PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: All chapters of TITLE 170 WAC, Department of early learning (DEL). Adopting a new chapter of TITLE 170 WAC.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 43.215 RCW authorizes DEL to adopt, review or revise rules: To set and administer minimum child care licensing requirement, to coordinate DEL requirements with federal law or rules, to administer the early childhood education and assistance program (ECEAP), and for other purposes.
RCW 43.43.832 requires DEL to adopt rules regarding background checks for persons authorized to work in child care and early learning programs, providers who receive state-paid child care subsidies, and for other persons associated with DEL-licensed or certified child care facilities.
RCW 34.05.220 authorizes state agencies to adopt rules regarding administrative appeal and hearing procedures.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The department is reviewing the law and chapters of TITLE 170 WAC for terms, definitions, or standards that may apply to more than one DEL program. Among the terms that DEL seeks to define are "character," "suitability," and "competence."
DEL plans to revise its rules as appropriate for clarity and consistent application. Options include amending existing DEL WAC sections, and/or adopting a new WAC chapter that includes terms, definitions or standards that may apply to more than one category of child care or early learning programs. DEL may file one or more proposed rule notices under RCW 34.05.320 to complete this rule-making process.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: As appropriate, the department plans to coordinate rule development with the state department of social and health services, office of the superintendent of public instruction, department of trade and economic development, department of health, and other agencies that may be identified during the rule development process. DEL will also coordinate its rules with the federal Health and Human Services Department regulations where required.
Process for Developing New Rule: DEL welcomes public participation in its rule making. The department plans to convene a focus group representing parents, child care providers, preschool operators, Head Start programs, the Service Employees International Union, educators, other interested parties and DEL staff to gather input on definitions of "character," "suitability" and "competence," and other terms and standards that may apply across various types of child care and early learning programs. Preliminary draft rules will be circulated to interested parties for informal input and will be posted to the DEL rules comment web site. The department will file a formal proposal or proposals and take public comments before adopting final rules.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Rules Coordinator, Department of Early Learning, P.O. Box 40970, Olympia, WA 98504-0970, phone (360) 725-4397, fax (360) 413-3482, e-mail Rules@del.wa.gov. Anyone interested in receiving notices or participating in the development of these rules may contact the DEL rules coordinator to join an e-mail or postal mailing list.
December 3, 2008
Jone M. Bosworth, JD