Florida Senate - 2018                                    SB 1254
       By Senator Passidomo
       28-00945B-18                                          20181254__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to early learning; amending s.
    3         1002.81, F.S.; requiring a parent with custody of a
    4         child to be verified as a victim of domestic violence
    5         by a certified domestic violence center before his or
    6         her child is considered an “at-risk child”; amending
    7         s. 1002.82, F.S.; revising the duties of the Office of
    8         Early Learning; revising the requirements for the
    9         office’s annual analysis of the state’s early learning
   10         activities; amending s. 1002.85, F.S.; requiring each
   11         early learning coalition’s school readiness program
   12         plan to include a specified assessment; amending s.
   13         1002.87, F.S.; revising the priorities for children’s
   14         participation in a school readiness program; amending
   15         s. 1002.88, F.S.; requiring a school readiness program
   16         provider to participate in specified assessments and
   17         strategies under certain circumstances; amending s.
   18         1002.89, F.S.; requiring school readiness program
   19         funding to include program assessments; amending ss.
   20         1002.84 and 1002.92, F.S.; conforming cross
   21         references; providing an appropriation; providing an
   22         effective date.
   24  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   26         Section 1. Paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of section
   27  1002.81, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   28         1002.81 Definitions.—Consistent with the requirements of 45
   29  C.F.R. parts 98 and 99 and as used in this part, the term:
   30         (1) “At-risk child” means:
   31         (e) A child in the custody of a parent who is a victim of
   32  domestic violence as verified by residing in a certified
   33  domestic violence center.
   34         Section 2. Present paragraphs (j) through (l) and (m)
   35  through (x) of subsection (2) of section 1002.82, Florida
   36  Statutes, are redesignated as paragraphs (k) through (m) and (o)
   37  through (z), respectively, new paragraphs (j) and (n) are added
   38  to that subsection, and present paragraphs (k) and (m) of that
   39  subsection and subsection (5) of that section are amended, to
   40  read:
   41         1002.82 Office of Early Learning; powers and duties.—
   42         (2) The office shall:
   43         (j) Coordinate with the Child Care Services Program Office
   44  of the Department of Children and Families or its contracted
   45  provider for a triennial evaluation of accrediting agencies
   46  approved under s. 402.281(3) to identify accrediting agencies
   47  that have requirements and processes that positively impact
   48  child outcomes. Based on the findings of the evaluation, the
   49  office shall set a payment differential for each child care
   50  provider that is accredited by such an accrediting agency at a
   51  differential rate 20 percent higher than the coalition’s base
   52  approved reimbursement rate for each care level and unit of care
   53  and that has an active Gold Seal Quality Care designation.
   54         (l)(k) Select assessments that are valid, reliable, and
   55  developmentally appropriate for use as preassessment and
   56  postassessment for the age ranges specified in the coalition
   57  plans. The assessments must be designed to measure progress in
   58  the domains of the performance standards adopted pursuant to
   59  paragraph (k) (j), provide appropriate accommodations for
   60  children with disabilities and English language learners, and be
   61  administered by qualified individuals, consistent with the
   62  publisher’s instructions.
   63         (n) Adopt program assessment requirements for school
   64  readiness program providers which measure the quality of
   65  teacher-child interactions using a research-based observation
   66  tool. Requirements must include, at a minimum, the adoption of
   67  quality measures, including a minimum threshold for contracting
   68  purposes, processes for participation, the granting of
   69  exemptions, and the achievement of improvement through the
   70  completion of an improvement plan.
   71         (o)(m) Adopt by rule a standard statewide provider contract
   72  to be used with each school readiness program provider, with
   73  standardized attachments by provider type. The office shall
   74  publish a copy of the standard statewide provider contract on
   75  its website. The standard statewide contract must shall include,
   76  at a minimum, health and safety provisions; contracted slots, if
   77  applicable in accordance with s. 658E(c)(2)(A) of the Child Care
   78  and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, Pub. L. No. 113-186;
   79  quality improvement strategies, if applicable; and program
   80  assessment requirements, including provisions for provider
   81  probation, termination for cause, and emergency termination for
   82  those actions or inactions of a provider which that pose an
   83  immediate and serious danger to the health, safety, or welfare
   84  of the children. The standard statewide provider contract must
   85  shall also include appropriate due process procedures. During
   86  the pendency of an appeal of a termination, the provider may not
   87  continue to offer its services. Any provision imposed upon a
   88  provider that is inconsistent with, or prohibited by, law is
   89  void and unenforceable. Provisions for termination for cause
   90  must include failure to meet the minimum requirements under
   91  paragraph (f) for a period of up to 5 years.
