Building Bright Futures

 

The Vermont Alliance for Children

Early Childhood System Plan

 

 

For over a decade, Vermont has been working to build a unified early care, health and education system. Many of the requisite tools and components needed to support such a comprehensive system have been developed, and a wide range of effective programs for families and children exists. However, Vermont's current early childhood service delivery system might best be described as a patchwork of services. Overlap, inequities and fragmentation often occur.

 

Clarify here why we need an infrastructure: Recognizing the need for a governance structure that unifies these diverse pieces, the Early Childhood Steering Committee applied for and received an Intensive Technical Assistance Grant from North Carolina's Smart Start program.

 

As the first step in the grant process, Vermont received a customized technical assistance plan that included a detailed assessment of Vermont's current early childhood services and a set of recommendations to guide the design of a comprehensive, unified system of early care, health and education services that will achieve our vision that:

 

All Vermont children are healthy and successful.

 

The North Carolina technical assistance team findings confirmed our own assessment "Vermont's early childhood system might be best described as many diverse patches, or pieces, ready to be linked and sewn together... Numerous programs and organizations are committed and working diligently at both the state and community level but there is often overlap, particularly at the community level, and fragmentation as to which organization is doing what." (ITAG Report)

 

The Access to Early Care, Education and Prevention Sub-Committee of the Governor's Cabinet on Children and Youth took on a broad, thoughtful process to develop a strategic plan for the overall coordination of our early care, health and education system. This system will:

 

o       Assure equitable access to quality services for all children and families seeking them;

o       Maximize existing resources in the system;

o       Align resources with desired outcomes in a consistent, measurable manner; and

o       Validate outcomes through a formal evaluation system linked to continuous improvement and quality assurance.

o       Generate new resources

 

Given that few new resources are available at this time to support the implementation of this new, unified system, our focus is on a redirection of some existing funding and the creation of a state level public/private partnership that can broaden, diversify, and increase funding, and expand ownership for the system.

 

The plan integrates feedback collected from many organizations and individual stakeholders. The plan also assimilates hundreds of hours of dialogue and discussion among stakeholders with diverse perspectives about the benefits and challenges of a major systems change.

 

The findings gathered through the Agency of Human Services Reorganization process also substantiate and align with parallel issues in the early care, health and education field; e.g. the need to address service gaps and overlaps and more effective coordination of services. These findings confine the need to design a system that more equitably and effectively meets the needs of young children and their families.

 

The plan also supports the existing outcomes of the Vermont State Team for Children, Families and Individuals that address young children and families. In addition, it establishes an outcome for the system: Vermont's child development and family support system works for children, families and communities.

 

The plan components include:

 

o       Vision, Purpose and Mission Statements

o       Building the Case for Change

o       Desired Outcomes for Children and Families

o       Desired Outcomes for the Early Care, Health and Education System

o       Principles for the Early Care, Health and Education Systems

o       Service Priorities

o       Rationale for a Public Private Partnership

o       Proposed Governance Structure

o       Finance

o       Staffing

o       Public engagement

o       Evaluation

o       Health

o       Professional Development

o       Timeline

 

 

Vision, Purpose and Mission Statements

 

Vision Statement: All Vermont children will be healthy and ready for school.

 

Statement of Purpose: Vermont will restructure the existing system of early care, health and education in order to provide a unified, sustainable system for children and their families, from pregnancy to school age.

 

Mission Statement: All Vermont families and young children will have access to a continuum of comprehensive, high quality early childhood programs that meet established standards, promote school readiness, and address the needs of the child and family.

 

The Case For Change

 

Vermont has a wide range of early childhood programs administered through various state agencies.

 

There are informal structures for the coordination of these services. Due to the lack of a formal relationship to a state structure and inadequate infrastructure support, these structures have not been successful in creating a unified system of early care, health and education services for Vermont.

 

This has resulted in a maze of services that is not easily understandable to families, providers, administrators or legislators.

 

In this maze are excellent services as well as overlapping and duplicative services and service gaps.

 

The Current Structure Does Not:

 

·        assure equitable access to quality services for all children and families seeking them;

·        maximize existing resources in the system;

·        align resources with desired outcomes in a consistent, measurable manner; or

·        validate outcomes through a formal evaluation system linked to continuous improvement and quality assurance.

