Today's Law As Amended


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SB-50 Early learning and care.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The first five years of life are uniquely important for a child’s growth and development, and set the foundation for lifelong health, well-being, and success. Young children’s experiences and interactions with parents, caregivers, and educators shape the architecture of the brain and strengthen their cognitive, social, and emotional development.
(b) Research shows that quality learning experiences during children’s critical early years of brain development are pivotal to their success in school, health and well-being, and life prospects.
(c) Family childcare and early learning and care programs, including family childcare, with a two-generation, whole-child approach that integrate comprehensive health and family supports hold great promise for children and families.
(d) Ensuring access to quality early learning and care, especially for those children and families most marginalized and excluded from opportunity, can help mitigate the impact of systemic racism and poverty and narrow disparities based on income and race.
(e) Families with young children, especially infants and toddlers, will benefit from strengthening the mixed delivery early learning and care system, including family childcare, community-based programs, and schools.
(f) The annual Budget Act for the 2019–20 fiscal year required the state to adopt a Master Plan for Early Learning and Care to ensure comprehensive, quality, and affordable childcare for children from birth to schoolage.
(g) Building a more coherent and integrated early learning and care system and continuum will better meet the needs of children, families, and early learning and care providers.

SEC. 2.

 Section 8203.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8203.5.
 (a) The Superintendent department  shall ensure that each contract entered into under this chapter to provide child care  childcare  and development services, or to facilitate the provision of those services, provides support to the public school system of this state through the delivery of appropriate educational services to the children served pursuant to the contract.
(b) The Superintendent department  shall ensure that all contracts for child care  childcare  and development programs include a requirement that each public or private provider maintain a developmental profile to appropriately identify the emotional, social, physical, and cognitive growth of each child served in order to promote the child’s success in the public schools. To the extent possible, the department shall provide a developmental profile to all public and private providers using existing profile instruments that are most cost efficient. A public or private provider may use any valid and reliable instrument to meet the requirement to maintain a developmental profile, including, but not limited to, the Desired Results Developmental Profile, as described in Section 18272 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.  The provider of any program operated pursuant to a contract under Section 8262 shall be responsible for maintaining developmental profiles upon entry through exit from a child development program.
(c) This section is not subject to Part 34 (commencing with Section 62000) of Division 4 of Title 2.
(d) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2011.

SEC. 3.

 Section 8235 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8235.
 (a) The Superintendent shall administer all California state preschool programs. Those programs shall include, but not be limited to, part-day  age and developmentally appropriate programs designed to facilitate the transition to kindergarten for three- and four-year-old children in educational development,  children birth to five years of age, inclusive, that provide early learning and care,  health services, social services, nutritional services, parent education and parent participation, evaluation, and staff development. Preschool programs for which federal reimbursement is not available shall be funded as prescribed by the Legislature in the Budget Act, and unless otherwise specified by the Legislature, shall not use federal funds made available through Title XX of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1397).
(b) Three- and four-year-old children are eligible for the part-day California state preschool program if the family meets at least one of the criteria specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 8263.
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, a part-day California state preschool program may provide services to children in families whose income is no more than 15 percent above the income eligibility threshold, as described in Sections 8263 and 8263.1, after all eligible three- and four-year-old children have been enrolled. No more than 10 percent of children enrolled, calculated throughout the participating program’s entire contract, may be filled by children in families above the income eligibility threshold.
(d) Notwithstanding any other law, after all otherwise eligible children have been enrolled, a part-day  a  California state preschool program may provide services to three- and four-year-old  children in families whose income is above the income eligibility threshold if those children have been identified as “children with exceptional needs” pursuant to subdivision (l) of Section 8208. Children receiving services pursuant to this subdivision shall not count towards the 10-percent limit of children from families above the income eligibility threshold as specified in subdivision (c).
(e) A part-day California state preschool program shall operate for a minimum of (1) three hours per day, excluding time for home-to-school transportation, and (2) a minimum of 175 days per year, unless the contract specifies a lower number of days of operation.
(f) Any agency described in subdivision (c) of Section 8208 as an “applicant or contracting agency” is eligible to contract to operate a California state preschool program.
(g) Part-day preschool services shall be reimbursed on a per capita basis, as determined by the Superintendent, and contingent on funding being provided for the part-day preschool services in the annual Budget Act.
(h) Federal Head Start funds used to provide services to families receiving California state preschool services shall be deemed nonrestricted funds.
(i) School districts and charter schools that administer a California state preschool program may place four-year-old children in a transitional kindergarten program classroom in accordance with subdivisions (h) to (j), inclusive, of Section 48000.
(j) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, a California state preschool program contracting agency may provide services to any child in a family who meets the requirements of subdivision (a) of Section 8263 and who has not yet turned five years of age by September 1 of the fiscal year in which they are being served. Children who turn five years of age by September 1 of the fiscal year in which they are being served may remain in a California state preschool program until they start kindergarten, but no later than September 30.
(2) A California state preschool program serving infants and toddlers shall be reimbursed at an equivalent rate to general childcare and development programs using adjustment factors pursuant to Section 8265.5.
(3) A California state preschool program shall meet the minimum ratios required for each age group pursuant to Section 18290 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(k) A family childcare home education network shall be eligible to provide preschool services for children from birth to five years of age, inclusive.

