Our commonwealth needs to make further investments and improve policies for the children and families served in the early care and education system. Read below for updates and information about Pennsylvania-focused policy and advocacy.

Recommendations for Infant and Toddler Contracts in Pennsylvania: A Model to Strengthen and Stabilize the Child Care System

 
PennAEYC, Children First, Trying Together and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children released recommendations for Pennsylvania related to infant and toddler contracted slots to expand and improve the program. Pennsylvania is well poised to expand contracts for infants and toddlers based on the Infant and Contracted Slots Pilot and can serve as a model for strengthening and stabilizing the child care system. These recommendations highlight the policy goals for the expansion of contract-based slots for infants and toddlers and offers well-researched financing and monitoring recommendations to ensure accountability for the system and use of public dollars. Lastly, the recommendations include ways to strengthen equity in a contracts-based model to ensure funding reaches all Early Learning Resource Center regions.
Read the full report here  Recommendations for Infant and Toddler Contracts in Pennsylvania: A Model to Strengthen and Stabilize the Child Care System

Statewide Advocacy Agenda to Improve Part C Early Intervention Services for Pennsylvania

PennAEYC and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children released a comprehensive report, Statewide Advocacy Agenda to Improve Part C Early Intervention Services for Pennsylvania, which reviewed the data and current practices in Pennsylvania’s system. There are five core recommendations:

  • Serving all children who can benefit from Part C EI through outreach, referral, enrollment
  • Ensuring Part C EI services offer the quality needed to make a difference
  • Achieving equitable access in Part C EI
  • Addressing mental health needs of infants and toddlers in Part C EI
  • Partnering with Medicaid to improve Part C EI

Read the full report here Statewide Advocacy Agenda to Improve Part C Early Intervention Services for Pennsylvania - JUNE 2022 FINAL ONLINE

 

State Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-2023

The final FY2022-23 state budget provided the following investments in early childhood care and education:
 
Pre-K - The budget provides a total increase of $79 million for high-quality pre-k. This includes increases of $60 million for Pre-K Counts and $19 million for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, serving 2,300 additional children statewide and providing rate increases for programs. This investment continues our bipartisan tradition of expanding access to high-quality pre-k and will help to reach the more than 100,000 eligible three- and four-year-olds who currently do not have access to these programs. 
 
Child Care
One-Time Federal Stabilization Funds for Retention and Recruitment - The budget provides $90 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for the “Child Care Stabilization Program” to provide one-time recruitment and retention payments to qualified child care professionals. These payments may not exceed $2,500 per child care professional. The Department of Human Services (DHS) must begin to accept applications no later than January 1, 2023 and process them on a rolling basis. We will monitor progress on kicking off this program and be in touch as we learn more from DHS.
 
State Funding Update – The budget provides an increase of $25 million in the Child Care Services line item, allowing families enrolled in the child care subsidy program to continue receiving the benefit up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level or 85 percent of the State Median Income, whichever is lower. The current exit eligibility limit is 235 percent of the federal poverty level. DHS must determine copayment amounts for families in the new eligibility group. The Child Care Assistance line item was level-funded.
 
Child Care and Dependent Tax Credit - A new Child Care and Dependent Care tax credit was established equal to 30% of the federal credit to support working families.
 
Early Intervention
Infant/Toddler Early Intervention (Part C) received an increase of $9.3 million under the Department of Human Services (this figure also appears as $12.2 million when stimulus dollars are not included). Early Intervention (Part B) under the Department of Education for 3-5-year-olds received an increase of $10 million. 
 
Evidenced-Based Home Visiting
The Community-Based Family Centers line item received an increase of $15 million which allows an additional 3,800 pregnant women, young children and their families to receive evidence-based home visiting services. The Nurse-Family Partnership line received an increase of $1 million to serve nearly 200 more families.