BILL REQ. #: Z-0970.1
|State of Washington||62nd Legislature||2012 Regular Session|
Read first time 01/18/12. Referred to Committee on Early Learning & Human Services.
AN ACT Relating to adopting early learning guidelines; and reenacting and amending RCW 43.215.020.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1 RCW 43.215.020 and 2010 c 233 s 1, 2010 c 232 s 2, and
2010 c 231 s 6 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
(1) The department of early learning is created as an executive branch agency. The department is vested with all powers and duties transferred to it under this chapter and such other powers and duties as may be authorized by law.
(2) The primary duties of the department are to implement state early learning policy and to coordinate, consolidate, and integrate child care and early learning programs in order to administer programs and funding as efficiently as possible. The department's duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) To support both public and private sectors toward a comprehensive and collaborative system of early learning that serves parents, children, and providers and to encourage best practices in child care and early learning programs;
(b) To make early learning resources available to parents and caregivers;
(c) To carry out activities, including providing clear and easily accessible information about quality and improving the quality of early learning opportunities for young children, in cooperation with the nongovernmental private-public partnership;
(d) To administer child care and early learning programs;
(e) To serve as the state lead agency for Part C of the federal individuals with disabilities education act (IDEA);
(f) To standardize internal financial audits, oversight visits, performance benchmarks, and licensing criteria, so that programs can function in an integrated fashion;
(g) To support the implementation of the nongovernmental private-public partnership and cooperate with that partnership in pursuing its goals including providing data and support necessary for the successful work of the partnership;
(h) To work cooperatively and in coordination with the early learning council;
(i) To collaborate with the K-12 school system at the state and local levels to ensure appropriate connections and smooth transitions between early learning and K-12 programs;
(j) To develop and adopt rules for administration of the program of early learning established in RCW 43.215.141;
(k) To develop a comprehensive birth-to-three plan to provide education and support through a continuum of options including, but not limited to, services such as: Home visiting; quality incentives for infant and toddler child care subsidies; quality improvements for family home and center-based child care programs serving infants and toddlers; professional development; early literacy programs; and informal supports for family, friend, and neighbor caregivers; ((
(l) To develop and make widely available early learning guidelines, in partnership with the office of the superintendent of public instruction and the nongovernmental private-public partnership, and to periodically review and revise the guidelines with a committee offering broad stakeholder representation; and
(m) Upon the development of an early learning information system, to make available to parents timely inspection and licensing action information through the internet and other means.
(3) The department's programs shall be designed in a way that respects and preserves the ability of parents and legal guardians to direct the education, development, and upbringing of their children, and that recognizes and honors cultural and linguistic diversity. The department shall include parents and legal guardians in the development of policies and program decisions affecting their children.