SEC. 4.

 Section 8235.2 is added to the Education Code, to read:

8235.2.
 On or before July 1, 2023, the Superintendent shall develop and implement a plan to award contracts as three-year grants, with annual budget periods, based on child enrollment, using adjustment factors pursuant to Section 8265.5. The plan shall aim to do all of the following:
(a) Streamline and improve the application and contracting process for contracting agencies, including the application and contracting process for family childcare home education networks.
(b) Focus contract goals and reporting requirements on positive outcomes for children, families, and providers, and reduce unnecessary reporting requirements.
(c) Reimburse programs based on child days of enrollment.
(d) Support programs to promote child enrollment, including family engagement and support.
(e) Establish goals to ensure the program’s average enrollment remains above 95 percent of child enrollment.

SEC. 5.

 Section 8236 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8236.
 (a) (1)  Each applicant or contracting agency funded pursuant to Section 8235 shall give first priority to three- or four-year-old  neglected or abused children who are recipients of child protective services, or who are at risk of being neglected, abused, or exploited upon written referral from a legal, medical, or social service agency. If an agency is unable to enroll a child in this first priority category, the agency shall refer the child’s parent or guardian to local resources and referral services so that services for the child can be located.
(2) Notwithstanding Section 8263, after children in the first priority category set forth in paragraph (1) are enrolled, each agency funded pursuant to Section 8235 shall give priority to eligible four-year-old children who are not enrolled in a state-funded transitional kindergarten program before enrolling eligible three-year-old children. Each agency shall certify to the Superintendent that enrollment priority is being given to eligible four-year-old children.
(b) (1) (A) Commencing June 15, 2015, and notwithstanding any other law, in awarding new funding for the expansion of a California state preschool program that is appropriated by the Legislature for that purpose in any fiscal year, the Superintendent, after taking into account the geographic criteria established pursuant to Section 8279.3 and the data described in subparagraph (B), shall give priority to applicant agencies that, in expending the expansion funds, will provide the greatest progress toward achieving access to full-day, full-year services for all income-eligible four-year-old  children.
(B) In awarding funding pursuant to subparagraph (A) and in order to promote access for all income-eligible four-year-old  children to at least a part-day California state preschool program, the department shall take into account the needs assessments submitted to the department pursuant to Section 8499.5 and any other high-quality data resources available to the department.
(2) Expansion funding awarded pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be apportioned at the rate described in Section 8265 and as determined in the annual Budget Act.
(3) A family child care  childcare  home education network shall be eligible to apply for any  expansion funding awarded pursuant to paragraph (1). awarded. 
(c) This section does not preclude a local educational agency from subcontracting with an appropriate public or private agency to operate a California state preschool program and to apply for funds made available for purposes of this section. If a school district chooses not to operate or subcontract for a California state preschool program, the Superintendent shall work with the county office of education and other eligible agencies to explore possible opportunities in contracting or alternative subcontracting to provide a California state preschool program.
(d) This section does not prevent eligible children who are receiving services from continuing to receive those services in future years pursuant to this chapter.
(e) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2019.

