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

April 14, 2010

Representative Ray Rapp

Senator Dan Blue-Presiding

  1. Early Childhood Programs should be administered under one entity, but due to the time constraints this will not be implemented by July 1, 2010. Representative Rapp is committed to achieving this recommendation and reiterated this to the Task Force members.
  2. NC DPI should restructure More at Four payments to Local Partnerships. Private providers would be reimbursed at a higher rate than public providers. This should help in reducing the per slot funding for administrative purposes. Savings estimated of $5 million which could then be used to serve additional children or enhance rates.
  3. The Division of Child Development should partner with other state, private, and local entities to implement a consolidated electronic benefits transfer system. The electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system should be operational in the next year and More at Four is encouraged to become part of the system for payment purposes. Draft Bill proposed to facilitate the implementation of the EBT system and requires all end users to document savings related to implementation.
  4. DPI and NCHHS should consolidate the regulatory oversight of More at Four Services provided in a private sector setting. The task force recommends NCHHS and DPI execute an MOU by July 1, 2010 to initiate the new oversight approach with full implementation January 1, 2011. This will allow for the elimination of some positions and or a transfer of funds and positions from Office of Early Learning to Division of Child Development.  Draft Bill proposed.
  5. DPI and NCHHS should consolidate the Transcript Evaluation of Early Childhood Educators. The NC Institute for Child Development Professionals provides a centralized service for certification, based on educational achievement and training of care teachers. Over the past five years they have certified over 8,500 teachers, which is only one-fourth of the childhood educators. The task force encourages all child care teachers and More at Four teachers to use this service and that it become the standard used by employers.
  6. Smart Start and DCD should leverage additional federal funding. The task force recommends all agencies review the child health consultant services and all service provide by the NC Partnership for children to determine if there are programs or service that would qualify for Medicaid funding.
  7. An Annual Consolidated Report for all Major Early Childhood Programs should be created. The task force determined that early care and education services have an annual budget of $1.1 billion in State and Federal resources. The request is for an annual report including the number of individuals who apply for services but are denied due to budget constraints. Draft Bill proposed.
  8. The NC General Assembly should create a Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Consolidation of Early Childhood Education and Care. The task force believes additional joint oversight would provide the best pathway to a unified early childhood education and care program under one entity. They also believe this oversight might lead to additional coordination and integration. Draft Bill proposed.
  9. The Legislative Study Committee on the Consolidation of Early Childhood Education and Care should closely coordinate its activities with the Governor’s State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care. The task force understands that it is important to ensure the work of the study committee be coordinated with the son-to-be created Governor’s State advisory Council on early Childhood Education and Care (ECAC). Communication between these two groups is critical to have an understanding of how the implementation group intends to carry out the ECAC’s policy decisions.
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