Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

I_I_SchoolReadiness_2019A 07/23/2019 09:19:24 AM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
INTERIM COMMITTEE  EARLY CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOL READINESS
Date 07/23/2019
Attendance
Hill A
McCluskie X
Pettersen E
Wilson X
Sirota X
Story X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
Time 09:19:24 AM to 03:54:03 PM
Place SCR 357
This Meeting was called to order by Senator Story
This Report was prepared by Rachel Kurtz-Phelan
Hearing Items Action Taken
Early Childhood Leadership Commission Committee Discussion Only
Presentation from the Office of Early Childhood Committee Discussion Only
Lunch break Committee Discussion Only
Presentation on Addressing Early Care and Education Access, Affordability, and Quality Committee Discussion Only
Early Care and Education Workforce Committee Discussion Only
Overview of the Bill Request and Approval Process Committee Discussion Only

09:19:25 AM
Senator Story, chair, called the meeting
to order.



Early Childhood Leadership Commission - Committee Discussion Only

09:19:54 AM  
Kristina Heyl, Director, Early Childhood
Leadership Commission (ECLC), came to the table to begin her presentation.
 She distributed a copy of her presentation and two additional handouts
to the members (Attachments A, B, and C).  Ms. Heyl reviewed the mission
and purpose of the ECLC, and spoke about the Early Childhood Workforce
2020 Plan, the Early Childhood Communications Collaborative, the Early
Childhood Colorado Framework, and several areas of opportunity that the
ECLC recommends that the commission focus on, which include improving access
to high-quality early care and education for all families, elevating the
early childhood workforce, and supporting improved family health and economic
security.
09:37:05 AM  
Ms. Heyl answered questions from the commission
regarding the ECLC's relationships and partnerships with local early childhood
agencies and groups around the state.  She discussed the variety of
languages spoken in early child care homes and centers.  Representative
Sirota asked about the high cost of child care and how to recruit and retain
early child care workers and educators.



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
2019.
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.



Lunch break - Committee Discussion Only




Presentation on Addressing Early Care and Education Access, Affordability, and Quality - Committee Discussion Only


12:43:25 PM  
Senator Story invited Bill Jaeger, Vice
President of Early Childhood and Policy Initiatives for the Colorado Children's
Campaign, to come to the table to begin his presentation on access, quality,
and affordability of early care and education.  A copy of his presentation
and an additional handout he distributed can be found as Attachments E
and F.  Mr. Jaeger discussed brain development in the early years
of a child's life, and provided statistics about the need for access to
early care for families in Colorado.  He discussed the economic return
on investment of early childhood education and stated that for every job
created in the Colorado early care and education sector, one and a half
jobs are created in the state's economy.  
12:59:56 PM  
Mr. Jaeger discussed the consequences of
limited access to early care and education, the impact of the decline in
licensed child care capacity for infants in Colorado counties, and the
consequences of a lack of access to quality care for children, families,
and the economy, including a longer pathway to self-sufficiency, lower
labor force participation, and preventable child deaths.  He discussed
how child care problems adversely affect the economy and that access is
disproportionate based on income.  He answered questions about why
access to quality early care and education so limited and expensive, by
stating that 70 percent of the budget for early child care providers is
salary and benefits due to the fact that these jobs will never be automated
or outsourced.  He stated that as the cost of living increases, salaires
also need to increase or the supply will never meet the demand.
01:20:33 PM  
Mr. Jaeger stated that the demand for early
childhood services will continue to increase as Colorado's population grows.
 He said the demand for professionals in the early childhood field
is expted to increase about 40 percent by 2025.  He showed a video
from the Center for the Study of Childcare Employment titled "Why
Do Parents Spend So Much on Child Care, Yet Early Childhood Workers Earn
So Little?".  Mr. Jaeger discussed the need for public investment,
stating that Colorado currently only has two public programs investing
in early child care and education (CCCAP and the Colorado Preschool Program)
and said that the state is curently only spending one half of one percent
of the state budget on early child care and education.  He concluded
his presentation with considerations for policymakers, which include prioritizing
early care and education, investing in research and evidence-based approaches,
and measuring outcomes, evaluating impact, and adapting to emerging learning.
 Mr. Jaeger answered questions from the commission.