 

What Do We Need To Better Serve Our Children And Families?

 

·        A structure that brings together all parties and assigns responsibility for the early care, health and education system at the state and local level.

 

·        A clear identity for the early care, health and education system that is consistent and easily recognizable.

 

·        A way to broaden and diversify funding and increase ownership for the system.

 

·        A structure that supports marketing, fundraising, and advocacy efforts.

 

Desired Outcomes for Children and Families

 

·                    Pregnant Women and Young Children Thrive. (State Outcome #2)

·                    Children are Ready for School. (State Outcome #3)

·                    Children Succeed in School. (State Outcome #4)

·                    Children Live in Stable, Supported Families. (State Outcome #5)

·                    Communities Provide Safety and Support to Families and Individuals. (State Outcome #10)

 

Desired Outcomes for the Early Care, Health

And Education System

 

Vermont's Child Development and Family Support System Works for Children, Families, and Communities:

 

·        All families with young children receive the information and support required and necessary to foster healthy families.

 

·        All children and families are appropriately served in family -centered, culturally sensitive, integrated programs within their communities.

 

·        All children with disabilities or at-risk of developmental delays are identified and supported as early as possible.

 

·        All early care, education and health programs and providers foster parent/professional collaboration in the design, implementation, delivery and evaluation of services.

 

·        Evaluation is integrated into all aspects of the system to assure standards of quality and to align services with defined outcomes.

 

·        Community understanding of and support for the early care, education and health system is increased.

 

·        Public and private resources are maximized, leveraged and aligned with desired results to improve outcomes for children and families.

 

 

Principles for the Early Care, Health and Education System

 

The system will be:

 

·        Respectful, family centered, recognizing the diversity and strengths of families;

 

·        Easily accessible and equitably provided in all areas of the state assuring geographic, social, cultural and financial accessibility;

 

·        Inclusive, fostering cultural diversity and promoting culturally competent practices;

 

·        Understandable and affordable;

 

·        Outcome based with consistent standards for quality;

 

·        Comprised of community based services provided in accordance with a regional plan for early care, health and education; and

 

·        Collaborative, fostering strong partnerships between families, community providers, local and state agencies.

 

 

Service Priorities

 

While a full range of early care, health and education services fall under the Building Bright Futures structure, there are service areas that have been initially targeted as a priority for funding in order to address existing gaps in services and to direct resources to support the defined outcomes. These areas are:

 

Pregnant Women and Young Children Thrive (State Outcome #2)

 

·        Assure access to appropriate pre-natal care and support

·        Increase the number of children with access to dental care and an established dental home.

·        Increase the number of children with an established medical home.

·        Expand childhood nutrition, anti-hunger, services.

 

Children Live in Stable, Supported Families (State Outcome #5)

·        Increase options for parent education opportunities

·        Increase opportunities within the community for social interactions among children and families, including playgroups.

·        Coordinate and enhance literacy opportunities for children and adults, including programs through local libraries.

 

Children are Ready for School (State Outcome #3)

 

·        Increase access to affordable, high-quality early learning environments for all children.

·        Increase access to quality care during non-traditional hours.

·        Assure early intervention services, including comprehensive assessment, to children with special needs.

·        Increase partnerships between community-based early care and education programs and public schools.

·        Improve transportation options for families to assure access to services.

 

Communities Provide Safety and Support to Families and Individuals (State Outcome #10)

 

·        Increase parent and community demand for quality early care, health and education services.

·        Increase public engagement and support for families with young children.

·        Increase community investments in the early care, health and education system.

 

Professional Development & Standards

 

·        Increase opportunities for professional development of the early care, health and education workforce.

·        Create parity in compensation based on qualifications in order to recruit and retain a skilled and well-educated workforce.

·        Support ongoing evaluation of all aspects of the early care, health and education system.

 

In order to assure children are ready for school and to increase capacity for part and full day early care and education services, it is anticipated that the following percentages will apply to the new funding that comes into the system:

 

            50% - Children are Ready for School

            20% - Pregnant Women and Young Children Thrive

            10% - Stable, Supported Families

                        10% - Safe and Supportive Communities

                        10% - Professional Development & Standards

 

Based on assessment of community needs, local affiliates may request funding percentages that more closely reflect their local needs.

