Joint Legislative Task Force on the Consolidation of Early Childhood Education and Care Meeting Summary

March 10, 2010

Representative Ray Rapp-Presiding

Senator Dan Blue

Presentation by North Carolina’s Childhood Leaders:

Ms. Sheila Hoyle, Southwestern Child Development Commission

Mr. John Pruette, Executive Director, North Carolina Office of School Readiness, DPI

Dr. Deborah Cassidy, Director, Division of Child Development, DHHS

Ms. Stephanie Fanjul, Executive Director, North Carolina Partnership for Children

Ms. Sue Russell, President, Child Care Services Association

Their presentation addressed nine topics including the five major principals and the strengths and advantages of the current system. The leading principals are to build and leverage the strengths of the current system, invest strategically for children in time of scarcity, create statewide implementation of research-based programs and promising practices, seek equitable distribution of resources for and delivery of core services, and to carefully consider and plan each strategy with attention to implementation to assure system and child benefits and minimize the potential harm.  The advantages in the current system are the shared vision among key partners, progress in improving quality in early care and education settings for all children, greater access for children with special needs to higher quality and inclusive early childhood programs, implementation of More at Four, major improvements in early childhood workforce, and the engagement of private sector and local communities to raise awareness and funding for early childhood services.

Strategies were also outlined for the restructuring of the More at Four payments, consolidated payment function and the consolidated regulatory function. Also, presented were strategies for the development of a single portal of entry for transcript evaluation that are aligned across the various systems and require the certification across all systems be fee based. Included in the discussion were recommendations to use Smart Start funds to leverage Medicaid funding for 20 additional Child Care Health Consultants and develop a coordinated plan between Division of Public Health (DPH), Division of Child Development (DCD), and North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC), to deploy additional CCHCs across North Carolina. The success of the system is attributed to the continued collaboration of key partners, the required cross-departmental accountability for children, providers, and teachers, leverage of each administrative home to assure compliance with federal and state requirements, continue to identify cost efficiencies and preserve investments for young children. These investments for 2009-2010 from state and federal amounted to $1,095,369,119. This group will continue its efforts to find savings, but they want the savings to be put back into the system to provide more resources and slots to serve the children. Representative Glazier expressed concern about how long it would take to implement these strategies and encouraged the group to move quickly.

Next Meeting: April 14

Task Force Discussion of Presentations: Early Childhood Leaders, NCACDSS Proposal.

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