   92         (5) By January 1 of each year, the office shall annually
   93  publish on its website an annual a report of its activities
   94  conducted under this section. The report must include a summary
   95  of the coalitions’ annual reports, a statewide summary, and the
   96  following:
   97         (a) An analysis of early learning activities throughout the
   98  state, including the school readiness program and the Voluntary
   99  Prekindergarten Education Program.
  100         1. The total and average number of children served in the
  101  school readiness program, enumerated by age, eligibility
  102  priority category, and coalition, and the total number of
  103  children served in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education
  104  Program.
  105         2. A summary of expenditures by coalition, by fund source,
  106  including a breakdown by coalition of the percentage of
  107  expenditures for administrative activities, quality activities,
  108  nondirect services, and direct services for children.
  109         3. A description of the office’s and each coalition’s
  110  expenditures, by fund source, for the quality and enhancement
  111  activities described in s. 1002.89(6)(b).
  112         4. A summary of annual findings and collections related to
  113  provider fraud and parent fraud.
  114         5. Data regarding the coalitions’ delivery of early
  115  learning programs by the coalitions.
  116         6. The total number of children disenrolled statewide and
  117  the reason for disenrollment.
  118         7. The total number of providers by provider type.
  119         8. The number of school readiness program providers who
  120  have completed the program assessment required under paragraph
  121  (2)(n) and the number of providers that, at a minimum, have not
  122  met the minimum threshold for contracting, have been granted an
  123  exemption, or have an active improvement plan based on the
  124  results of a program assessment pursuant to paragraph (2)(n).
  125         9.8. The total number of provider contracts revoked and the
  126  reasons for revocation.
  127         (b) A summary of the activities and detailed expenditures
  128  related to the Child Care Executive Partnership Program.
  129         Section 3. Present paragraphs (b) through (i) of subsection
  130  (2) of section 1002.85, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as
  131  paragraphs (c) through (j), respectively, a new paragraph (b) is
  132  added to that subsection, and present paragraphs (c) and (d) of
  133  that subsection are amended, to read:
  134         1002.85 Early learning coalition plans.—
  135         (2) Each early learning coalition must biennially submit a
  136  school readiness program plan to the office before the
  137  expenditure of funds. A coalition may not implement its school
  138  readiness program plan until it receives approval from the
  139  office. A coalition may not implement any revision to its school
  140  readiness program plan until the coalition submits the revised
  141  plan to and receives approval from the office. If the office
  142  rejects a plan or revision, the coalition must continue to
  143  operate under its previously approved plan. The plan must
  144  include, but is not limited to:
  145         (b) An assessment based on available community data which
  146  identifies the needs of children and families and assesses
  147  provider capacity in order to inform local priorities within the
  148  coalition’s county or multicounty region which most directly
  149  impact children’s readiness for school.
  150         (d)(c) The coalition’s procedures for implementing the
  151  requirements of this part, including:
  152         1. Single point of entry.
  153         2. Uniform waiting list.
  154         3. Eligibility and enrollment processes and local
  155  eligibility priorities for children in accordance with s.
  156  1002.87.
  157         4. Parent access and choice.
  158         5. Sliding fee scale and policies on applying the waiver or
  159  reduction of fees in accordance with s. 1002.84(8).
  160         6. Use of preassessments and postassessments, as
  161  applicable.
  162         7. Payment rate schedule.
  163         8. Use of contracted slots, as applicable, based on the
  164  results of the assessment required in paragraph (b).
