Status Summary

ESSHB 1491 was heard, amended and passed in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, was pulled in Senate Rules, and voted on by the Senate on April 9th. Differences between the version of the bill that passed out of the House and the version that passed out of the Senate went into a “conference committee.” This small group, made up of House and Senate members, Rs and Ds, worked to resolve their differences and bring an agreed upon substitute back to both houses for final passage. The bill was signed by the Governor on July 6 and went into effect October 9, 2015.

Legislative Session

2015

Sponsor

Rep. Kagi

HB 1491 is the companion (same as) to SB 5452.

As amended by the ELHS Committee: The substitute bill allows tribes to govern participation in the Early Achievers program through an interlocal agreement between the tribe and the DEL. The agreement exempts tribal child care facilities and early learning programs from posting their rating on the DEL website if they provide proper notification and access to parents and guardians on their Early Achievers program rating level.

Additionally, the bill as amended allows the DEL to implement a process to review and accept national accreditation standards as qualifications for the Early Achievers program ratings if those standards are found by the DEL to meet or exceed the current program standards.

HB 1491 now requires the DEL to prioritize authorized resources to assist providers rating at a level 2 to reach a level 3 in the Early Achievers program. Finally, the substitute bill allows sectarian public and private organizations to participate as ECEAP providers and requires the Subcommittee to submit annual reports to the DEL and the Legislature beginning January 1, 2016.

Second SHB 1491 as amended by the House Appropriation Committee: The second substitute bill requires (1) the DEL to accept nationally accredited programs with standards that meet or exceed the Early Achievers program standards as a qualification for Early Achievers program ratings and specifies that eligibility for the Early Achievers program is not subject to bargaining, (2) clarifies that the legislature has the authority to make programmatic modifications to licensed child care and early learning programs, (3) twelve-month authorizations for Working Connection Child Care subsidy are effective January 1, 2016, (4) the requirement for ECEAP providers to maintain a full day option is removed, (5) requires the DEL to: (a) conduct an analysis of state-funded early learning subsidy rates and market rates of licensed child care homes and centers that serve children ages birth to 3; and (b) make biennial recommendations to the Legislature regarding these rates and compensation models that would attract and retain high quality early learning professionals. Finally (6) it removes the requirement that the DEL implement an electronic time and attendance records system.

Second SHB 1491 as amended and passed on the Floor:

(1) Retains the provisions of the underlying second substitute with the following changes: (a) Replaces the requirement that participants continually advance from level 1 to level 5 in the Early Achievers program with the requirement that participants continually advance within the Early Achievers program. (b) Allows but does not require the Department of Early Learning (DEL) to charge a fee for optional reratings of Early Achievers program participants conducted outside the established rating cycle. (c) Requires the DEL to consult with the Early Achievers Review Subcommittee on all substantial policy changes to the Early Achievers program. (d) Extends the deadlines by one year for existing child care providers serving nonschool age children and receiving Working Connections Child Care subsidy payments. (e) Requires the DEL to review available research and best practices literature on cultural competency in early learning settings. (f) Requires the DEL to award 50 percent of the contracted slots for children birth to age three until August 1, 2017.

(2) Creates a Joint Select Committee on the Early Achievers program to review the following: (a) The demand and availability of licensed or certified child care family homes and centers, approved Early Childhood Educational and Assistance programs, Head Start programs, and family, friend, and neighbor caregivers by geographic region, including rural and low-income areas; (b) the geographic distribution of these child care programs by type of program, enrollment in the Early Achievers program, and Early Achievers rating levels; and (c) the demand and availability of these child care programs for major ethnic populations.

By December 1, 2017 the Early Achievers Joint Select Committee shall make recommendations to the legislature on the following:

  • The sufficiency of funding provided for the early achievers program.
  • The need for targeted funding for specific geographic regions.
  • Whether to modify the deadlines established in RCW 43.215.135 for purposes of the early achievers program mandate established in RCW 43.215.100.

Membership of the Joint Select Committee on the Early Achievers program includes the following: (a) Chair and ranking minority member of the House of Representatives Appropriations committee; (b) Chair and ranking minority member of the Senate Ways and Means committee; (c) Chair and ranking minority member of the House of Representatives Early Learning and Human Services committee; and (d) Chair and ranking minority member of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee.

(3) Funds for the protocol [for the encouragement of culturally diverse and low-income center and family home child care provider participation] shall be appropriated separately from other funds appropriated for the department and may not be used for any other purpose. Funds for the protocol should be considered ongoing for purposes of future budget requests.

(4) Extends the deadline, from February 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019 for existing child care providers serving non-school age children and receiving state subsidy payments to rate at a level 3 or higher in the Early Achievers program. If the provider does not rate a level 3 by December 31, 2019 the provider must complete remedial activities with the Department of Early Learning and rate at a level 3 or higher no later than June 30, 2020.

