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B503B8006AA09F93872584400056F599 Hearing Summary


Date Jul 23, 2019      
Location SCR 357

Presentation from the Office of Early Childhood - Committee Discussion Only

09:49:53 AM  
Senator Story invited the following presenters
from the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) in the Colorado Department of
Human Services to the table: Mary Anne Snyder, Director of the Office of
Early Childhood, Mary Alice Cohen, Director of the Division of Community
and Family Support, Erin Mewhinny, Director of Early Care and Learning.
 A copy of their presentation can be found as Attachment D.  Ms.
Snyder explained that the OEC focuses on child maltreatment prevention
strategies, early childhood mental health, suspensions and expulsions,
the Early Intervention program, Head Start Collaborative, and the Home
Visiting program.  Ms. Cohen discussed OEC's community and family
support programs, which can be divided into three types: early intervention,
family support, and transitions to school, which includes social-emotional
skills and ensuring a healthy start to school.  Ms. Cohen discussed
early childhood mental health and told the commission about a new report
on suspensions and expulsions that includes recommendations about what
a mental health expert can do to mitigate suspensions and expulsions.  She
discussed the Incredible Years (IY) program, which is delivered to pre-kindergarten
and kindegarten classrooms and supports classroom management for teachers
and a parenting program for families.  She answered questions regarding
the need for additional funding and capacity for the IY program and went
into further detail on the Early Intervention program.  

10:09:32 AM  
Ms. Cohen discussed child maltreatment
prevention programs, which include Colorado Community Response, SafeCare,
Promoting Safe and Stable Families, and Family Resource Centers.  She
explained that the programs focus on parenting classes, goal setting, connecting
caregivers to resources in their communities, providing families with one-time
financial assistance and coaching, and building support networks.  She
emphasized the importance of supporting families to create nurturing, safe
environments that promote a child's overall well-being.
10:13:40 AM  
Ms. Cohen discussed the evaluation of outcomes
for OEC's programs, as well as school readiness indicators that can be
measured for each of OEC's 14 programs.  Ms. Mewhinney explained OEC's
duties for licensing child care centers, including inspections, investigations,
and background checks.  Ms. Mewhinney spoke about aligning licensing
and quality early learning initiatives and told the commission about the
Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System, which aims to improve
the quality of early child care using indicators of quality.  These
indicators include child health, family partnerships, leadership management
and administration, learning environment, and workforce and professional
development for staff.  She explained that some of the quality improvement
(QI) supports and incentives offered include coaching and professional
development to those entities that achieve a level 2 on the QI scale in
an effort to raise them to a level 3, 4, or 5.
10:39:03 AM  
Ms. Mewhinney continued to discuss quality
incentives and implementation supports, as well as the Colorado Child Care
Assistance Program (CCCAP), which is state-supervised and county-administered
and mainly funded by federal sources with a state and county match.  She
explained the Child Care Development Fund as well as several recent pieces
of legislation passed by the General Assembly.  Ms. Mewhinnney answered
questions regarding how many children and families are eligible for CCCAP,
whether there is currently a waitlist, and why there is a gap in the number
of eligible families and those receiving services.  Ms. Snyder stated
that current funding levels only cover between nine and twelve percent
of eligible families.
11:04:02 AM  
Lindsey Dorneman, Director of the Preschool
Development Grant Program in OEC, came to the table to begin her portion
of the presentation.  She explained that the grant was provided to
states to conduct a comprehensive statewide needs assessment for children
from birth to five years old, followed by in-depth strategic planning based
on the needs-assessment.  She stated that the purpose of the grant
is to more efficiently use existing federal, state, local, and non-government
resources, encourage partnerships, and provide and support parental choice.
 She explained that there are five required grant activities: to conduct
a needs assessment; develop, update, or implement a strategic plan based
on the needs assessment; maximize parent choice and knowledge of the state's
mixed delivery system; share best practices among early childhood service
providers; and improve overall quality of early childhood care and education
services.  Ms. Dorneman explained that the needs assessment will focus
on early care and learning needs for families, other service needs that
exist for families, and service needs for child care providers.
11:11:38 AM  
Ms. Dorneman spoke about the timeline for
the needs asssessment and strategic plan, and answered questions from the
commission members.  Ms. Mewhinney came back to the table to discuss
Senate Bill 19-063, which requires OEC, along with the ECLC, to develop
a strategic action plan to address infant and family child care home shortages
in Colorado which will be distributed to the General Assembly in December
11:27:17 AM  
Scott Groginsky, Special Advisor to the
Governor on Early Childhood, and Tara Smith, State Two Generation Program
Coordinator for the Governor's Office, came to the table to begin their
presentation on the Governor's priorities on infant and early child care.
 Mr. Groginsky stated that the Governor supports disaggregated and
transparent data and policies on child-specific and population levels,
places a high value on a mixed delivery system of early child care that
focuses on parent choice, as well as a comprehensive child care system/coordination
of services that includes nutrition, mental health, vision, dental health,
diverse language supports, and access for parents to job training information
and workforce supports made available at child care centers.  Ms.
Smith explained the National Governors Association Technical Assistance
Grant that Colorado received in order look at prenatal to age three with
the hope of focusing on early child care workforce issues and how to tie
in early child care with the health and school readiness programs and policies.
 They answered questions from the commission members.
11:45:33 AM  
Mr. Groginsky and Ms. Smith continued to
answer questions from the members.

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