Florida Proposes Expanded Child Care

Imagine, a billion childrendollars for little children.  This is the amount proposed in Governor Scott’s new budget. If passed by the legislature, school readiness programs will get larger and better.

The Senate Education Committee has passed out a bill on how to improve how day care centers are run.

 

Read on to see what is possible.

GOVERNOR SCOTT’S BUDGET

The Early Learning Coalition reports that the Voluntary Pre Kindergarten (VPK) program for four year olds could receive a $46 per child increase to the base allocation.  The VPK programs prepares 224,000 children for kindergarten readiness skills.  Thirty million dollars also would be designated to reduce the waiting lists for the program.   Teacher scholarships and training would be supported . In our visits to day care centers this month, we learned directly from center directors about the urgency for better access to training for child development.   Preschool teachers’ days are long and their wages are low.  They have new, high standards to meet and most must train on their own time.

Other proposals include:

  • Funding to expand in home programs and to identify and help children from birth to age 8 at risk for developmental and behavioral problems would get a boost.
  • A program designed to incentivize childcare providers to improve programs is also in the budget.  This program appears to be the pilot program sponsored by Representative Fresen in 2014 to provide performance measures for child care centers.

SPB 7006 AN ACT RELATED TO EARLY LEARNING (Proposed)

Senate Bill SPB 7006 was passed by the Senate Education Committee last week. This bill is similar to the one sponsored by Representative Marlene O’Toole last year.  The bill died on the last day of the 2014 session.  The new bill includes requirements related to:

  • staff background checks
  • prohibiting transfer to ownership of closed centers to relatives
  • compliance with minimal state standards
  • abbreviated inspection visits
  • staff training requirements
  • facilities standards for regulated but not licensed providers
  • citations for violations
  • online training course
  • safety and upgraded health first aid training
  • performance measures in English and Spanish for English Language Learners

Beginning January 2017, staff for private preK providers must have a high school diploma and be 18 years old.

EARLY LEARNING FLORIDA

This spring, the University of Florida Lastinger Center is launching a comprehensive training program for day care staff.  The program is described as blended learning with online, face to face and continuing education courses.

Posted in Early Childhood Education, Florida, Florida Senate, Funding, Legislation.

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