OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 1103

AN ACT CONCERNING EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION.

SUMMARY:

This bill eliminates the State Department of Education's (SDE) Office of Early Childhood Planning, Outreach, and Coordination and all of its duties.

It also changes the membership of the Early Childhood Education Cabinet and expands the membership from 17 to 18.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2011

OFFICE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD PLANNING ELIMINATED

The bill eliminates the Office of Early Childhood Planning and its following duties:

1. planning, developing, and coordinating, with other agencies, the delivery of services to children from birth to nine years old;

2. coordinating the implementation of an Early Childhood Education Information System capable of tracking numerous elements of school readiness programs and the children they serve;

3. developing and reporting on an early childhood accountability plan, in consultation with the cabinet;

4. implementing a communications strategy for outreach to families, service providers, and policymakers;

5. starting, not later than September 1, 2011, a statewide longitudinal evaluation of early childhood programs, in consultation with the Department of Social Services (DSS); and

6. developing, coordinating, and supporting public and private partnerships to aid early childhood initiatives.

EARLY CHILDHOOD CABINET MEMBERSHIP

The cabinet is made up of various department heads or their representatives, including SDE, DSS, and the Department of Public Health, plus legislators and representatives of prekindergarten programs.

The bill changes cabinet membership as follows, it:

1. replaces the mental health and addiction services commissioner or her designee, with the children and families commissioner;

2. changes the House minority leader's appointment from a Head Start program representative to a parent of a child attending a school readiness program; and

3. increases the gubernatorial appointments from one to two by adding a representative of the CT Head Start Association.

BACKGROUND

School Readiness

School readiness programs provide nonsectarian developmentally appropriate learning for children ages three and four (and five year olds who are not eligible to enroll in school or choose school readiness instead according to statute). The programs must provide at least 450 hours over at least 180 days, with some exceptions, and must meet state standards (CGS 10-16p).

Early Childhood Cabinet's Duties to Satisfy Federal Head Start

The cabinet carries out various coordination and planning duties and submits annual reports to the legislature regarding the health, safety, and learning of children birth to nine years of age (CGS 10-16z(b)). These duties are required to satisfy the federal Head Start Act of 2007 (P. L. 110-134).

Legislative History

The Senate referred the bill (File 507) to the Appropriations Committee, which reported a substitute on deleting language that transferred some of the Office of Early Childhood Planning's duties to SDE, while eliminating other duties.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Education Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

32

Nay

0

(03/25/2011)

Human Services Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

16

Nay

0

(04/28/2011)

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

51

Nay

0

(05/10/2011)