On November 16, 2020, the Early Childhood Policy Council (ECPC) hosted its final meeting of the year. The meeting began with a welcome by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris thanking all members for their hard work in support of children and families and acknowledging the very challenging times we are facing. She also mentioned that there will be a special ECPC session on Friday, November 20, 3-4 p.m., to share an update on the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care (MPELC). To register for the special session, click here.
Early Childhood Policy Council Annual Report
WestEd then provided an overview of the ECPC Annual Report; its purpose is to advise the Governor, the Legislature, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction on statewide Early Learning and care policy. The report will also provide specific recommendations on all aspects of the State’s Early Learning system, including equity, accountability, opportunities, and ways the MPELC and the Blue Ribbon Commission report can be updated or improved. Next, key recommendations for the following thematic categories were shared, followed by input from ECPC members and public comment:
- Coordinated systems
- Whole child/whole family
- Family engagement
- Workforce development
- Access to information
- Access to services
To see additional details about the presentation and the recommendations for each category, click here.
Insight From The Field
The next agenda item included the opportunity to hear from four different Early Learning and care providers from across the state. The providers shared their experiences on how COVID-19 has impacted their contexts, children, and families, as well as their continued needs. When asked what they would like to see state leaders do to support Early Learning and care programs, they said:
- Protect what has taken decades to build.
- The lack of supplies and funding make it difficult for providers to stay open. The state needs to provide PPE supplies and funding.
- All agencies that work with subsidized programs should be held accountable.
- They need more non-operational days in case they need to close due to COVID-19 cases. No providers will have to worry about whether they will be paid or not because they had to close due to COVID-19.
- Expedite funding to providers. Providers are closing because funds have not been distributed to providers promptly.
- Continue to hold providers harmless.
- Approve recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission and rate reform committee. On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage is increasing, and we need to see increased reimbursements.
Child Care Program Transition Quarterly Report
Next, Kim Johnson, Director of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), provided a report on the transition of child care programs to CDSS. She shared key transition milestones, which include:
- Quarterly stakeholder calls: July, October, December 2020
- Launch of Transition webpage and comments process
- Quarterly progress reports
- Jan 2021 – DRAFT Transition Plan posted for public comment
- March 2021 – Transition Plan due to Legislature and ECPC
- July 1, 2021 – Official Launch of New Division at CDSS
Johnson then shared first quarter progress, as well as stakeholder engagement opportunities, which include engagement through various venues, parent focus groups, identifying and addressing barriers to access and equitable outcomes, and a variety of topical listening sessions, which will be held through December:
- Contracting (held 10/02/2020)
- Rural communities (held 11/12/2020)
- Tribal communities and partners
- Whole-child, whole-family approach to service delivery
2021 Quarterly Meeting Calendar
The last item on the agenda was to share and provide input on the 2021 quarterly meeting calendar. The following 2021 ECPC meeting dates were identified. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all meetings will be held remotely unless otherwise specified. Meeting times will be 9 a.m. – 12 p.m:
- Wed., Feb. 3rd
- Wed., June 9th
- Wed., Aug. 25th
- Tues., Nov. 16th