  165         (e)(d) A detailed description of the coalition’s quality
  166  activities and services, including, but not limited to:
  167         1. Quality improvement strategies that strengthen teaching
  168  practices and improve child outcomes.
  169         2.1. Resource and referral and school-age child care.
  170         3.2. Infant and toddler early learning.
  171         4.3. Inclusive early learning programs.
  172         Section 4. Subsections (1), (2), (3), and (7) of section
  173  1002.87, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  174         1002.87 School readiness program; eligibility and
  175  enrollment.—
  176         (1) Each early learning coalition shall give priority for
  177  participation in the school readiness program as follows:
  178         (a) Priority shall be given first to a child younger than
  179  13 years of age from a family that includes a parent who is
  180  receiving temporary cash assistance under chapter 414 and
  181  subject to the federal work requirements.
  182         (b) Priority shall be given next to an at-risk child
  183  younger than 9 years of age.
  184         (c) Subsequent priority shall be given, based on the early
  185  learning coalition’s local priorities identified under s.
  186  1002.85(2)(b), to children who meet any of the following
  187  criteria:
  188         1.next to A child from birth to the beginning of the
  189  school year for which the child is eligible for admission to
  190  kindergarten in a public school under s. 1003.21(1)(a)2. who is
  191  from a working family that is economically disadvantaged, and
  192  may include such child’s eligible siblings, beginning with the
  193  school year in which the sibling is eligible for admission to
  194  kindergarten in a public school under s. 1003.21(1)(a)2. until
  195  the beginning of the school year in which the sibling is
  196  eligible to begin 6th grade, provided that the first priority
  197  for funding an eligible sibling is local revenues available to
  198  the coalition for funding direct services.
  199         2.(d)Priority shall be given next to A child of a parent
  200  who transitions from the work program into employment as
  201  described in s. 445.032 from birth to the beginning of the
  202  school year for which the child is eligible for admission to
  203  kindergarten in a public school under s. 1003.21(1)(a)2.
  204         3.(e)Priority shall be given next to An at-risk child who
  205  is eligible for admission to kindergarten at least 9 years of
  206  age but is younger than 13 years of age. An at-risk child whose
  207  sibling is enrolled in the school readiness program within an
  208  eligibility priority category listed in paragraph (a) or
  209  paragraph (b) paragraphs (a)-(c) shall be given priority over
  210  other children who are eligible under this paragraph.
  211         4.(f)Priority shall be given next to A child who is
  212  younger than 13 years of age from a working family that is
  213  economically disadvantaged. A child who is eligible under this
  214  paragraph whose sibling is enrolled in the school readiness
  215  program under paragraph (c) shall be given priority over other
  216  children who are eligible under this paragraph.
  217         5.(g)Priority shall be given next to A child of a parent
  218  who transitions from the work program into employment as
  219  described in s. 445.032 who is younger than 13 years of age.
  220         6.(h)Priority shall be given next to A child who has
  221  special needs, has been determined eligible as a student with a
  222  disability, has a current individual education plan with a
  223  Florida school district, and is not younger than 3 years of age.
  224  A special needs child eligible under this paragraph remains
  225  eligible until the child is eligible for admission to
  226  kindergarten in a public school under s. 1003.21(1)(a)2.
  227         7.(i)Notwithstanding paragraphs (a)-(d), priority shall be
  228  given last to A child who otherwise meets one of the eligibility
  229  criteria in paragraphs (a) and (b) (a)-(d) but who is also
  230  enrolled concurrently in the federal Head Start Program and the
  231  Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program.
  232         (2) A school readiness program provider may be paid only
  233  for authorized hours of care provided for a child in the school
  234  readiness program. A child enrolled in the Voluntary
  235  Prekindergarten Education Program may receive care from the
  236  school readiness program if the child is eligible according to
  237  the eligibility priorities and criteria established under
  238  subsection (1) in this section.
  239         (3) Contingent upon the availability of funds, a coalition
  240  shall enroll eligible children, including those from its waiting
  241  list, according to the eligibility priorities and criteria
  242  established under subsection (1) in this section.
