Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 1103

Public Act No. 11-181

AN ACT CONCERNING EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A COORDINATED SYSTEM OF EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 10-16z of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2011):

(a) There is established the Early Childhood Education Cabinet. The cabinet shall consist of: (1) The Commissioner of Education, or the commissioner's designee, (2) one representative from the Department of Education who is responsible for programs required under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, 20 USC 1400 et seq. , as amended from time to time, appointed by the Commissioner of Education, (3) the Commissioner of Social Services, or the commissioner's designee, (4) a representative from an institution of higher education in this state appointed by the Commissioner of Higher Education, (5) the Commissioner of Public Health, or the commissioner's designee, (6) the Commissioner of Developmental Services, or the commissioner's designee, (7) the Commissioner of [Mental Health and Addiction Services] Children and Families, or the commissioner's designee, (8) the executive director of the Commission on Children, or the executive director's designee, (9) the project director of the Connecticut Head Start State Collaboration Office, (10) a [representative from a Head Start program] parent or guardian of a child who attends or attended a school readiness program appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, (11) a representative of a local provider of early childhood education appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, (12) a representative of the Connecticut Family Resource Center Alliance appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, (13) a representative of a state funded child care center appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, (14) two appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, one of whom is a member of the House of Representatives and one of whom is a parent who has a child attending a school in a priority school district, [(13)] (15) two appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, one of whom is a member of the Senate and one of whom is a representative of a public elementary school with a prekindergarten program, [(14)] (16) two appointed by the Governor, one of whom is a representative of the Connecticut Head Start Association and one of whom is a representative of the business or philanthropic community in this state, [appointed by the Governor,] and [(15)] (17) the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or the secretary's designee. The chairperson of the council shall be appointed from among its members by the Governor.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2011) (a) On and after July 1, 2013, there shall be a coordinated system of early care and education and child development. The coordinated system of early care and education and child development shall consist of comprehensive and aligned policies, responsibilities, practices and services for young children and their families, including prenatal care and care for children from birth to eight years of age, inclusive, to ensure optimal health, safety and learning for each child, and that are in accordance with the plan developed by the planning director pursuant to section 3 of this act.

(b) The coordinated system of early care and education and child development shall (1) create a unified set of reporting requirements for the programs described in subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 3 of this act, for the purpose of collecting the data elements necessary to perform quality assessments and longitudinal analysis; (2) compare and analyze the data collected pursuant to reporting requirements created under subdivision (1) of this subsection with the data collected in the state-wide public school information system, pursuant to section 10-10a of the general statutes, for population-level analysis of children and families; (3) develop and update appropriate early learning standards and assessment tools for children from birth to five years of age, inclusive, that are age and developmentally appropriate and that are aligned with existing learning standards as of July 1, 2013, and assessment tools for students in grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive; (4) continually monitor and evaluate all early childhood education and child care programs and services, focusing on program outcomes in satisfying the health, safety, developmental and educational needs of all children; (5) develop indicators that assess strategies designed to strengthen the family through parental involvement in a child's development and education, including children with special needs; (6) increase the availability of early childhood education and child care programs and services and encourage the providers of such programs and services to work together to create multiple options that allow families to participate in programs that serve the particular needs of each family; (7) provide information and technical assistance to persons seeking early childhood education and child care programs and services; (8) assist state agencies and municipalities in obtaining available federal funding for early childhood education and child care programs and services; (9) provide technical assistance and consultation to licensed providers of early childhood education and child care programs and services and assist any potential provider of such programs and services in obtaining the necessary licensure and certification; (10) create, implement and maintain a quality rating and improvement system that covers home-based, center-based and school-based early child care and learning; (11) maintain a system of accreditation facilitation to assist early childhood education and child care programs and services in achieving national standards and program improvement; (12) create partnerships between state agencies and philanthropic organizations to assist in the implementation of the coordinated system of early care and education and child development; (13) align the system's policy and program goals with those of the Early Childhood Education Cabinet, pursuant to section 10-16z of the general statutes, and the Head Start advisory committee, pursuant to section 10-16n of the general statutes; (14) ensure a coordinated and comprehensive state-wide system of professional development for providers of early childhood education and child care programs and services; (15) develop family-centered services that assist families in their communities; (16) provide families with opportunities for choice in services including quality child care; (17) integrate early childhood education and special education services; (18) emphasize targeted research-based interventions; (19) organize services into a coherent system; (20) coordinate a comprehensive and accessible delivery system for early childhood education and child care services; (21) focus on performance measures to ensure that services are accountable, effective and accessible to the consumer; (22) promote universal access to early childhood care and education; (23) ensure nonduplication of monitoring and evaluation; (24) encourage, promote and coordinate funding for the establishment and administration of local and regional early childhood councils that implement local and regional birth-to-eight systems; and (25) perform any other activities that will assist in the provision of early childhood education and child care programs and services.