 

 

Rationale for the Vermont Alliance for Children

 

It helps children and families by:

 

·           Creating a widely publicized, easily understood system for early care, health and education services known as Building Bright Futures.

·           Creating easy access to services, including resource and referral services.

·           Creating affordable options for high quality early care, health and education services that are designed flexibly to meet the various needs of families.

·           Assuring geographic and financial access for all families seeking services.

 

It helps service providers by:

 

·           Creating a local infrastructure to assure resources and technical assistance to providers in accordance with an agreed upon plan for the region.

·           Consolidating grant and contract requirements from the state to ease administrative burdens for providers.

·           Creating capacity and consolidating administrative tasks such as billing and bulk purchasing.

·           Generating additional resources for direct services, including assisting the community to be more competitive for private and public grant funds.

·           Expanding public understanding of and support for the services provided under Building Bright Futures.

·           Addressing recruitment and retention of well-qualified staff by promoting professional development and compensation of the workforce.

·           Rewarding quality.

 

It helps businesses by:

 

·        Assuring employees have access to quality, consistent care for their children, which in turn reduces absenteeism and increases productivity of the workforce.

·        Supports employers to assist employees in balancing work and family responsibilities.

·        Makes recruitment of employees easier.

·        Enhances the overall quality of life package Vermont has to offer in order to attract new businesses to the state.

 

It helps State government by:

 

·        Broadening the partners in meeting the needs of children and families.

·        Leveraging state investments.

·        Aligning resources with results for improved outcomes for children and families.

·        Creating a process for joint budget development across agencies.

·         Creating a single, yet comprehensive, mechanism for advising the Administration and Legislature on the status and needs of the early care, health and education system.

·         Creating stable, sustainable small businesses that contribute to Vermont's economic base.

·        Creating a stable early childhood workforce that contributes to Vermont's economic base.

 

Proposed Governance Structure

 

State Entity

 

Description:

A public private partnership comprised of private sector providers, families, business leaders, community members and state government decision makers.

 

Organizational Structure:

A public-private partnership established by state statute. Staffed by an Executive Director from the private sector hired by the Board. There will be a designated state liaison assigned to work with the Board and Executive Director. The state entity will be an umbrella entity with local affiliates.

 

Composition:

The board will be composed of 19 appointed members including:

v        Secretary of the Agency of Human Services;

v        Chairperson of the State Board of Education;

v        Commissioner of the Department for Children & Families;

v        Secretary of Commerce and Community Development;

v        Commissioner of Education;

v        Three business representatives;

v        Two parents, with one representing families with children with special health needs;

v        Two representatives from Vermont's regional partnerships;

v        Two representatives from the local Building Bright Futures affiliates;

v        Two legislators, including one representative appointed by the Speaker of the House and one senator appointed by the President Pro-Tempore;

v        One representative from Higher Education;

v        Two at-large members.

 

The board shall create internal by-laws, decision-making processes and protocols. Annually, the board shall elect from among its members a chair and a vice-chair. The board may elect such officers as it may determine. Meetings shall be held quarterly, or at the call of the chair or at the request of three members. A majority of the sitting members shall constitute a quorum and action taken by the board may be authorized by a majority of the members present.

 

The board shall employ an executive director to administer, manage and direct the affairs and business of the board. In addition, there will be a designated state liaison assigned to work with the board and executive director to ensure and coordinate all legislative and administrative mandates. The board may employ technical experts and such other officers, agents and employees as are necessary.

 

The board shall establish ad hoe and standing committees to assist with ongoing functions or to study special issues or make recommendations on matters that come before the full board for action. These committees can include members who are not part of the board, but a board member must chair them.