  243         (7) If a coalition disenrolls children from the school
  244  readiness program, the coalition must disenroll the children in
  245  reverse order of the eligibility priorities and criteria
  246  established under listed in subsection (1) beginning with
  247  children from families with the highest family incomes. A notice
  248  of disenrollment must be sent to the parent and school readiness
  249  program provider at least 2 weeks before disenrollment to
  250  provide adequate time for the parent to arrange alternative care
  251  for the child. However, an at-risk child may not be disenrolled
  252  from the program without the written approval of the Child
  253  Welfare Program Office of the Department of Children and
  254  Families or the community-based lead agency.
  255         Section 5. Present paragraphs (h) through (q) of subsection
  256  (1) of section 1002.88, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as
  257  paragraphs (j) through (s), respectively, new paragraphs (h) and
  258  (i) are added to that subsection, and paragraph (b) and present
  259  paragraphs (m) and (o) of that subsection and subsection (2) of
  260  that section are amended, to read:
  261         1002.88 School readiness program provider standards;
  262  eligibility to deliver the school readiness program.—
  263         (1) To be eligible to deliver the school readiness program,
  264  a school readiness program provider must:
  265         (b) Provide instruction and activities to enhance the age
  266  appropriate progress of each child in attaining the child
  267  development standards adopted by the office pursuant to s.
  268  1002.82(2)(k) s. 1002.82(2)(j). A provider should include
  269  activities to foster brain development in infants and toddlers;
  270  provide an environment that is rich in language and music and
  271  filled with objects of various colors, shapes, textures, and
  272  sizes to stimulate visual, tactile, auditory, and linguistic
  273  senses; and include 30 minutes of reading to children each day.
  274         (h) Subject to legislative appropriation, participate in a
  275  program assessment in accordance with s. 1002.82(2)(n).
  276         (i) Subject to legislative appropriation, participate in
  277  quality improvement strategies, as required.
  278         (o)(m) For a provider that is an informal provider, comply
  279  with the provisions of paragraph (n) (l) or maintain homeowner’s
  280  liability insurance and, if applicable, a business rider. If an
  281  informal provider chooses to maintain a homeowner’s policy, the
  282  provider must obtain and retain a homeowner’s insurance policy
  283  that provides a minimum of $100,000 of coverage per occurrence
  284  and a minimum of $300,000 general aggregate coverage. The office
  285  may authorize lower limits upon request, as appropriate. An
  286  informal provider must add the coalition as a named
  287  certificateholder and as an additional insured. An informal
  288  provider must provide the coalition with a minimum of 10
  289  calendar days’ advance written notice of cancellation of or
  290  changes to coverage. The general liability insurance required by
  291  this paragraph must remain in full force and effect for the
  292  entire period of the provider’s contract with the coalition.
  293         (q)(o) Notwithstanding paragraph (n) (l), for a provider
  294  that is a state agency or a subdivision thereof, as defined in
  295  s. 768.28(2), agree to notify the coalition of any additional
  296  liability coverage maintained by the provider in addition to
  297  that otherwise established under s. 768.28. The provider shall
  298  indemnify the coalition to the extent permitted by s. 768.28.
  299         (2) If a school readiness program provider fails or refuses
  300  to comply with this part or any contractual obligation of the
  301  statewide provider contract under s. 1002.82(2)(o) s.
  302  1002.82(2)(m), the coalition may revoke the provider’s
  303  eligibility to deliver the school readiness program or receive
  304  state or federal funds under this chapter for a period of 5
  305  years.
  306         Section 6. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (6) of
  307  section 1002.89, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  308         1002.89 School readiness program; funding.—
  309         (6) Costs shall be kept to the minimum necessary for the
  310  efficient and effective administration of the school readiness
  311  program with the highest priority of expenditure being direct
  312  services for eligible children. However, no more than 5 percent
  313  of the funds described in subsection (5) may be used for
  314  administrative costs and no more than 22 percent of the funds
  315  described in subsection (5) may be used in any fiscal year for
  316  any combination of administrative costs, quality activities, and
  317  nondirect services as follows:
  318         (a) Administrative costs as described in 45 C.F.R. s.
