RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


Early Childhood Updates
December 2, 2013

Change in Licensing Visit Process: Beginning January 1, 2014, there will be a change in the way the Office of Child Development and Early Education (OCDEL) Bureau of Certification representatives schedule renewal inspections at childcare centers and group child care homes. As of that date, the certification representative will notify the agency director/primary staff of a 30-day range for renewal inspection at a childcare facility, rather than scheduling a specific date. The OCDEL representative may inspect the facility at any time during that 30-day period. Programs may contact their certification representative with questions or access OCDEL Announcement: C-13 #01.

Providing Healthier Environments for Pennsylvania Children: The Department of Public Welfare, with funding from The Heinz Endowments, has awarded 39 mini-grants to childcare programs to achieve higher quality environmental health standards, impacting more than 2,500 children. The Healthy & Green grants support environmental improvements in childcare programs, serving children ages six weeks – six years. The majority of awardees will use grant funds to improve indoor air quality by improving ventilation systems, mitigating radon, and taking measures to prevent exposure to pollutants and other toxins. Locations that completed comprehensive environmental health professional development such as family childcare homes, group childcare homes, or childcare centers participating in Keystone STARS were eligible to apply for awards up to $5,000. For more information about the Healthy & Green mini-grants visit the PA Key web site.

Congressional Action on Strong Start for America's Children Act: On November 13 the Strong Start for America's Children Act was introduced in the US House and Senate. The early childhood education proposal is a 10-year initiative to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children across the birth-to-age-five continuum. This bill consists of four measures that would:

  • Accelerate states' efforts to provide high-quality preschool to low and moderate income families;
  • Increase the quality of infant and toddler care in center-based and family childcare settings;
  • Support quality improvements in the Child Care and Development Block Grant; and
  • Encourage continued support for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program.

The bill would fund preschool for four-year olds from families earning below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and encourage states to spend their own funds to support preschool for young children with family incomes above that threshold. The legislation would establish a new federal-state partnership with formula funding for four-year-old preschool (with a state match) to all eligible states. States would provide sub-grants to high quality local providers, including school districts and community-based providers, such as childcare and Head Start programs.

Early Childhood Neglect More Damaging Than Abuse: Extensive biological and developmental research shows significant neglect (“the ongoing disruption or significant absence of caregiver responsiveness”) can cause more harm to a young child's development than overt physical abuse, including subsequent cognitive delays, impairments in executive functioning, and disruptions of the body's stress response. A recent edition of the InBrief series from the Center of the Developing Child, Harvard University, explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation.

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