 

Charge and Authority:

v         Advise the administration and legislature on the status and needs of the early childhood system

v        Be responsible and accountable for the system as a whole

v        Develop and agree upon common language for the system

v        Create and update the early care, health and education plan for the state

v        Ensure seamless services to children and their families

v        Develop standards for services and align them with desired results/outcomes

v        Coordinate existing funding streams

v        Pursue diverse funding to sustain and expand/enhance services

v        Address policies and regulations that pose barriers to unified service delivery

v        Develop common data measures

v        Develop expectations for local affiliates and provide technical assistance

v        Review local affiliates' early care, health and education plans and disburse funds in accordance with those plans

v        Review and act on requests from local affiliates for waivers from policies or regulations that impede their ability to address local priorities

 

Subcommittees of the Board:

The board shall establish sub or ad hoc committees as needed. It is expected that these committees will address the following topic areas as they are timely to the board's work:

 

v     Finance & Development

v     Family/Consumer Participation

v     Professional Development

v     Standards/Accountability/Evaluation

 

v     Health (includes Disabilities)

v     Planning/Priority Services

v     Community & State Partnerships

v     Public Engagement

 

 

The New Public/Private Structure:

The new Public/Private Structure will integrate a number of existing advisory structures, networks and early childhood entities in ways that are co-designed by the state board and these groups in order to assure integration of individual and collective interests. These advisory structures will likely include:

 

v     The Early Childhood Steering Committee and Workgroup

v     The Childcare Advisory Board

v     The Vermont Interagency Coordinating Council - Family, Infant & Toddler Program

v     The Success By Six State Network

v     The State Children's Upstream Services (CUPS) Oversight Committee

v     The Vermont Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies

v     The Vermont Parent Child Center Network

 

 

 

 

Local Entity

Description:

A local entity that advocates for, coordinates and ensures the success and accountability of community-based supports and services for all young children and their families. They assess needs, advocate, collaborate and hold accountability for a unified system of community-based supports, services and resources which are necessary to ensure the optimal development of young children, families and communities.

 

Organizational Structure:

v        Local entities are affiliates of the state partnership.

v        12 affiliates will be established, one in each of the AHS regions.

v        Each local affiliate will be staffed a director selected by the local board.

 

Composition of Local Affiliate Board:

Membership of the local board should mirror the State Board composition as appropriate, and reflect the unique needs of each region; for example, including staff from state agencies, community mental health and local school district representatives. AHS Field Directors and Regional Partnership Coordinators are key partners and should be members of the local board.

 

Charge and Authority:

v        Serve as a collaborative steering committee for services that affect families and their young children

v        Serve as an advisory council, problem solving, planning and review body for regional early care, health and education initiatives and community grants

v        Assess local needs and set local priorities

v        Develop and annually update the comprehensive regional plan for early care, health and education services that is consistent with the defined goals and outcomes in the state strategic plan for Vermont's early care, health and education system

v        Report needs and regional data/information to the state

v        Ensure accountability with local service providers

v        Ensure local services to support the defined priorities and outcomes in the regional plan

v        Recommend designation of funds to local service providers in accordance with the regional plan

v        Secure additional funding for local priorities

v        Provide fiscal oversight for funds awarded from the state as well as locally generated funding

v        Represent local entities on the State Board on a rotating basis

v        Request waivers from the State Board from policies or regulations that impede their ability to address local priorities

 

Sub-Committees of the Local Entity:

The local Board will establish sub or ad-hoc committees as needed. It is expected that these committees will address the following topic areas as they are timely to the board's work:

 

v           Finance & Development

v           Family/Consumer Partnerships

v           Professional Development

v           Community and State Partnerships

 

v           Standards/Accountability Evaluation

v           Health (includes Disabilities)

v           Planning/Priority Services

v           Public Engagement

 

The local board is responsible for addressing these areas in their regional plan. How they elect to address them, through committee work or in other ways, is at the discretion of the local board.

 

The New Public/Private Structure:

The new Public/Private Structure will integrate a number of existing advisory structures, networks and early childhood entities in ways that are co-designed by the local entity and these groups in order to assure integration of individual and collective interests. These advisory structures will likely include:

 

v           Early Childhood Councils

v           Success by Six Advisory Committees

v           Regional Family, Infant, Toddler Project Councils

v           Regional Healthy Child Care Vermont Health & Safety Teams

v           Regional Children's Upstream Services (CUPS) Committees

v           Regional Maternal Child Health Coalitions

v           Regional Community Child Care Support Advisory Groups

 

Finance

 

A primary objective for the creation of a different structure for the coordination and management of the early care, health and education system in Vermont is to assure adequate and sustainable funding to support access to services for all children and families in need of early childhood services. Based on review of funding formulas and strategies utilized by other states and a financial mapping of the resources currently in Vermont's early care, health and education system, the following financial principles are recommended.