SEC. 6.

 Section 8236.2 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8236.2.
 (a) The department  Superintendent and the State Department of Social Services  shall promote full utilization use  of child care  childcare  and development funds funds,  and match available unused funds with identified service needs. The department shall arrange intraagency  To promote continuity of care for children and to meet community needs, the department shall allow and arrange intraagency and interagency  adjustments between California state preschool contracts and general child care  contracts, general childcare contracts, family childcare home education network contracts, and migrant childcare and development  contracts for the same agency and  or different agencies and the same  funding allocation. The department  Superintendent and the State Department of Social Services  shall establish timelines for intraagency and interagency  contract fund transfers.
(b) Notwithstanding the rulemaking provision provisions  of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), the department  Superintendent and the State Department of Social Services  may implement and administer this section through the issuance of guidance or other written directives, which may include, but is not limited to, establishing timelines for submittal of requests to transfer funds.
(c) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2019. Notwithstanding any other law, no later than June 30, 2022, the Superintendent and the State Department of Social Services shall offer an opportunity for all contracting agencies under Section 8262 to transfer funds pursuant to subdivision (a). 

SEC. 7.

 Section 8236.3 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8236.3.
 (a) Commencing January 1, 2020, 2022,  and notwithstanding any other law, a provider operating a state preschool program within the attendance boundary of a public school, except a charter or magnet school, where at least 80 percent of enrolled pupils are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, may enroll four-year-old children, as defined in Section 8208, as follows: three- and four-year-old children without verifying or documenting income eligibility. 
(b) Families enrolled pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be assessed the maximum applicable monthly fee listed in the fee schedule established pursuant to Section 8273 or any section subsequently enacted related to the fee schedule.
(c)  (1) First priority shall be given to children as provided for in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 8236. A family enrolled pursuant to subdivision (a) may, at enrollment or any other time, voluntarily report income. This information shall be documented, and shall be used, as applicable, to reduce the family’s fees. 
(2) Second priority shall be given to children as provided for in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 8236.
(3) Third priority shall be given to families meeting the eligibility requirements of Section 8263.
(4) (2)  Any remaining slots may be open to enrollment of any families not otherwise eligible pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 8263, subject to both of the following: A contracting agency enrolling children pursuant to subdivision (a) shall inform families at enrollment of their option to voluntarily disclose income to reduce the family’s fees, as applicable. 
(A) (d)  Enrollment of eligible three- and  four-year-old children pursuant to this paragraph subdivision (a)  shall be limited to families that establish residency within the attendance boundary of the qualifying public school pursuant to this subdivision. Providers shall require proof of residency as a condition of enrollment.
(B) (e)  To the best of their ability, providers shall give first enrollment priority for slots available pursuant to this paragraph to families with the lowest income, and last enrollment priority to families with the highest income.
(b) (f)  (1) Notwithstanding the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) and Section 33308.5, until regulations are filed with the Secretary of State to implement subdivision (a), the department shall implement subdivision (a) through management bulletins or similar letters of instruction issued on or before December 1, 2019. 2022. 
(2) The department shall initiate a rulemaking action to implement subdivision (a) on or before December 31, 2020. 2023.  The department shall convene a workgroup of parents, advocates, department staff, child development program representatives, and other stakeholders to develop recommendations regarding the implementation of subdivision (a).
(c) (g)  For purposes of this section, “magnet school” means an entire school with a focus on a special area of study, such as science, the performing arts, or career education, designed to attract pupils from across the school district who may choose to attend the magnet school instead of their local public school.

SEC. 9.SEC. 8.

