Voices’ Blog

2.11.16- General Assembly Action on Early Care and Education

Posted:  -  By: Emily Griffey

We are just at the halfway point of the 2016 General Assembly Session. At this point, bills have been reported out of committees and are up for a vote on the floor of the House and Senate. The bills listed below are expected to cross over to the other legislative body. The House and Senate are also working to shape their budgets. They will each report a budget on Sunday, February 21st. Please let your legislators know that you support these priorities on the Early Childhood Unified Agenda.

Provide pregnant moms and young families with in-home parenting support and health education by expanding Virginia’s Home Visiting Consortium.

SUPPORT an additional $7.75 million in TANF funding each year for evidence-based home visiting programs, CHIP/Parents As Teachers and Healthy Families Virginia. Include in the budget $6.75 million per year for Healthy Families and $1 million per year for CHIP of Virginia.

Adequately fund early interventions to promote the healthy development of babies and toddlers.

SUPPORT an additional $1.7 million in FY17 and $2.5 million in FY18 to provide developmental therapies to infants and toddlers with developmental delays through the Part C Early Intervention Porgram.

Continue efforts to improve the safety of child care.

SUPPORT this bi-partisan legislation to improve the safety of child care:

SB601(Wexton)- fingerprint background checks for ALL child care providers

HB1189(Hester)- penalties when a child is harmed in the care of a provider operating illegally

SJ63(Hanger)- examining categories of exemptions from licensing

Promote continuous quality improvement initiatives in all early care settings.

SUPPORT efforts to strengthen the early childhood workforce including the creation of the School Readiness Council (HB46 Greason) to focus on innovation in early education including new pathways for professional development of the workforce.

Ensure that all at-risk children can attend the Virginia Preschool Initiative. Support additional investments to ensure that the Virginia Preschool Initiative is the model for high quality early learning.

SUPPORT full funding of the Virginia Preschool Initiative, including hold harmless funds.

SUPPORT eligibility targeted to the most at-risk students, while affording some local flexibility. The introduced budget includes a proposal to allow 15% of a community’s slots to be set aside for children that meet locally defined at-risk factors.

Support innovation models that enable communities and high-quality private care settings to work as engaged partners to expand preschool for at-risk students.

SUPPORT the Governor’s budget proposal and Delegate Greason’s HB47 to expand access to preschool through public-private partnerships. Voices has highlighted partners already taking this approach as a win-win-win for the private sector, schools lacking classroom space and children who could benefit from high-quality early learning opportunities. To provide additional pilot opportunities and a robust evaluation please support a budget amendment to increase the Governor’s additional proposal by $1.5 million.

For more information contact Emily Griffey at emily@vakids.org.

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