 

Finance Principles:

 

v      Funding supports access for all children

v      Funding is diversified using a variety of public and private funds including fees for services and tuition paid by families

v      Resources must be aligned with defined outcomes

v      Resources must be aligned to meet the developmental needs of children

v      Funding for services to children with special needs must be assured

v      Funding formulas should be developed based on comprehensive demographics including access to transportation

v      Resources are distributed and utilized in a fair and equitable manner to assure access statewide

v      Parental fees for services are based on a sliding fee scale which assures access without creating an undue financial burden for families

v      Resources support the system infrastructure as well as direct services

v      Quality standards and indicators are compensated

 

What Finance Mapping of the Current System Tells Us:

 

v      Vermont invests significant resources in the current early care, health and education system.

v      These resources are aligned with outcomes for children and families, but not in a systematic manner

v      How agencies define direct service and administrative costs and their ability to segregate and track these expenditures varies a great deal from agency to agency both at the state and community level

v      Allowable administrative costs are not consistently defined by state agencies awarding grants and contracts

v      Public funds are spent primarily on children/families with identified risk factors

v      More public funds are spent on children ages 3 - 5 than on infants and toddlers

v      Private tuition is the most significant source of revenue in the childcare system

 

How will the proposed public-private partnership impact funding?

 

v     It provides a structure for the development of a comprehensive early childhood budget for aligned services from multiple state agencies and private entities

v     It creates the structure to de-silo public funds without de-coupling them from their state and federal requirements

v     Funds will flow from the state to the community for support. of their early care, health and education plan in a consolidated grant or contract

v     Reporting requirements will be consolidated into a single format/document to ease reporting requirements

v     State and local affiliates will have the capacity to generate private funds to enhance services

 

How Will Funds Flow?

 

v     The State Board will provide a forum for each state agency represented to align their funding for early care, health and education with the priority services in the state and regional plans

v     A Partnership Account will be established at the state entity for private and discretionary funds

v     Funds will be awarded to local affiliates to support the services in their local plan, which ,has been reviewed and approved by the State Board

v     The awards to the community will require a single report back to the state that satisfies all funding entities

v     Local entities will provide fiscal reports to the state on utilization of funds received from the state and on revenue generated locally in order to track all resources in the system

 

Funding Formula & Sliding Fee Scale:

A funding formula that takes into consideration a variety of demographics including children and families in poverty, rural isolation, school readiness and other social indicators will be used to allocate funds to the local affiliates. This formula will be applied to new funds initially and then to existing funding to gradually move toward assuring resource equity. As fees will continue to be a component of the overall funding for the system, a sliding fee scale will be developed as a model for use by programs. The Finance Task Group will develop the recommended funding formula and sliding fee scale.

 

Staffing For Building Bright Futures Structure:

All staff will be employed by the state public/private partnership with the exception of the state liaison who will be a state employee. Public funds that are currently being used for state and community coordination of the early childhood system will continue to be dedicated to support this function and positions under the new structure. Local affiliate coordinators will be interviewed by and selected by their local board but will be employed by the state public/private partnership as the sole fiscal entity for the governance structure.

 

      Proposed staffing (maximum FTEs needed):

 

v     Executive Director                                                                                1 FTE

v     Business/Finance Manager                                                                    1 FTE

v     Business/Finance Specialist to work with local affiliates              3 FTE

v     Administrative Assistant                                                                        1 FTE

v     Administrative Support to local affiliates                                                4 FTE

v     Public Education Director                                                                     1 FTE

v     State Liaison                                                                                         1 FTE

v     Research/Evaluation/Development Director                                           1 FTE

v     Research/Evaluation/Development Specialists for local affiliates  3 FTE

v     Local Affiliate Directors                                                                        12 FTE

 

NOTE: This is the anticipated maximum staffing required when fully implemented. Transition to this structure will be through a gradual, phased-in approach. As experience is gained, required staffing may be adjusted.

