Illinois Early Learning Council Executive Committee met June 5.
Illinois Early Learning Council Executive Committee met June 5.
Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:
Chicago: Karen Berman, Gaylord Gieseke, Phyllis Glink, Cornelia Grumman, Dan Harris, Diane Grigsby Jackson, Geoff Nagle, Sylvia Puente, Beth Purvis, Diana Rauner, Sara Slaughter, Teri Talan, Cynthia Tate, Maria Whelan, Josie Yanguas
Springfield: Lynn Burgett, Kristy Doan, Barb Payne
Phone: Tasha Cruzat, Andrea Palmer
1. Welcome and Introduction
Co-Chairs Phyllis Glink and Beth Purvis called the meeting to order. They thanked everyone for coming then asked all the Committee members to introduce themselves. A motion was made for the approval of the minutes from the April 3rd meeting. The motion was seconded and the minutes were unanimously approved by the Committee.
2. Status of ECBG RFP and RFSP
Lynn Burgett from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) gave an update on the status of the Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG) Request for Proposals (RFP). ISBE recently decided to postpone the re-compete of the ECBG for fiscal year 2018 until fiscal year 2019. Various issues had caused the process to be delayed, including new federal guidelines. Ultimately, the decision to postpone the re- compete was to make sure that there would not be a gap in services. Burgett assured the Committee that there would be continuation grants.
ISBE decided to put out the RFP for continuation grants for fiscal year 2017 for both Early Intervention and Preschool Expansion. The original goal for posting these RFPs was May. There were some delays but these did go out today. ISBE’s goal is to release the RFPs for Fiscal Year 2018 in the upcoming weeks. They are waiting until they have collected all proposals for 2017, so that there is no confusion.
Burgett then announced that they will release the competitive RFPs in fall for fiscal year 2019. She then entertained questions from the Committee.
Karen Berman, the Ounce of Prevention, asked if ISBE had any sense of how long programs would have to respond to the RFPs. She also mentioned that in the past they had talked about having the RFPs release simultaneously to encourage providers to think intentionally about their services from Birth to Five years as a spectrum.
Burgett clarified that the RFPs were not being staggered by age, but rather by whether it was a re- compete or a continuation grant. She then mentioned that programs will have between 30-45 days to respond to the RFP. ISBE’s goal is to allow for 45 days, but they may have to lowered.
3. Early Learning Legislation and Discussion
Co-Chair Purvis then introduced the next section of the agenda, a review of legislation pertinent to Early Childhood. She began by giving an overview of House Bill 2426. HB2426 provides that at least 25% of any additional funding over and above the previous year’s allocation shall be used to fund programs for children 0-3.
She then gave an overview of House Bill 3691 – which opens college savings accounts for all children in Illinois at Birth. While the Governor’s office is open to this idea, there is fear that this could take away from MAP and we want to make sure we are providing aid to low-income students first and this opens accounts for all children.
Next the Committee discussed Senate Bill 1557 which amends the Childcare Act to adopt rules related to prohibit expulsion in preschools. This is limited to those programs that receive funds from the Illinois State Board of Education. Cynthia Tate, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office on Early Childhood Development, then gave an update on the Pyramid Model – which is a multi-tiered system of support related to behavioral issues in early childhood to lead to fewer expulsions and suspensions. This support system includes mental health consultation and other interventions such as, building social skills, targeted interventions, and specific interventions.
Gaylord Gieseke mentioned there are currently only 75 mental health consultants in the state that have interactive training on the pyramid model.
Karen Multierri Garibay asked whether part of this Pyramid model included wrap around supports for families. Tate assured her that the mental health consultants have a large focus on this and have a lot of connections with community services in their areas.
Another aspect of this bill to begin collecting better data on preschool expulsion. One problem that often arises is that expulsion in preschool often not explicitly called expulsion which makes data and tracking even more difficult.
Sara Slaughter also mentioned that Senate Bill 100 is also another bill about expulsions. It focuses on reducing expulsions and arrests for older kids by focusing on restorative justice. There are a lot of opportunities right now to change the culture around punishment. Purvis noted that these initiatives are very important to both Senator Kimberly Lightford and Superintendent Tony Smith.
Teri Talan asked since this legislation seems to only apply to those programs that are receiving state funding, what happens in programs that are not getting state funds. Purvis said she was not sure and wanted to make sure she gave the correct legal answer, rather than her own personal assumption.
Next Purvis review the three different funding bills that have provisions related to education. Two of these bills have revenue attached to them, these are Senate Bill 2182 and Senate Bill 6. Senate Bill 1 does not have revenue tied to it, but does create a new formula for how funding is distributing. Senate Bill 1 retains the Early Childhood Block Grant.
4. Establish of an Ad Hoc Committee to address SB1829
Senate Bill 1829 is an Early Childhood Workforce Bill sponsored by Senator Toi Hutchinson. The goal of this bill is to help private centers that struggle with staffing their centers. Senator Hutchinson asked Co-Chair Purvis is the Early Learning Council could review this bill and make recommendations to make sure that it is framed in a way that helps relieve staffing concerns, but does not weaken the quality of the workforce. Purvis proposed the formation of ad hoc committee. Maria Whelan made a motion that the Executive Committee form an ad hoc committee around this topic. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by the Committee. It was agreed that Teri Talan and Dan Harris would house this ad hoc committee as part of the Quality Committee.
5. DHS Follow Up on Childcare
Diane Grigsby Jackson, from the Department of Human Services, gave an update on the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The new training requirements include completing school age youth development modules 4A and 4B. Providers could also take all trainings and use them to work towards there level one credential. No all relative care providers will be taking all the training. They must take those relevant the age group they are providing care for, but not all training. The do not need to take training if they are only providing care for children age 6-13.
