RD604 - Update to Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Transition Plan – November 24, 2020

Executive Summary:

In order to increase access, strengthen quality and improve school readiness outcomes of its birth to five early childhood care and education (ECEC) system, Virginia must establish a single, durable point of accountability within the Virginia Board of Education and the Virginia Department of Education. Chapters 860 and 861 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly:

• Establish the Virginia Board of Education (BOE) and Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) as responsible for oversight and administration of early care and education out of the home to create a single point of accountability for school readiness, effective July 1, 2021.

• Transition the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and Head Start State Collaboration Office to the VDOE in phases with transition fully complete by July 1, 2021.

• Create an Early Childhood Education Advisory Committee to the BOE, which will serve as the state’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) as required for federal grants and will vet policies and regulations and advise the Board of Education on related matters.

This document provides an update on implementation of the Transition Plan submitted to the General Assembly on August 15, 2020 as required by Chapters 860 and 861 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly. While the coronavirus pandemic has created significant challenges for the early childhood field--and has contributed to some delays in our initial timelines--transition activities remain on track. Since August, VDOE and VDSS have worked to:

• Execute a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to transition child care licensing functions to VDOE effective July 1, 2021;

• Execute a MOA to lay out the process for transferring Maximum Employee Level (MEL) and federal funding to support FY21 hiring at VDOE ahead of the transition;

• Identify child care licensing staff that will transition to VDOE in FY 22 and begin conversations regarding the transition;

• Issue a Request for Quote (RFQ) for a contractor to help build the new licensing platform;

• Draft the Virginia Child Care Licensing Steering Committee Charter to govern the development of the new licensing system;

• Update the federal Office of Child Care on transition activities and incorporate their recommendations into the working draft of the child care subsidy MOA;

• Hire two additional staff at VDOE: one to provide grants management support for the Child Care Quality and Professional Development unit and the other to manage day-to-day activities associated with building, testing, and implementing the child care licensing platform;

• Hire an Associate Director for the Child Care and Early Childhood Development section at VDSS to assist with the transition and management of the Child Care Subsidy Program post-transition.

• Host a series of listening sessions and presentations with child care providers and advocates across the Commonwealth regarding the child care transition and new uniform rating and improvement system, with additional sessions forthcoming in December 2020.

At the same time, VDOE and VDSS have continued to respond to the changing context for ECEC providers due to the coronavirus pandemic. The respective agencies worked together to update and disseminate guidelines to providers lifting group size restrictions and reinforcing the use of facial coverings and other public health mitigation strategies; identify strategies for disseminating personal protective equipment to the field; and provide ongoing financial support to programs facing higher operating costs due to the pandemic.