 

Estimated Costs:

            Staff Costs

Executive Director                                                                      $65,000

Business/Finance Manager                                                          $50,000

Business/Finance Specialists                 $40,000 x 3                 $120,000

Administrative Assistant                                                              $40,000

Administrative Support Staff                 $35,000 x 4                 $140,000

Public Education Director                                                           $50,000

State Liaison                                                                              $65,000

Research/Evaluation Director                                                      $60,000

Research Specialists                             $45,000 x 3                 $135,000

Local Affiliate Directors                        $45,000 x 12               $540,000

STAFF SUBTOTAL                                                           $1,265,000

 

                        Overhead/Operating @ 30%                                                    $379,500

ESTIMATED TOTAL                                                       $1,644,500

 

NOTE: An estimated $1,000,000 is currently in the system being used for similar functions. It is expected that private funds and in-kind support will be sought to support some of the administrative costs. One of the major criticisms of the current system from the community is that the infrastructure costs are not adequately supported. These costs have been estimated to appropriately support the system and will be phased in as the transition to the new structure progresses.

 

Health

 

A Health Subcommittee will be established to ensure a focus and expertise on the health services that are a cornerstone of the unified Building Bright Futures early care, health and education system. The Subcommittee will advise the state public/private partnership in the planning, implementation, and integration of priority services related to the health and special health needs of young children and their families.

 

The Health Subcommittee will bring the expertise of health professionals and parents to the public/private board and to the larger early care, health and education system. Parent input will be primary to this group's work through Subcommittee participation and/or use of focus groups and other means. It will also include active participation from key health partners at the state and local levels.

 

Constituents represented on the Health Subcommittee will include:

                        Parents

Vermont Department of Health (WIC)

Obstetrics or Nurse Midwife

American Academy of Pediatrics - Vermont Chapter (VT - APP)

Vermont Children's Health Improvement Project (VCHIP)

Home Health

Community Mental Health

Head Start/Early Head Start

Children with Special Health Needs

Parent to Parent of Vermont

Family, Infant & Toddler Program (Part C)

Public School Health

Nutrition

Children's Upstream Services

Healthy Babies, Kids & Families

 

Its specific responsibilities will include:

·        Assessing Vermont's maternal child health capacity to address early childhood needs, both current and within the proposed Building Bright Futures system;

·        Identifying priority health indicators to guide resources within the early care, health and education system;

·        Proposing a health plan that includes and integrates the service priority areas;

·        Outcomes monitoring; and

·        Creating a detailed health prevention and promotion plan, including a plan for outcome evaluation, to advise the work and decisions of the state public/private board.

 

Public Engagement

 

In order for the early care, health and education system to be a high quality, sustainable system in Vermont, the public must recognize the value of the services provided by the system. The Public Engagement Coordinating Committee (PECC) was formed in May of 2003. The mission of the Public Engagement Coordinating Committee is to develop a unified message and coordinated voice, and approaches by which this message and related strategies can be carried to the local and state level. Public engagement is defined as public education, media relations, leadership development, and grassroots involvement and action activities that build political will in Vermont for a unified, well funded early childhood system.

 

Goals of the Public Engagement Action Plan include:

 

Create public awareness of the importance of children's early years for Vermont's future

 

Motivate and inspire Vermonters to take action in support of Vermont's comprehensive and unified system of services for young children and their families

 

Create an ongoing mechanism for effectively presenting a unified voice and coordinating efforts in support of early childhood care, health and education, and to serve as a sustainable vehicle for planning, coordinating, implementing and soliciting feedback on public engagement efforts.

 

Key Messages:

 

Investing in children assures strong communities and benefits all Vermont's citizens Building Bright Futures is the system that coordinates and supports children's care, health and education throughout Vermont

Building Bright Futures helps Vermont's children and their families to be successful by providing high-quality care, health and education

Building Bright Futures lays the foundation for children's success in school by promoting high-quality care, health and education

Building Bright Futures makes a strong Vermont economy possible by stimulating economic development, increasing worker productivity, and building the skills of the future workforce

 

Evaluation

 

Real and substantive evaluation of the early care, health and education system is a core component of the Building Bright Futures: Vermont's Alliance for Children structure. Evaluations of the effectiveness of the direct services as well as of the system infrastructure are equally important. The evaluation plan's essential purpose is to: (a) test the system - ensure that it works in a timely and adequate manner; (b) identify where changes may be necessary; (c) measure accountability, efficiency and efficacy of the system; and (d) provide decision makers and stakeholders with data and reports that will support their abilities to make the best decisions possible for the children and families of Vermont. The section below outlines the key points in the Evaluation Task Group's Evaluation Plan.