As amended by the Early Learning and K-12 Committee, the bill: 

  • Specifies that early learning programs not receiving state funds are not required to participate in Early Achievers (EA).
  • Identifies the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction along with the Department of Early Learning (DEL) to jointly design a plan to incorporate school age child care providers into EA and toimplement a pilot program.
  • Adds that DEL must streamline and eliminate duplication between EA standards and state and child care rules in order to reduce costs associated with the EA rating cycle and child care licensing.
  • Requires DEL to produce the single set of licensing standards within DEL's available appropriations.
  • Adds a provision stating that private schools operating early learning programs and not receiving state subsidy payments shall be subject only to state licensing requirements necessary to assure thehealth and safety of all students in the state and to assure a sufficient early childhood education to meet usual requirements needed for transition into elementary school. The state, and any agency thereof, shall not restrict or dictate any specific educational or other programs for early learning programs operated by private schools except for programs that receive state subsidy payments.
  • Adds a section that amends current law regarding the director of DEL's duties. For child care programs serving only school-age children and operating in the same facilities used by public or private schools, the director must not impose additional health and safety licensing requirements related to the physical facility beyond the health and safety standards established by the State Board of Health for primary and secondary schools pursuant to its authority in RCW 43.20.050.
  • Specifies that new child care providers, existing Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) providers, and new ECEAP providers that must complete remedial activities and rate at acertain level must do so within six months "of beginning remedial activities."
  • Specifies that DEL must "periodically" collect data to determine the demand for full day programming for ECEAP. DEL must include its findings in the annual report.
  • Indicates that DEL must develop a pathway for "licensed or certified child care centers and homes" to administer ECEAP.
  • Adds a provision stating that licensed or certified child care centers and homes that administer ECEAP must rate at a level 4 or 5 within eighteen months of the start date of the ECEAP contract. If an ECEAP provider rates below a level 4 within eighteen months, the provider must complete remedial activities and rate at a level 4 or 5 within six months of beginning remedial activities.
  • Removes the requirement that public or private organizations be "nonsectarian" when reviewing ECEAP provider applications.
  • Indicates that DEL must adopt rules pertaining to absences and de-enrollment procedures within DEL's appropriations.
  • Removes the requirement that DEL in collaboration with the EA Review Subcommittee submit a report regarding certain topics every four years.
  • Adds topics to the annual early learning program implementation report that DEL must complete. These topics are the number of contracted slots that use both ECEAP funding and WCCC funding, an analysis of the demand for full-day programming for ECEAP, and a description of the EA extension protocol.
  • Removes a reference to an ECEAP statute from the contracted child care slots and vouchers section.
  • Removes the section amending DEL's duties.
  • Adds a section that requires DEL and the EA Review Subcommittee to complete an annual progress report on EA. The report must include a number of elements.
  • States that the EA Review Subcommittee's review topics must be included in the annual progress report.
  • Adds definitions for ECEAP contractor and ECEAP provider.
  • Changes the definition for extended day program and full day program.
  • Adds an effective date of January 1, 2016, for the section regarding WCCC reporting requirements.
  • Changes the order of some sections.
  • Clarifies that for new child care providers receiving Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidy the enrollment deadline for the EA is within thirty days of receiving the initial subsidy payment.
  • Clarifies that for new ECEAP providers the enrollment deadline for EA is within thirty days of the ECEAP contract start date.
  • Changes references from extended day programming to extended day program.
  • Delays the collection of longitudinal, student-level data on all
  • children attending a WCCC program until the completion of an electronic time and attendance record system.
  • Delays the Washington State Institute for Public Policy reporting deadlines by one year.
  • Makes it voluntary that the DEL employ a combination of vouchers and contracted slots for the WCCC program.
  • Replaces the term "child care" with the term "early learning education" in the definition for "extended day program."
  • Replaces the term "child care" with the term "early learning education" in the definition for "full day program."
  • Replaces the term "child care" with the term "early learning education" in the definition for "part day program."
  • Defines "private school" to mean a private school approved by the state under chapter 28A.195 RCW.
  • Modifies the definition for "nonschool age child" to mean a child who is six years or younger and who is not enrolled in a public or private school.
  • Modifies the definition for "school age child" to mean a child who is between the ages of five years and twelve years and is attending a public or private school or is receiving home-based instruction under chapter 28A.200 RCW.
  • Allows the members of the Joint Select Committee on EA to appoint a designee to serve in their place.
  • Specifies that the EA review subcommittee must include parents of children participating in early learning programs including WCCC and ECEAP.

