For more information check out the press release and detailed recommendations .

OCDEL Issues New COVID-19 Guidance
Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program – OCDEL issued a new FAQ
providing guidance to these programs. Most importantly, funding will continue to flow to programs regardless of whether they are opened or closed.
Updated Guidance on Child Care Subsidy Copayments –OCDEL updated this announcement to clarify that if a provider continues to operate under a waiver or as a group or family child care home in a residential setting, the provider may collect copayments from families whose children are actually in care. A provider who remains open may not collect the copayment from families whose children are not currently receiving care. New information is in red type.
Updated Guidance on Reporting Child Care Closures – OCDEL issued an updated announcement to clarify procedures for programs operating with an approved waiver that have decided to close and other details. New information is in red type.

Child and Adult Care Food Program Waivers
The Pennsylvania Department of Education shared information that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released three nationwide waivers that impact the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). These waivers provide flexibility that many CACFP sponsors were requesting due to mandatory closures of licensed child care facilities due to COVID-19. Many non-school aged children across the Commonwealth have access to meals through non-congregate meal programs being offered by schools; however, CACFP sponsors asked to also continue to feed the children who are normally in their enrollment, as well as adults enrolled in the adult portion of the CACFP. Check our more details here.

PennAEYC COVID-19 Webpage
PennAEYC has developed a COVID-19 page on our website with links to our previous e-messages and to OCDEL announcements and guidance. There are also links to NAEYC and other online resources.

Key Resources
We encourage you to continue to consult these resources for updates on COVID-19, information on staying healthy, and updates on the situation in Pennsylvania.

We also encourage you to visit  for helpful resources that you can use with families and staff to reduce the level of anxiety, communicate what is known to be most appropriate health, hygiene and safety practices, as well as interim guidance for child care businesses.