2009/FY10 Legislative/Budget Interests
The Missouri Coordinating Board for Early Childhood (CBEC) has been charged by statute to serve as the public/private entity for coordinating a cohesive system of early childhood programs and services that will result in the healthy development of, and high quality education for, all Missouri children from birth through age five. Its powers include actions to identify and recommend initiatives to improve services for children from birth through age five.
For the 2009 legislative session, the CBEC encourages executive and legislative action on the following items:
- Establish and maintain a Missouri Quality Rating System (MO QRS) for licensed early education providers, with the necessary funding to implement an assessment system and the support services that are necessary to improve the quality of education. Participation in the QRS would be voluntary, except for programs receiving direct dollars and/or on-going direct services to improve the quality of the program.
- Allocate sufficient funds to maintain the increased levels of
child care subsidy support achieved last year AND begin a concerted effort
to increase support on an annual basis with the goal of making child
care subsidy levels equivalent to those used in many other Missouri family
support programs by FY16. Childcare subsidies are essential
to families trying to survive on minimum wage jobs and trying to work
their way out of poverty. If a small increase in wages causes a family
to lose all child care assistance, families are forced to turn down raises
or higher-paying jobs. In 2008, the federal poverty level (FPL) for a
single parent with two children was approximately $17,640. Despite significant
increases in support over the past two years, Missouri still ranks 46th
among all states in income eligibility. The following recommendations
aspire for Missouri to:
- move from 46th to approximately 40th in income eligibility over the next six years (assuming that other states remain constant in their rates),
- remain among the approximately 25 states with transitional benefits, and
- increase reimbursement rates to 80% of the definition of market rate.*
|Type of Support||Maintain in FY10||Add in FY10||Goal by FY16|
|Full child care subsidy||Up to 127% FPL||Raise to 131% FPL||150% FPL|
|Transitional child care subsidy||127% up to 139% FPL||Raise to 147% FPL||185% FPL|
|Child care provider reimbursement rates as % of market rate*||65% Infant-toddler||68% Infant-toddler||80% of market rate* for all ages|
|50% Preschooler||55% Preschooler|
|50% School age||55% School age|
*Market rate is defined as a level of payment that would allow families to access 75% of the providers in their area.
- Increase state funding for Missouri’s Early Head Start (EHS) program to add new slots and to increase the funding for existing slots. Child care partners receive funding for a limited number of EHS slots per classroom but the entire classroom must meet Head Start quality standards. Thus expanding the number of children served by EHS improves the quality of services for all children in those programs. The level of support for each EHS slot has not been increased since 1999.
- Allow the Coordinating Board for Early Childhood to become a member of the P-20 Council. States are increasingly recognizing the importance of creating a more efficient and effective education system to prepare students for entering the workforce. Such a system should include early childhood where many of the skills and attitudes for readiness to succeed in school are developed.
Approved October 14, 2008