HB 1391 establishes improvements to the Early Achievers Program that require additional financial support and advises setting child care subsidy rates at the 75th percentile of private market rates.
This legislature further states that the objectives of the Early Achievers Program also includes providing professional development and strong training to child care and early education providers.
H1391 intends to raise base subsidy rates for licensed child care centers and family homes to the 75th percentile for infants and toddlers by considering rates for providers serving these young children. Further, the legislature intends to:
§ Provide adequate funding to increase needs-based grants, scholarships, and professional development assistance; as well as
§ Reduce Early Achievers coaching ratios in order to support providers in continuous improvement.
HB 1391 specifies that while there are 5 primary levels in the Early Achievers Program, the DCYF must establish an intermediate level that is between level 3 and 4, while serving to assist participants transitioning to level 4. Moreover, 1391 also extends the rate requirements from 12 months to 24 months.
By December 1st, 2019, the Department must:
§ Implement a strong cross-accreditation process with multiple pathways that allows a provider to earn equivalent Early Achievers credit resulting from accreditation by high quality national organizations.
§ Analyze consumer income and copay requirements in the Working Connections Child Care Program and report such recommendations to the governor and legislature.
§ Submit a plan to pay providers an enhanced rate, award additional Early Achievers points, and create a corresponding trauma-informed care designation for providers serving behaviorally challenged children.
§ Propose recommendations to the governor and legislature related to paying child care subsidy providers a set monthly rate rather than a daily rate.
By December 31st, 2021, the WA State Institute for Public Policy shall:
§ Update the outcome evaluation of the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program; and
§ Report to the governor and legislature on the outcomes of program participants.
Finally, this act would require DCYF to adopt new administrative policies in the Early Achievers Program, detailed in the bill.
*Companion to SB 5484
Updated on 4.12.19:
- Provides that a re-rating must reset the rating cycle timeline for participants, rather than describing a re-rating as a renewal;
- Requires the DCYF to submit a detailed plan to the Governor and the Legislature by December 1, 2019, to implement a cross-accreditation process, rather than implementing the process by that date;
- Requires an ECEAP provider who moves to a new facility to notify the DCYF of the move within 6 months in order to retain their existing rating. The EA program must conduct an observational visit to ensure the new classroom space is of comparable or improved quality. If the ECEAP provider fails to notify the DCYF in a timely manner, the EA rating must be changed from the posted rating level to "Participating, Not Yet Rated," and the provider will cease to receive tiered reimbursement incentives until a new rating is completed;
- Removes references to completing Level 2 activities prior to rating at or requesting to be rated at a Level 3;
- Provides that if a provider who is required to rate or request to be rated at a Level 3 by December 1, 2019, does not meet this deadline or the associated deadline related to remedial activities, the provider is no longer eligible to receive state subsidy; and
- Removes the limitation of needs-based grants to Level 2 providers and allows needs based grants to be used for environmental improvements and focused infant-toddler improvements.
Senate Amendments (Updated on 4.12.19):
- Makes the following requirements of DCYF subject to appropriations:
- Submitting a detailed plan to implement a robust cross-accreditation process;
- Submitting recommendations for mitigating the cliff effect;
- Submitting a plan to pay providers an enhanced rate, award additional early achievers points, and create a trauma-informed care designation for providers serving behaviorally challenged children; and
- Adopting administrative policies to eliminate rating scale barriers and weight early achievers points to incentivize service to infants and toddlers, remove barriers to timely approvals for one-on-one behavioral support assistants when requested by a provider, and require trauma-informed care training for raters and coaches.
- Requires DCYF, within existing funding, to adopt administrative policies for flexible scheduling of data collecting and rating visits, prioritize re-ratings for providers rated level 2 or level 3, provide continuous and robust post-rating feedback to providers, and submit recommendations related to paying providers a monthly rather than a daily rate.
- Makes the WSIPP update of the ECEAP outcome evaluation subject to appropriation.
- Adds language requiring the Cost of Child Care Regulations Work Group to review the benefits of regulations on child care businesses as well as the financial impacts.
- Requires DCYF to submit a progress report by July 1, 2020, and a final report by July 1, 2021, instead of one report due in 2019, that includes recommendations regarding Working Connections Child Care and ECEAP.
- Makes changes to the Cost of Child Care Regulations Work Group:
- Specifies that the work group must meet six, instead of five, times;
- Provides that the meetings must occur by January 31, 2020, instead of November 30, 2019
- Requires the work group to submit a report by May 31, 2020, instead of December 31, 2019; and
Expires the work group on July 1, 2020, instead of January 10, 2020.