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The Voice - May 6, 2015

NCLCCA Promotes Provider Priorities in State Legislature

Your Association is hard at work for you in the NC General Assembly, promoting what our provider members have told us are their top priorities for this state legislative session.  Among these top priorities are the following two objectives:

  1. Address the harmful effects on providers and families from changes made by state legislators to the Subsidy program last year.
  2. Address ongoing challenges created by an “approved curriculum” mandate passed by legislators in 2011 that impacts all 4- and 5-star centers with 4-year-old classrooms.  

NCLCCA is pleased to report that state legislators have responded to provider concerns with two bills that would help accomplish our goals.  This is just the beginning, however.  We must continue our work together to make sure that legislators pass these NCLCCA-backed bills before the legislative session ends.  You can help by writing an email or making a call to YOUR legislators in NC General Assembly to ask them to support these bills on behalf of the child care providers in their districts and the families they serve.  (Information on how to contact your legislators can be found at the end of this message.)

 

House Bill 832 – Revise Certain Policies/Child Care Subsidies:

 

House Bill 832 would accomplish two of NCLCCA’s three objectives related to Subsidy program changes.  This bill has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee, which is essentially the state budget committee in the House.  This likely means that instead of seeing the individual bill continue to move through the legislative process in the House, the language contained in the bill will appear in the House version of the state budget.  The language may appear in the budget as it currently appears in House Bill 832, or it may be changed by House Appropriations leaders before they present their budget proposal in May.   Here’s what the language in the bill would do:

  1. Exclude non-parent relative caretaker’s income from the definition of “income unit” when evaluating subsidy eligibility, effective July 1, 2015.
  2. Reinstate prorated co-pays for part-time care by setting co-payments at “50% of the full parent fee for part-time care equal to 25 or less hours per week,” effective July 1, 2015.

One NCLCCA objective that was not included in the bill was our request that legislators readjust the Federal Poverty Level threshold related to income eligibility.  Last year legislators lowered the Federal Poverty Level threshold, which means that fewer families qualify for Subsidy vouchers.  NCLCCA is not giving up on this objective.  We are working to connect provider members with key legislators to explain the importance of this change.  Email us if you are willing to write a letter to legislators telling them how and why this change is important to your center and the families you serv.

 

Senate Bill 453 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2015

This 34-page bill is the state Senate’s major regulatory reform bill and includes very important language supported by NCLCCA related to ongoing curriculum challenges for 4- and 5-star centers with 4-year-old classrooms.  The language in Senate Bill 453 would move away from an “approved curriculum” list and toward guidelines that centers and the Child Care Commission should follow in selecting and approving curricula, respectively.   

The curriculum language in Senate Bill 453 would require centers to use North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development as a way to select an appropriate curriculum, rather than having to choose a curriculum from a list that has been pre-approved by regulators who may or may not be qualified to evaluate curricula.  (The current situation, which requires use of a curriculum from an approved list, has created significant concerns for providers who use proprietary curricula, as well as others.)  With the language in Senate Bill 453, NC Foundations would provide an effective and appropriate lens through which to review  curricula in order to ensure daily activities that address all areas of child development. 

 
NCLCCA is grateful that the NC Child Care Commission has taken the initiative to simplify the cumbersome, unworkable curriculum approval process that has been so challenging for providers over the last few years.  We are also grateful to legislators in the NC Senate for including this language in their regulatory reform bill.  The battle is far from over, however!  Senate Bill 453 has not had its first committee hearing yet.  It is currently scheduled to be heard by the Senate Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources Committee because the bill contains numerous regulatory reform provisions that are unrelated to child care and early education – many of them addressing environmental regulations.  
NCLCCA will continue to promote the language in this bill and keep you informed about any important developments.  We agree with the Commission: If providers are trained on NC Foundations, coupled with the higher standards related to staff education and programming that are required for a 4- and 5-star license, everyone – state legislators, families and children’s advocates, alike – should be satisfied that all of these children are being well-served in high-quality programs.   

 

If you are willing to write a letter or make a call to key legislative leaders about the importance of the language in this bill, please let us know a.s.a.p.!

Background on curriculum process for 4-year-old classrooms in 4- and 5-star centers:

For a little background, the curriculum approval process that the Child Care Commission is trying to “fix” meant a three-year wait between rounds of curricula approvals.  With at least 40 curricula waiting for “approval” by the Child Care Commission, it is truly imperative that a more effective, workable system be put in place that will allow both programs and publishers to be in compliance with the legislature’s intent in a timely manner. We have been told that the intent of the curriculum legislation, when it passed, was to ensure that children in 4- and 5-star centers who are NOT part of the state NC Pre-K program are being provided the same opportunities to learn and be prepared for kindergarten and those who are in state-supported Pre-K classrooms.  

 

Help NCLCCA Help You - Contact YOUR State Legislators

NCLCCA encourages you to contact your elected state legislators to ask their support for these two bills.  Follow the steps below – if you have questions or need help, just let us know.  NCLCCA is just a phone call or email away!

You can find out who YOUR representatives and senators are on the NC General Assembly website.  

  • Put your home address in the NC “House of Representatives” map and the NC “Senate” map on the “Who Represents Me” page on the General Assembly website (one map at a time).
  • Next, click on the purple number of your legislative district on each map.
  • Then, click the “Open Member Page” link – here you will find the email address and phone number of your legislator, along with a picture of him or her.

Please copy NCLCCA on the emails to your legislators, forward them to us after you send them, or just let us know you did it!  That way we can follow up as an organization to re-emphasize your points and position!



Save the Date for our 2015 Excellence in Leadership Conference!

Mark your calendar to join us at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord on November 4 & 5 for this year’s annual conference.   We know it can be a jungle out there, so let NCLCCA help you find SUCCESS in the jungle!

Read more about the venue here and if you’re interested in submitting a proposal for a workshop, click here. We will have information ready for vendors within the next few weeks.  

Interested in being part of the Conference Planning Team?  We’d love to have your input.  Email linda@nclcca.org.
Thank you for your ongoing support of NCLCCA and the child care industry in NC!

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