(c) The coordinated system of early care and education and child development shall collaborate with local and regional early childhood councils to implement the coordinated system of early care and education and child development at the local level. Such early childhood councils shall: (1) Develop and implement a comprehensive plan for an early childhood system for the community served by such early childhood council, (2) develop policy and program planning, (3) encourage community participation by emphasizing substantial parental involvement, (4) collect, analyze and evaluate data with a focus on program and service outcomes, (5) allocate resources, and (6) perform any other functions that will assist in the provision of early childhood programs and services. Such early childhood councils may enter into memoranda of agreement with the local or regional school readiness council, described in section 10-16r of the general statutes, of the town or region served by such early childhood council to perform the duties and functions of a school readiness council, in accordance with the provisions of said section 10-16r, or if no such local or regional school readiness council exists for the town or region of such early childhood council, perform the duties and functions of a school readiness council, in accordance with the provisions of section 10-16r of the general statutes.

(d) The coordinated system of early care and education and child development may enter into memoranda of agreement with and accept donations from nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to accomplish the purposes of this section.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2011) (a) On or before July 15, 2011, the Governor shall appoint, in consultation with the Early Childhood Education Cabinet, established under section 10-16z of the general statutes, a planning director for the planning and development of the coordinated system of early care and education and child development described in section 2 of this act, provided such appointment is made within available appropriations or funded by donations from private sources or federal funds to cover the costs of carrying out the provisions of this section. The planning director shall be within the Office of Policy and Management.

(b) (1) The planning director shall develop a plan for the coordinated system of early care and education and child development. Such plan shall consolidate existing early childhood education and child care programs and services serving children from birth to eight years of age, inclusive, into a coordinated system that attempts to (A) reduce the academic achievement gap, (B) increase participation in early childhood education programs, (C) increase parent engagement, family literacy and parenting skills, (D) increase oral language development, (E) increase social competence, (F) decrease special education placements, and (G) support parents and guardians of young children to find employment and to remain employed and encourage such parents and guardians to attend work training programs. Consolidation may include, but not be limited to, school readiness programs, Head Start programs, the family resource center program, established pursuant to section 10-4o of the general statutes, child care facilities, licensing and services described in section 8-210 of the general statutes, the birth-to-three program, established pursuant to section 17a-248 of the general statutes, professional development activities relating to early childhood education and any other relevant early childhood programs and services.

(2) In developing such plan, the planning director shall (A) consider opportunities for consolidation between and within agencies to reduce redundancy and to improve the focus on positive outcomes for children and families; (B) seek areas of consolidation between and within agencies; (C) provide for the creation of memoranda of agreement between the coordinated system of early care and education and child development and nonprofit and philanthropic organizations; (D) identify opportunities to align services and meet the holistic needs of children and families; (E) implement an accountability framework to measure program and services outcomes; (F) identify common requirements for funding from various sources and identify waiver provisions related to such requirements that can be used to improve service delivery in the state; (G) identify barriers under state or federal law that inhibit effective consolidation of functions or utilization of interagency agreements; (H) consult with qualified local and regional planning groups; and (I) focus the memoranda of agreement to relevant program areas, such as, maternal and child health, literacy, family support, financial planning and early care and education.

(c) For purposes of the development of the plan for the coordinated system of early care and education and child development, the planning director may enter into memoranda of agreement with and accept donations from nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

(d) The Departments of Education, Social Services, Public Health, Children and Families, Developmental Services and Higher Education shall assist the planning director in the planning and development of the plan for the coordinated system of early care and education and child development.

(e) (1) On and after October 1, 2011, until July 1, 2013, the planning director shall report quarterly to the Early Childhood Education Cabinet. Such report may include, but not be limited to, (A) recommendations regarding the consolidation of agencies to improve coordination within the coordinated system of early care and education and child development, (B) suggestions regarding how federal, state and local resources can be combined to maximize efficiencies in the system and outcomes for children and families, (C) suggestions to improve the manner in which state and local early childhood education initiatives are coordinated so as to provide holistic, affordable, high quality early education for young children, (D) recommendations for improvements to the coordinated system of early care and education and child development, and (E) assurances that the provisions of section 8-210 of the general statutes are being preserved in the planning and development of the coordinated system of early care and education and child development.

(2) On and after January 1, 2012, until July 1, 2013, the planning director shall semiannually report to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations, human services and education, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes. Such report may include, but not be limited to, (A) recommendations regarding the consolidation of agencies to improve coordination within the coordinated system of early care and education and child development, (B) suggestions regarding how federal, state and local resources can be combined to maximize efficiencies in the system and outcomes for children and families, (C) suggestions to improve the manner in which state and local early childhood education initiatives are coordinated so as to provide holistic, high quality early education for young children, (D) recommendations for improvements to the coordinated system of early care and education and child development, and (E) assurances that the provisions of section 8-210 of the general statutes are being preserved in the planning and development of the coordinated system of early care and education and child development.

(3) On or before January 30, 2013, the planning director shall report to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations, human services and education, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes. Such report shall include recommendations as to which department shall be the lead agency and where the staff of the coordinated system of early care and education and child development will be located.

Sec. 4. (Effective July 1, 2011) For purposes of the planning and development of the coordinated system of early care and education and child development, the Early Childhood Education Cabinet, pursuant to section 10-16z of the general statutes, the director of the Connecticut Head Start Collaboration Office and the Head Start advisory committee, pursuant to section 10-16n of the general statutes, and the Accreditation Facilitation Project of Connecticut Charts-A-Course shall be based in the Department of Education, and may work with nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

Sec. 5. Section 10-16y of the general statutes is repealed. (Effective July 1, 2011)

Approved July 13, 2011