 

Core Principles:

·        The evaluation plan is relevant and useful to stakeholders

·        The plan focuses on a small set of indicators - using currently collected data and standardizing data collection

·        It creates a monitoring and reporting system that allows continuous feedback and focus on quality improvement

·        An independent and credible evaluation team reviews and evaluates the plan on an ongoing basis

 

Organizational Structure includes:

 

Components of Evaluation Plan

·        Logic Model - Framework based on the long term outcomes outlined on page 4

·        Structural Equation Model

·        Stakeholder Study

·        Cost Benefit Analysis

 

Professional Development

 

Professional development and training are key components of the infrastructure necessary to ensure that services provided through the early care, health and education system in Vermont are of high quality and effective in achieving desired outcomes. The Professional Preparation and Development Committee (PPD), formed after the first Early Childhood Workgroup session in 1992, has worked on a statewide level to coordinate professional development and training activities spanning entry-level workshops to higher education teacher preparation programs. It has also developed products that support career and professional development planning for the early childhood and school age care workforce. This work is aligned with the Building Bright Futures system goals and will be a sub-committee of the state public /private partnership.

 

In recent years, the PPD committee focused its efforts on establishing a statewide professional and career development system, named Northern Lights. A coordinated system of career and professional development is defined as integrated components that assure a skilled and educated

 

 

workforce; provide a continuum of educational and career options; and guarantee accessible, consistent and high quality opportunities statewide. Components of the Northern Lights system are: a clearly articulated career pathway; competency based core knowledge training and continuing education; quality assurance systems for training and instructors; partnerships with higher education; credentialing; and career advising.

 

Goals of the Professional Preparation and Development Committee include:

 

·        Select a contractor to design and implement the Northern Lights Career Development Center;

 

·        Develop competencies for early childhood and school age care professionals based on Northern Lights Core Knowledge;

 

·         Design an entry-level competency-based core knowledge training program;

 

·        Support efforts to increase the qualifications of the early childhood workforce by increasing access to credit-bearing coursework and programs leading to four-year degrees and teacher licensure;

 

·        Develop state-awarded credentials in infant-toddler, mental health, school age care and early care and education administration.

 

The work of the PPD committee relies on effective partnerships among providers and recipients of professional development and training that cross traditional program boundaries, i.e., child care, public education, Head Start, higher education, health and mental health.

 

 

 

Timeline

January - March 31,

04

Develop a plan for Outreach and Education Activities that includes community meetings

Conduct community meetings and focus groups on revised strategic plan

Collect and Organize Responses

Work with the Administration and Legislature to build support for BBF

Work with finance committee to develop funding formula & sliding fee scale

Integrate financing information into the strategic plan

Work with Public Engagement Coordinating Committee to build brand recognition and support for Building Bright Futures

Coordinate strategic plan with AHS reorganization

April - June

Integrate feedback from community meetings into final design of BBF early childhood system plan

Continue work with Public Engagement Coordinating Committee

Coordinate the activities of the strategic plan with the AHS reorganization

July, 04 - January,

05

Begin implementation of system changes with the design and development of the state level governance structure

Conduct community meetings to update on status and steps for the implementation process

Make the recommended organizational changes within AHS for early childhood services through the AHS reorganization process to align with the

BBF early childhood system plan

Develop action plan for community level phase in, including necessary steps for the establishment of local affiliates

Begin work with community early childhood councils to move toward the transition to local affiliates

Continue public engagement work

Develop funding recommendations for consideration in the `06 budget

Develop evaluation system with evaluation committee

Establish interim organizational structure for the public/private partnership

Draft enabling legislation

January - June, 05

Work with Legislature and Administration on necessary legislation and funding

Continue work with community early childhood councils to move toward the transition to local affiliates

Continue regular informational meetings as implementation proceeds

Evaluation system in place

July - December, 05

Implement BBF structure at local and state level

January, 2006

New BBF structure fully implemented at state and local levels

The first fully integrated early childhood budget request is submitted to the

Administration and Legislature.