PA 16-100—sHB 5306

Education Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE OFFICE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD

SUMMARY: This act makes numerous changes to the laws affecting early childhood programs, including:

1. limiting the Office of Early Childhood's (OEC) authority to waive the requirement that a child care center or group child care home submit a new license application in certain instances ( 1);

2. requiring all license-exempt child care programs to notify the parents or guardians of participating children that the program is not licensed by OEC ( 2); and

3. authorizing the OEC commissioner to enter into enforcement agreements with child care and youth camp programs in licensing matters ( 7).

It also makes other minor, technical, and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016 for the sections on OEC licensing exemptions; October 1, 2016 for the sections on authority to waive license requirements and conforming and technical changes; and upon passage for all other sections.

1 — AUTHORITY TO WAIVE LICENSE REQUIREMENTS IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS

OEC has the authority to grant, suspend, or revoke licenses for child care programs, group child care homes, and youth camps. Prior law allowed the OEC commissioner to determine whether the change of operator, ownership, or location of a licensed child care center or group child care home required the person or entity holding the license to file a new license application. Under the act, the commissioner may only waive the requirement to re-apply if the request comes before the change of operator, ownership, or location. The act specifies that the commissioner may grant or deny the request to waive the requirement.

2 — NOTICE REGARDING LICENSE-EXEMPT PROGRAMS

The act extends to all license-exempt child care programs the requirement to notify participating children's parents or guardians that the program is not licensed by OEC. The law already required this notification by two license-exempt programs: Solar Youth, Inc. of New Haven and the Cardinal Shehan Center in Bridgeport.

The act extends the notification requirement to the following:

1. programs administered by public school systems or municipal agencies or departments;

2. programs administered by private schools that (a) comply with state law regarding private school student attendance reporting and (b) are State Board of Education (SBE)-approved or accredited by an SBE-recognized accrediting agency;

3. (a) classes teaching music, dance, drama, art, or a single skill that are up to two hours long; (b) library programs up to two hours long; (c) scouting; (d) programs that offer exclusively sports activities; (e) rehearsals; (f) academic tutoring programs; or (g) programs exclusively for children age 13 or older;

4. informal arrangements among neighbors and formal or informal arrangements among certain relatives in their own homes;

5. supplementary child care operations for educational or recreational purposes where the child receives the care infrequently and the parents are on the premises;

6. supplementary child care operations in retail businesses where the parents remain in the same store as the child for shopping, provided the operation does not charge a fee or refer to itself as a child care center;

7. programs administered by a nationally chartered boys' and girls' club that are exclusively for school-age children;

8. religious educational activities administered by religious institutions exclusively for children whose parents or legal guardians are institution members; and

9. programs administered by organizations under contract with the Department of Social Services that promote teenage pregnancy reduction through services to people age 10 through 19.

5 — MEMBERSHIP OF THE HOME VISITATION PROGRAM CONSORTIUM

The act expands the maximum number of members of the Home Visitation Program Consortium from 25 to 28. It adds (1) the state Maternal, Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting program director (or designee) and (2) up to two more members who represent home visitation programs in the state. Other members already include representatives of (1) state agencies, (2) families receiving home visitation services, and (3) other early childhood or home visitation programs.

This consortium advises OEC and other state agencies on home visitation programs within the early childhood system.

6 — MEMBERSHIP OF LOCAL SCHOOL READINESS COUNCILS

The act expands the required members of local school readiness councils to include the local homeless education liaison designated by the local or regional board of education under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. School districts must form these councils to apply for and receive school readiness funding from the state. The councils include municipal, school district, parent, and early childhood program representatives.

7 — COMMISSIONER'S AUTHORITY TO ENTER INTO LICENSING ENFORCEMENT AGREEMENTS

The act authorizes the commissioner to enter into enforcement agreements for child care and youth camp program licensing matters. It authorizes her to enter into stipulations, agreements, memorandums of understanding, interim consent orders, or consent orders with any person, group, or entity that does the following:

1. maintains, or applies for, a license for a child care center or group or family child care home;

2. establishes, conducts, maintains, or applies for a license as a youth camp;

3. acts or seeks to act as a family child care home assistant or substitute staff member;

4. is the subject of an investigation or disciplinary action pursuant to various child care and youth camp laws while holding an OEC-issued license; or

5. is a party in a contested case in which OEC also is a party.

8 & 9 — REPEAL OF OBSOLETE CHILD CARE FACILITIES GRANT PROGRAM

The act repeals an obsolete child care facilities development and construction grant for municipalities and state agencies and related regulatory authority.

OLR Tracking: JM; CR; PF; MS; JM; bs