Early Childhood Education
Federal Requirements and Monitoring
The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) receives federal funding from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Child Care (OCC) through the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) and must adhere to federal reporting requirements and monitoring as the designated lead agency. The information shared on this page is to help Pennsylvanians better understand that process, purpose, and intent behind decisions being made at the state level.
Updated OCC Compliance Announcements
OCDEL has released several policy announcements that pertain to the child care regulations for certified child care facilities. Child care providers can go to Updated OCC Compliance Announcements page on the Pennsylvania Key website to understand what is required to be in compliance with the established CCDF regulations and the Pennsylvania Child Care Regulations. Compliance dates for these Announcement will be April 29, 2022.
OCC Monitoring and Compliance
The federal Office of Child Care (OCC) defines specific topical focus areas for each three-year monitoring cycle. This enables a more thorough analysis of the State's ability to demonstrate compliance with the selected CCDF regulations for that monitoring cycle. It also enables OCC to adapt its monitoring processes to reflect emerging trends, compliance concerns, and the evolving priorities of each administration. The CCDF regulations reviewed for Monitoring Cycle #1 (FFY 2019-2021) fall into the following 11 topical areas.
|1.||Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery|
|Consumer Education: Dissemination of Information to Parents, Providers, and General Public (focusing on the posting of Monitoring Reports and AnnualAggregate Data)|
|4.||Child: Staff Ratios and Group Sizes|
|5.||Health and Safety Requirements for Providers (11 health and safety topics)|
|6.||Pre-Service/Orientation and Ongoing Training for Providers|
|7.||Inspections for CCDF Licensed Providers|
|8.||Inspections for License-Exempt CCDF Providers|
|9.||Ratios for Licensing Inspectors|
|10.||Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting|
|11.||Program Integrity and Accountability|
Child Care Certification Regulation Rewrite Project (Impact Project)
Pennsylvania's Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is embarking on an initiative to rewrite the child care certification regulations. This rewrite will be an opportunity for the early childhood and school-age community in Pennsylvania to co-create regulations in a way that builds stakeholder confidence in the process and:
- Increases alignment with quality improvement;
- Promotes greater equity; and
- Decreases burden experienced by child care providers
LEARN MORE: Visit The Pennsylvania Key for videos, FAQs and additional information about the Impact Project
ARPA Stabilization Grants
The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has made American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Stabilization Grants available to eligible child care providers. These grants and the required reporting will be completed in the Professional Development (PD) Registry. How to apply, eligibility and reporting requirements can be found on the Pennsylvania Key website.
Pennsylvania FFY 2022-2024
CCDY Draft State Plan
Pennsylvania's Draft CCDF State Plan for fiscal years 2022-2024 to be submitted to the Office of Child Care is currently available for public comment online. All stakeholders have the opportunity to review the draft plan and submit comments in writing. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to attend a virtual public hearing and if interested, provide testimony.
Subsidized Child Care Eligibility Regulations
The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is the primary Federal funding source devoted to assisting low-income families that are working or participating in education or training activities with paying for child care and improving the quality of child care for all children. Subsidized child care is a benefit made available through limited Federal and State funds. The subsidized child care eligibility regulations provide the eligibility criteria a parent or caretaker must satisfy in order to obtain and maintain assistance with child care costs through the subsidized child care program. These regulations also set forth the procedures the eligibility agency shall follow in administering the subsidized child care program.
The Department last amended the subsidized child care eligibility regulations in 2012. Since that time, the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) was updated such that several of the Department's regulatory requirements, including the minimum eligibility periods, no longer satisfied CCDBG requirements. Because of the many changes under the reauthorized CCDBG, the Department is replacing its previous regulatory chapter, Chapter 3041, with these requirements under the new Chapter 3042. This rulemaking is therefore needed to satisfy the updated requirements as set forth under the CCDBG, which includes minimum 12-month eligibility periods, and continuous eligibility irrespective of increases in earnings (within the Federal eligibility limit of 85% of the State Median Income (SMI)) and temporary changes in work, education or training during the 12-month eligibility period.
Additional changes consistent with CCDBG requirements also include establishing periods of presumptive eligibility at redetermination for a parent or caretaker who will be starting their job within 92 days of the redetermination date; prohibiting new enrollments of children receiving subsidized child care when the Department revokes or refuses to renew the provider's certificate of compliance; allowing a parent or caretaker receiving subsidized child care services the same option as private-pay parents or caretakers to elect to hold their child back from attending kindergarten for one additional year; increasing the total number of paid absences per year; and permitting parents or caretakers to substitute the time spent in a training program or programs as counting toward the 20-hour-per-week work requirement. The final-form rulemaking is therefore consistent with all CCDBG requirements.