Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1897 Day care centers: birth to first grade license option.(2015-2016)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) In the 1970s, California led the nation in the creation of its licensing system for community care facilities, and pioneered recognition of the special needs of infants and toddlers with a license distinct from preschool-age care.
(b) While the standard of care in California statutes remains appropriate, the bifurcation of early care licensing in California into two separate licenses is unnecessary and problematic.
(c) Many states now mandate the standard required in California, but without dual-licensing. California is one of only two states in the country that employ a separate infant-toddler license. Other states employ a single license for early childhood centers, mandating developmentally appropriate standards based on the age of the children served.
(d) Even in California, family day care homes are not subject to the dual license requirement. Only private fee and state and federally funded child day care facilities are subject to the dual license requirement.
(e) It is the intent of the Legislature to create a third facility license option serving children from birth to entering first grade. This additional facility license option shall not replace the current infant license, preschool license, and toddler component option, but instead be in addition to these early care and education facility licensure options.
(f) It is also the intent of the Legislature that all of the following are required under the birth to entering first grade license option:
(1) Children shall be grouped together by their appropriate developmental levels, and appropriate staff-child ratio and group size regulations shall be followed.
(2) Children shall transition from age-appropriate classrooms or program spaces when their developmental level is appropriate for such a move.
(3) A child’s chronological age and the entire group’s need shall also be considering factors for these moves.
(4) All children shall be supervised appropriately by teachers and aides with appropriate staff qualifications. Toddlers may be grouped with either infants or preschoolers as long as the requirements applicable to the youngest age group in the group are followed.
(5) Emphasis shall be placed on improving the quality of early care and education for children from birth to entering first grade in center-based programs.
(6) Long-term efficiency within the Community Care Licensing Division of the State Department of Social Services shall be promoted through the elimination of duplicate paperwork, toddler component waiver processing, and compliance visits to day care centers.
(7) A single inspection visit and administration of the birth to entering first grade day care center shall be implemented versus multiple inspection visits and administration of a day care center with an infant license or preschool license and a toddler component option. This will increase efficiency and allow a department analyst to more holistically evaluate the birth to entering first grade day care center, which will lead to stronger health and safety practices. The efficiencies gained will reduce cost pressure on the department and allow more providers to operate in California, and thus open more spaces for children and parents waiting for care.
(g) The ability for providers to choose which type of facility license option best meets their specific programmatic contract, business, and community needs will allow for more flexibility in the planning for a successful operation of the center.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1596.951 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

 (a) The department shall, in consultation with stakeholders through the regulatory process, adopt regulations on or before January 1, 2018, to develop and implement a birth to entering first grade license option for day care centers. Regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall include all of the following:
(1) Age-appropriate transition periods that do all of the following:
(A) Allow children to transition from one age group to another age group up to three months before or three months after their birthday.
(B) Take the needs of the whole age group into consideration in order to move children together.
(C) Consider continuity of care of the children and parents being served.
(D) Consider the needs of the day care center licensees to maximize spaces being used.
(2) A requirement that when a birth to entering first grade license option is being issued to a new or current day care center licensee, the licensee shall list the age groups of children being served at the day care center for the purposes of license inspections, data collection management, and county needs assessments.
(3) A requirement that all other licensing regulations that apply to a day care center shall also apply to a birth to entering first grade license option.
(b) (1) A new applicant for a birth to entering first grade license option may be charged a fee commensurate with the other age specific facility license fee schedules.
(2) Until an existing day care center license has been replaced with a birth to entering first grade license option, a day care center licensee shall maintain a day care center that meets regulatory standards for the age groups of children that are being cared for at the day care center, and standards for inspection of a day care center shall be based on the current license.
(c) Stakeholders consulted in adopting regulations pursuant to this section shall include, but are not limited to, the State Department of Education, California Association for the Education of Young Children, Early Edge California, First 5 California, Children Now, Alliance for Early Success, California Head Start Association, California Child Development Administrators Association, California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, California Child Care Coordinators Association, Infant Development Association, the Western Office of Zero to Three, L.A. Alliance, Professional Association for Childhood Education, Californians for Quality Early Learning, WestEd, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Title 5 and Head Start-funded center-base child care providers, and private fee -for-service center-based child care providers.