Early Care and Education Workforce - Committee Discussion Only

01:37:02 PM  
Senator Story invited Kristina Heyl, Director,
Early Childhood Leadership Comission (ECLC) and Kacee Miller, Project Director
for Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Colorado, to the table
to begin their presentation.  A copy of their presentation can be
found as Attachment G.  Ms. Heyl discussed some of the issues facing
Colorado's Early Childhood workforce, such as: staff shortages and difficulty
filling vacant positions, low wages, and high demand.  She stated
that by 2025 there will be a 33 to 43 percent increase in demand for early
child care.  She discussed issues around the recruitment and retention
of teachers in the early child care industry.
01:47:47 PM  
Ms. Heyl spoke about the Early Childhood
Workforce 2020 Plan, which is a three-year roadmap for a professional development
system that promotes a high-quality, effective, diverse early childhood
workforce for Colorado.  She said that the six focus areas of the
plan are recruitment and retention, workforce development, compensation,
leadership, finance, and data and continuous improvement.  She discussed
the Early Childhood Professional Development Advisory Group under the ECLC,
which is charged with guiding the implementation of the Early Childhood
Workforce 2020 Plan.
01:58:22 PM  
Ms. Miller discussed the need for continued
public-private partnerships and spoke about four key levers for change:
targeted recruitment, career pathways, compensation, and working conditions.
 She provided more detailed information about the 2018 and 2019 innovation
grantees tasked with testing different innovative models in each of the
four key areas mentioned above.  Ms. Miller answered questions about
the funding of the grant program.
02:17:53 PM  
Diane Price, President and CEO of Early
Connections Learning Centers, and Pamela Harris, President and CEO of Mile
High Early Learning, came to the table to begin their presentation, a copy
of which can be found as Attachment H.  Ms. Harris provided background
information about Mile High Early Learning and the comprehensive services
it provides, including health, dental, mental health, disabilities and
family support, child screenings and development assessments, parent engagement,
meals and nutrition education, and ongoing supervision.  Dr. Harris
spoke about the need for early child care to implement trauma-informed
care (teacher-to-child focus), reflective supervision (adult-to-adult focus),
and improved working conditions.
02:42:02 PM  
Ms. Price provided background information
on Early Connections Learning Centers, which have been providing child
care to low-income families since the late 1800s and currently have five
centers in addition to working with Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care networks.
 She discussed shared service partnerships in the community and what
her organization has done to attract and retain teachers and how that corresponds
to quality care.  She explained that she added three behavioral health
specialists to her staff which has led to a decrease in staff turnover.
 She discussed the positive impacts of implementing Pyramid Plus providing
classes in positive parenting techniques to parents and providing leadership
training to her center directors.
03:00:42 PM  
Dr. Harris and Ms. Price answered questions
from the commission members.
03:19:17 PM  
Julia Brink, Quality Improvement Program
Coordinator, Child Care Innovations, Red Rocks Community College, came
to the table to begin her presentation, a copy of which can be found as
Attachment I.  She explained that the program is the only federally
registered apprenticeship program in early child care.  She provided
a history of the program and explained that the requirements for the child
care development specialist apprenticeship are to be at least 16 years
old, pass a background check, complete a set amount of education hours,
complete a set amount of on the job learning hours, be supported by a mentor
teacher, receive a wage increase every six months upon completion of specified
goals, participate in an evaluation, do monthly check ins with apprenticeship
staff, complete a formal individual professional development plan, and
upload all of the required documentation into the Colorado Shines Professional
Development Information System.
03:27:10 PM  
Ms. Brink continued to discuss the apprenticeship
program and the funding needs of the program in order to continue and grow.
 She answered questions from the commission.



Overview of the Bill Request and Approval Process - Committee Discussion Only


03:48:24 PM  
Jane Ritter, Office of Legislative Legal
Services, and Anna Gerstle, Legislative Coucil Staff, came to the table
to explain the bill request and approval process.


03:54:03 PM   The committee adjourned.