Engrossed second substitute HB 1491 as amended (a striking amendment) by Committee on Ways and Means does the following:

  • Specifies that early learning programs not receiving state funds are not required to participate in Early Achievers (EA).
  • Identifies the OSPI along with the DEL to jointly design a plan to incorporate school age child care providers into EA and to implement a pilot program.
  • Adds that DEL must streamline and eliminate duplication between EA standards and state and child care rules in order to reduce costs associated with the EA rating cycle and child care licensing.
  • Requires DEL to produce the single set of licensing standards within DEL's available appropriations.
  • Adds a provision stating that private schools operating early learning programs and not receiving state subsidy payments shall be subject only to minimum health and safety standards.
  • Identifies that the state shall not dictate or restrict educational programming for early learning programs operated by private schools, except in the case that the private school takes state subsidy.
  • Adds a section that amends current law regarding the director of DEL's duties. For child care programs serving only school-age children and operating in the same facilities used by public or private schools, the director must not impose additional health and safety licensing requirements related to the physical facility beyond the health and safety standards established by the State Board of Health for primary and secondary schools pursuant to its authority in RCW 43.20.050.
  • Specifies that new child care providers, existing Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) providers, and new ECEAP providers that must complete remedial activities and rate at a certain level must do so within six months "of beginning remedial activities."
  • Specifies that DEL must "periodically" collect data to determine the demand for full day programming for ECEAP. DEL must include its findings in the annual report.
  • Indicates that DEL must develop a pathway for "licensed or certified child care centers and homes" to administer ECEAP.
  • Adds a provision stating that licensed or certified child care centers and homes that administer ECEAP must rate at a level 4 or 5 within eighteen months of the start date of the ECEAP contract. If an ECEAP provider rates below a level 4 within eighteen months, the provider must complete remedial activities and rate at a level 4 or 5 within six months of beginning remedial activities.
  • Removes the requirement that public or private organizations be "nonsectarian" when reviewing ECEAP provider applications.
  • Indicates that DEL must adopt rules pertaining to absences and de-enrollment procedures within DEL's appropriations.
  • Removes the requirement that DEL in collaboration with the EA Review Subcommittee submit a report regarding certain topics every four years.
  • Adds topics to the annual early learning program implementation report that DEL must complete. These topics are the number of contracted slots that use both ECEAP funding and WCCC funding, an analysis of the demand for full-day programming for ECEAP, and a description of the EA extension protocol.
  • Removes a reference to an ECEAP statute from the contracted child care slots and vouchers section.
  • Removes the section amending DEL's duties.
  • Adds a section that requires DEL and the EA Review Subcommittee to complete an annual progress report on EA. The report must include a number of elements.
  • States that the EA Review Subcommittee's review topics must be included in the annual progress report.
  • Adds definitions for ECEAP contractor and ECEAP provider.
  • Changes the definition for extended day program and full day program.
  • Changes the order of some sections.
  • Clarifies that for new child care providers receiving Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidy the enrollment deadline for the EA is within thirty days of receiving the initial subsidy payment.
  • Clarifies that for new ECEAP providers the enrollment deadline for EA is within thirty days of the ECEAP contract start date.
  • Changes references from extended day programming to extended day program.
  • Delays the collection of longitudinal, student-level data on all children attending a WCCC program until the completion of an electronic time and attendance record system.
  • Delays the Washington State Institute for Public Policy reporting deadlines by one year.
  • Makes it voluntary that the DEL employ a combination of vouchers and contracted slots for the WCCC program.
  • Replaces the term "child care" with the term "early learning education" in the definition for "extended day program."
  • Replaces the term "child care" with the term "early learning education" in the definition for "full day program."
  • Replaces the term "child care" with the term "early learning education" in the definition for "part day program."
  • Defines "private school" to mean a private school approved by the state under chapter 28A.195 RCW.
  • Modifies the definition for "nonschool age child" to mean a child who is six years or younger and who is not enrolled in a public or private school.
  • Modifies the definition for "school age child" to mean a child who is between the ages of five years and twelve years and is attending a public or private school or is receiving home-based instruction under chapter 28A.200 RCW.
  • Allows the members of the Joint Select Committee on EA to appoint a designee to serve in their place.
  • Specifies that the EA review subcommittee must include parents of children participating in early learning programs including WCCC and ECEAP.
  • Restores current law so WCCC subsidy is effective for twelve months unless a change in circumstances necessitates reauthorization sooner than twelve months. The twelve-month certification applies only if the enrollments in the child care subsidy or working connections child care program are capped.
  • Requires DEL to adopt rules that provide WCCC authorizations for up to ninety days, which do not need to be consecutive, when a recipient experiences a gap in his or her employment or approved activity during a twelve-month period. In order for the recipient to continue to be authorized for child care during the ninety days, the recipient must be looking for another job or have verbal or written assurance from the recipient's employer or approved activity that the employment or approved activity will resume within the ninety days.
  • Restores current law that WCCC applicants or recipients notify DSHS, within ten days, about any significant change related to the number of child care hours the applicant or recipient needs, cost sharing, or eligibility. Allows the notification to be in writing or verbal.
  • The following are subject to appropriation: Professional development and coaching opportunities; nonschool age pilot; single source web site for child care provider rating and licensing information; professional development pathway; substitute pool, needs-based grants and materials, and assessments for low-income and diverse providers; tiered reimbursement; contracted slots; data collection; Early Learning Advisory Committee, subcommittee.