  319  98.52, which shall include monitoring providers using the
  320  standard methodology adopted under s. 1002.82 to improve
  321  compliance with state and federal regulations and law pursuant
  322  to the requirements of the statewide provider contract adopted
  323  under s. 1002.82(2)(o) s. 1002.82(2)(m).
  324         (b) Activities to improve the quality of child care as
  325  described in 45 C.F.R. s. 98.51, which shall be limited to the
  326  following:
  327         1. Developing, establishing, expanding, operating, and
  328  coordinating resource and referral programs specifically related
  329  to the provision of comprehensive consumer education to parents
  330  and the public to promote informed child care choices specified
  331  in 45 C.F.R. s. 98.33.
  332         2. Awarding grants and providing financial support to
  333  school readiness program providers and their staff to assist
  334  them in meeting applicable state requirements for program
  335  assessments, child care performance standards, implementing
  336  developmentally appropriate curricula and related classroom
  337  resources that support curricula, providing literacy supports,
  338  and providing continued professional development and training.
  339  Any grants awarded pursuant to this subparagraph shall comply
  340  with ss. 215.971 and 287.058.
  341         3. Providing training, technical assistance, and financial
  342  support to school readiness program providers, staff, and
  343  parents on standards, child screenings, child assessments, child
  344  development research and best practices, developmentally
  345  appropriate curricula, character development, teacher-child
  346  interactions, age-appropriate discipline practices, health and
  347  safety, nutrition, first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the
  348  recognition of communicable diseases, and child abuse detection,
  349  prevention, and reporting.
  350         4. Providing, from among the funds provided for the
  351  activities described in subparagraphs 1.-3., adequate funding
  352  for infants and toddlers as necessary to meet federal
  353  requirements related to expenditures for quality activities for
  354  infant and toddler care.
  355         5. Improving the monitoring of compliance with, and
  356  enforcement of, applicable state and local requirements as
  357  described in and limited by 45 C.F.R. s. 98.40.
  358         6. Responding to Warm-Line requests by providers and
  359  parents, including providing developmental and health screenings
  360  to school readiness program children.
  361         Section 7. Subsection (4) of section 1002.84, Florida
  362  Statutes, is amended to read:
  363         1002.84 Early learning coalitions; school readiness powers
  364  and duties.—Each early learning coalition shall:
  365         (4) Establish a regional Warm-Line as directed by the
  366  office pursuant to s. 1002.82(2)(t) s. 1002.82(2)(r). Regional
  367  Warm-Line staff shall provide onsite technical assistance, when
  368  requested, to assist child care facilities and family day care
  369  homes with inquiries relating to the strategies, curriculum, and
  370  environmental adaptations the child care facilities and family
  371  day care homes may need as they serve children with disabilities
  372  and other special needs.
  373         Section 8. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
  374  1002.92, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  375         1002.92 Child care and early childhood resource and
  376  referral.—
  377         (3) Child care resource and referral agencies shall provide
  378  the following services:
  379         (a) Identification of existing public and private child
  380  care and early childhood education services, including child
  381  care services by public and private employers, and the
  382  development of a resource file of those services through the
  383  single statewide information system developed by the office
  384  under s. 1002.82(2)(p) s. 1002.82(2)(n). These services may
  385  include family day care, public and private child care programs,
  386  the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, Head Start, the
  387  school readiness program, special education programs for
  388  prekindergarten children with disabilities, services for
  389  children with developmental disabilities, full-time and part
  390  time programs, before-school and after-school programs, vacation
  391  care programs, parent education, the temporary cash assistance
  392  program, and related family support services. The resource file
  393  shall include, but not be limited to:
  394         1. Type of program.
  395         2. Hours of service.
  396         3. Ages of children served.
  397         4. Number of children served.
  398         5. Program information.
  399         6. Fees and eligibility for services.
  400         7. Availability of transportation.
  401         Section 9. For the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the nonrecurring
  402  sum of $6 million is appropriated from the Child Care and
  403  Development Block Grant Trust Fund to the Office of Early
  404  Learning to implement the amendments made by this act to s.
  405  1002.82(2), Florida Statutes.
  406         Section 10. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.