Jackson then gave an update on the proposed Criminal Background check legislation. These bills are not anticipated to be called out of subcommittee. Illinois will need a waiver to state plan to delay implementation until 2018.
Barb Payne added that they have been working with the Department of Child and Family Services to increase the intergovernmental communication for background checks.
Co-chair Glink pointed out that these new regulations will drive a lot of people out of the system, due to immigration and other issues. A lot of the initiative that are moving forward will result in pushing people out of the system. She emphasized the importance of requested a waiver to give the state time to address how these changes will affect the workforce.
Maria Whelan mentioned that the Access Committee has been looking a lot a license exempt providers. License exempt providers make up a lot of the care providers for children whose parents work some sort of uncommon hours. Many regulations are unintentionally eliminating flexible care that families rely on. When creating policy, the state must find balance between wanting children to be safe and well cared for, while also making sure they have access to care.
Jackson pointed out that there is currently a lot of turn-over in childcare, in terms of both providers and kids. DHS believes it is tied to SNAP and TANF families and the employment churn.
Jackson then discussed the federal monitoring requirement. DHS has received a lot of feedback on this issue and are working to modify the plan accordingly. These changes include exemptions for relatives who watch school age children from monitoring. DHS will maintain monitoring requirement for relative providers watching those kids Birth to age 5, but have created an extension to the monitoring waiver. They are still in the process of thinking about what a protocol for this might look.
DHS is on track to launch the program monitors on July 1. Contracts have been awarded to Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies that have worked with us previously. DHS is working on ironing out what implementation will look like for these monitors. They are currently looking at SNAP and TANF clients as potential monitors. So far they have screened 300 candidates, 100 of whom have gone through a three-day pre-training. So far about 15 potential candidates have expressed interest in becoming licensed childcare providers in cook county.
Jackson then shifted the conversation to the budget. She mentioned that the legislature had still not appropriated a budget and they were not sure what a budget might look like but are trying to prepare for the fact that they may be faced with more cuts. Purvis emphasized that DHS does not make the decision of what and how much will be cut. Directors rarely have representation in these conversations. To be prepared their Department has been asked to prepare budget scenarios for cuts ranging from 5-20%.
Jackson asked the Committee if they would be willing to help DHS think through these budget scenarios to try to think proactively about them in order to be the least detrimental to families and children. There was a lot of interest expressed from the group and it was decided that they would pull a group together in the next week to begin working through these budget scenarios. Maria Whelan offered to put a historical framework together to help guide the discussion.
Another focus of DHS is child care for children Birth to age three. Jackson shared their goal of increasing children in this age group who are receiving quality care. They are trying to engage families in this conversation to collectively come up with a way to move this work forward. Part of this work is coming up with a definition of Quality that can span different types and levels of child care. This necessitates looking into license exempt settings. There is a lot of turnover in these settings.
Tate mentioned that this conversation nicely dovetails with the Illinois Longitudinal Data System conversation and working on tracking what systems are touching students and when. It was decided that Jackson and Whelan were going to work together to convene a group of the Early Learning Council and the Childcare Advisory Committee to begin to address some of these issues.
6. Access Committee Family Engagement Recommendations
Maria Whelan, Co-Chair of the Access Committee, gave an overview of the Family Engagement Ad Hoc Committee and the recommendations they have spent the last year and a half working on. She mentioned that she would like the Executive Committee to act on this item today. The recommendations include three phases. The first two phases require no cost. The first is inserting language into the ELC mission and values., create a state wide vision, and increase parent prospective that is being represented and ELC meetings.
Whelan recognized that there were still details related to implementation that needed to be worked out and some recommendations that would require the group to raise money.
Whelan made a motion for the ELC to recognize the importance of authentic family engagement, recognize that Children and Families do as well as one or the other does, adopt the family engagement framework - as an initial framework to guide in developing this work, and report regularly to the Executive Committee regarding this work; that the ELC does not commit to any expenditure of resources until a potential funding stream has been identified; that the ELC will proceed with the implementation of Phase 1 and those parts of the framework that are not cost restrictive and monitor this implementation; and that the Access Committee will report back to after three months and make a decision at that point about how to proceed into phase 2 of the framework.
This motion was seconded. The Committee unanimously approved the motion and the recommendations were adopted as an initial framework for this work.
7. ELC Priorities
Elizabeth Cole gave an overview of the work she has been doing regarding the relationship between the Governor’s Office on Early Childhood Development (GOECD), the Interagency Team (IAT), and the Early Learning Council (ELC). She emphasized that she is trying to improve the relationship and process that exists among these three entities. In order to do this, she had one-on-one conversations with various members of each of these bodies. There was universally agreement that GOECD should be the cross section in this relationship. There was a lack of consensus around the issue of control and authority.
There was some level of agreement that the IAT was responsible for operationalizing priorities in the field. But a lack of consensus from where these priorities should emerge. The mechanics to operate these relationships are difficult. Some private members said that they thought it was important for state agencies to have opportunity to talk and move things forward away from external partners.
Many recognized the ELC as a good place for issues to bubble up from the field and gather public input. There was some thought that the Full Council could be used differently. Currently there is a lot of information sharing and rubber stamping, but some suggested that it could be a place for more meaty policy discussion. Overall, Cole noted that there was not clear consensus on the different roles and concerns about authority. However, one strong thing that can out of this process was the overwhelming feeling that the structure can take things to a certain point, but behaviors and culture can still override structural improvements.