Bills We Supported
HB 389 –
Regional Early Education System and Overpayment Fund | Delegate Bulova
Status: Passed House of Delegates and Senate and signed into law.
Summary: Strengthens Virginia’s early childhood education system through more robust public-private regional infrastructure and improvements to the Child Care Subsidy Program.
Child Care Subsidy Eligibility for Armed Forces | Delegate Brewer; Senator Bryce Reeves
Status: Bills are amended to a study of future eligibility and have been approved by the relevant committees.
Summary: Extends the Child Care Subsidy Program eligibility to all members of the Armed Forces.
SB 574 –
Streamline Background Checks | Senator Mason
Status: Approved by the Senate (40-0) but failed on the House floor. The state Department of Social Services was asked to look at ways to speed up the process to conduct background checks.
Summary: Improves the background check process in an effort to address ongoing child care staffing shortages while upholding safety.
Optional VKRP Implementation | Delegate Scott
Status: Tabled in the Early Education and Innovation subcommittee of House Education with a letter to DOE to review the time assessments take.
Summary: Would allow school divisions to opt out of administering the VA Kindergarten Readiness Project assessments.
Budget Amendments We Supported
Improve financial assistance to afford child care by dedicating available federal funds to:
- Continue the eligibility for families with children under age five up to 85% of the state median income (Included in BOTH House and Senate proposed budgets).
- Allow a family to become eligible while looking for a job. (Protect introduced budget)
- Reduce the parent co-pays. (Protect introduced budget)
- Eliminate the 72-month time limit to receive assistance. (Protect introduced budget)
Reduce staff turnover in early childhood classrooms and recruit new professionals:
- Expand teacher incentives offered under the Early Childhood Educator Grant Program. ($5 million increase accepted from introduced budget)
- Support early childhood education degree programs and professional development. (House language delays “Grow Your Own” Educator Program.)
- Allow for provisional employment after an FBI background check is complete and before the Central Registry check is complete. (This would take effect as soon as budget is signed.)
- Require the State Based Health Exchange to target child care providers for enrollment and navigation services. (Budget amendment: Favola/Sickles)
Provide more access to preschool programs by strengthening and innovating the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) by:
- Increasing the per-pupil allocation to reflect the true cost of quality early education. (Protect introduced budget)
- Providing flexibility to serve more students with disabilities and 3 year-olds and 5 year-olds in VPI funded programs. (House reduces the funding available to expand to 3 year-olds by $20 million and $5.4 million in the 2nd year for additional flexible needs).
- Expanding public-private options for state-aligned preschool through the VECF mixed-delivery program. (House budget reduces proposed increase by $6.7 million).
- Directing $7 million per year to the United Way of Southwest Virginia from ARPA funds for a new child care initiative, Ready Southwest (Senate budget includes $3.5 million in ARPA)
Accommodate the increase in referrals to Part C Early Intervention Services:
- Provide a $2.9 million increase per year to the base allocation for Part C Services funded through DBHDS. (Senate Budget includes $2.9 million each year)