2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
Early learning coalitions; school readiness powers and duties.
Early learning coalitions; school readiness powers and duties.
1002.84 Early learning coalitions; school readiness powers and duties.—Each early learning coalition shall:
(1) Administer and implement a local comprehensive program of school readiness program services in accordance with this part and the rules adopted by the department, which enhances the cognitive, social, and physical development of children to achieve the performance standards.
(2) Establish a uniform waiting list to track eligible children waiting for enrollment in the school readiness program in accordance with rules adopted by the State Board of Education.
(3) Establish a resource and referral network operating under s. 1002.92 to assist parents in making an informed choice and provide maximum parental choice of providers and to provide information on available community resources.
(4) Establish a regional Warm-Line as directed by the department pursuant to s. 1002.82(2)(u). Regional Warm-Line staff shall provide onsite technical assistance, when requested, to assist child care facilities and family day care homes with inquiries relating to the strategies, curriculum, and environmental adaptations the child care facilities and family day care homes may need as they serve children with disabilities and other special needs.
(5) Establish an age-appropriate screening, for children ages birth to 5 years, of each child’s development and an appropriate referral process for children with identified delays. Such screening shall not be a requirement of entry into the school readiness program and shall be only given with parental consent.
(6) Implement an age-appropriate preassessment and postassessment of children if specified in the coalition’s approved plan.
(7) Use a coordinated professional development system that supports the achievement and maintenance of core competencies by school readiness program teachers in helping children attain the performance standards adopted by the department.
(8) Determine child eligibility pursuant to s. 1002.87 and provider eligibility pursuant to s. 1002.88. Child eligibility must be redetermined annually. A coalition must document the reason a child is no longer eligible for the school readiness program according to the standard codes prescribed by the department.
(9) Establish a parent sliding fee scale that provides for a parent copayment that is not a barrier to families receiving school readiness program services. A coalition may waive the copayment for an at-risk child or temporarily waive the copayment for a child whose family’s income is at or below the federal poverty level or whose family experiences a natural disaster or an event that limits the parent’s ability to pay, such as incarceration, placement in residential treatment, or becoming homeless, or an emergency situation such as a household fire or burglary, or while the parent is participating in parenting classes or participating in an Early Head Start program or Head Start Program. A parent may not transfer school readiness program services to another school readiness program provider until the parent has submitted documentation from the current school readiness program provider to the early learning coalition stating that the parent has satisfactorily fulfilled the copayment obligation.
(10) Establish proper maintenance of records related to eligibility and enrollment files, provider payments, coalition staff background screenings, and other documents required for the implementation of the school readiness program.
(11) Establish a records retention requirement for sign-in and sign-out records that is consistent with state and federal law. Attendance records may not be altered or amended after December 31 of the subsequent year.
(12) Follow the tangible personal property requirements of chapter 274 and rules adopted under that chapter.
(13) Comply with federal procurement requirements and the procurement requirements of ss. 215.971, 287.057, and 287.058, except that an early learning coalition is not required to competitively procure direct services for school readiness program and Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program providers.
(14) Establish proper information technology security controls, including, but not limited to, periodically reviewing the appropriateness of access privileges assigned to users of certain systems; monitoring system hardware performance and capacity-related issues; and ensuring appropriate backup procedures and disaster recovery plans are in place.
(15) Develop written policies, procedures, and standards for monitoring vendor contracts, including, but not limited to, provisions specifying the particular procedures that may be used to evaluate contractor performance and the documentation that is to be maintained to serve as a record of contractor performance. This subsection does not apply to contracts with school readiness program providers or Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program providers.
(16) Monitor school readiness program providers in accordance with its plan, or in response to a parental complaint, to verify that the standards prescribed in ss. 1002.82 and 1002.88 are being met using a standard monitoring tool adopted by the department. Providers determined to be high-risk by the coalition, as demonstrated by substantial findings of violations of federal law or the general or local laws of the state, shall be monitored more frequently. Providers with 3 consecutive years of compliance may be monitored biennially.
(17) Adopt a payment schedule that encompasses all programs funded under this part and part V of this chapter. The payment schedule must take into consideration the prevailing market rate or an alternative model that has been approved by the Administration for Children and Families pursuant to 45 C.F.R. s. 98.45(c), include the projected number of children to be served, and be submitted for approval by the department. Informal child care arrangements shall be reimbursed at not more than 50 percent of the rate adopted for a family day care home.
(18) Implement an anti-fraud plan addressing the detection, reporting, and prevention of overpayments, abuse, and fraud relating to the provision of and payment for school readiness program and Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program services and submit the plan to the department for approval, as required by s. 1002.91.
(19) By October 1 of each year, submit an annual report to the department. The report shall conform to the format adopted by the department and must include:
(a) Segregation of school readiness program funds, Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program funds, and other local revenues available to the coalition.
(b) Details of expenditures by fund source, including total expenditures for administrative activities, quality activities, nondirect services, and direct services for children.
(c) The total number of coalition staff and the related expenditures for salaries and benefits. For any subcontracts, the total number of contracted staff and the related expenditures for salaries and benefits must be included.
(d) The number of children served in the school readiness program, by provider type, enumerated by age and eligibility priority category, reported as the number of children served during the month, the average participation throughout the month, and the number of children served during the month.
(e) The total number of children disenrolled during the year and the reasons for disenrollment.
(f) The total number of providers by provider type.
(g) A listing of any school readiness program provider, by type, whose eligibility to deliver the school readiness program is revoked, including a brief description of the state or federal violation that resulted in the revocation.
(h) An evaluation of its direct enhancement services.
(i) The total number of children served in each provider facility.
(20) Maintain its administrative staff at the minimum necessary to administer the duties of the early learning coalition.
(21)(a) To increase transparency and accountability, comply with the requirements of this section before contracting with one or more of the following persons or business entities which employs, has a contractual relationship with, or is owned by the following persons:
1. A member of the coalition appointed pursuant to s. 1002.83(3);
2. A board member of any other early learning subrecipient entity;
3. A coalition employee; or
4. A relative, as defined in s. 112.3143(1)(c), of any person listed in subparagraphs 1.-3.
(b) Such contracts may not be executed without the approval of the department. Such contracts, as well as documentation demonstrating adherence to this section by the coalition, must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the coalition, a quorum having been established; all conflicts of interest must be disclosed before the vote; and any member who may benefit from the contract, or whose relative may benefit from the contract, must abstain from the vote. A contract under $25,000 is not required to have the prior approval of the department but must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the coalition, a quorum having been established, and must be reported to the department within 30 days after approval. If a contract cannot be approved by the department, a review of the decision to disapprove the contract may be requested by the early learning coalition or other parties to the disapproved contract.
History.—s. 17, ch. 2013-252; s. 178, ch. 2014-17; s. 17, ch. 2016-238; s. 3, ch. 2018-136; s. 51, ch. 2021-10.