 Section 8263 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8263.
 (a) (1) The Superintendent department  shall adopt rules and regulations on eligibility, enrollment, and priority of services needed to implement this chapter. In order to be eligible for federal and state subsidized child development services, families shall meet at least one requirement in each of the following areas:
(A) A family is (i) a current aid recipient, (ii) income eligible, (iii) homeless, or  (iv) one whose children are recipients of protective services, or whose children have been identified as being abused, neglected, or exploited, or at risk of being abused, neglected, or exploited. exploited, or (v) one who has a member of its household who is certified to receive benefits from Medi-Cal, CalFresh, the California Food Assistance Program, the California Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, Head Start, Early Head Start, or any other designated means-tested government program, as determined by the department. 
(B) A family needs the childcare services (i) because the child is identified by a legal, medical, or social services agency, a local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youths designated pursuant to Section 11432(g)(1)(J)(ii) of Title 42 of the United States Code, a Head Start program, or an emergency or transitional shelter as (I) a recipient of protective services, (II) being neglected, abused, or exploited, or at risk of neglect, abuse, or exploitation, or (III) being homeless or (ii) because the parents are (I) engaged in vocational training leading directly to a recognized trade, paraprofession, or profession, (II) engaged in an educational program for English language learners or to attain a high school diploma or general educational development certificate, (III) employed or seeking employment, (IV) seeking permanent housing for family stability, or (V) incapacitated.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), after all families meeting at least one of the criteria specified in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) have been enrolled, a full-day California state preschool program may provide services to three- and four-year-old  children in families who do not meet at least one of the criteria specified in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1).
(3) If only one parent has signed an application for enrollment in childcare services, as required by this chapter or regulations adopted to implement this chapter, and the information provided on the application indicates that there is a second parent who has not signed the application, the parent who has signed the application shall self-certify the presence or absence of the second parent under penalty of perjury. The parent who has signed the application shall not be required to submit additional information documenting the presence or absence of the second parent.
(b) Except as provided in Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350), priority for federal and state subsidized child development services is as follows:
(1) First priority shall be given to neglected or abused children who are recipients of child protective services, or children who are at risk of being neglected or abused, upon written referral from a legal, medical, or social services agency. If an agency is unable to enroll a child in the first priority category, the agency shall refer the family to local resource and referral services to locate services for the child.
(2) Second priority shall be given equally to eligible families, regardless of the number of parents in the home, who are income eligible. Within this priority, families with the lowest gross monthly income in relation to family size, as determined by a schedule adopted by the Superintendent, department,  shall be admitted first. If two or more families are in the same priority in relation to income, the family that has a child with exceptional needs shall be admitted first. If there is no family of the same priority with a child with exceptional needs, the same priority family that has been on the waiting list for the longest time shall be admitted first. For purposes of determining order of admission, grants of public assistance recipients shall be counted as income.
(3) The Superintendent department  shall set criteria for, and may grant specific waivers of, the priorities established in this subdivision for agencies that wish to serve specific populations, including children with exceptional needs or children of prisoners. These new waivers shall not include proposals to avoid appropriate fee schedules or admit ineligible families, but may include proposals to accept members of special populations in other than strict income order, as long as appropriate fees are paid.
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, in order to promote continuity of services, a family enrolled in a state or federally funded childcare and development program whose services would otherwise be terminated because the family no longer meets the program income, eligibility, or need criteria may continue to receive child development services in another state or federally funded childcare and development program if the contractor is able to transfer the family’s enrollment to another program for which the family is eligible before the date of termination of services or to exchange the family’s existing enrollment with the enrollment of a family in another program, provided that both families satisfy the eligibility requirements for the program in which they are being enrolled. The transfer of enrollment may be to another program within the same administrative agency or to another agency that administers state or federally funded childcare and development programs.
(d) A physical examination and evaluation, including age-appropriate immunization, shall be required before, or within six weeks of, enrollment. A standard, rule, or regulation shall not require medical examination or immunization for admission to a childcare and development program of a child whose parent or guardian files a letter with the governing board of the childcare and development program stating that the medical examination or immunization is contrary to the parent’s or guardian’s religious beliefs, or provide for the exclusion of a child from the program because of a parent or guardian having filed the letter. However, if there is good cause to believe that a child is suffering from a recognized contagious or infectious disease, the child shall be temporarily excluded from the program until the governing board of the childcare and development program is satisfied that the child is not suffering from that contagious or infectious disease.
(e) Regulations formulated and promulgated pursuant to this section shall include the recommendations of the State Department of Health Care Services relative to health care screening and the provision of health care services. The Superintendent department  shall seek the advice and assistance of these health authorities in situations where service under this chapter includes or requires care of children who are ill or children with exceptional needs.
(f) The Superintendent department  shall establish guidelines for the collection of employer-sponsored childcare benefit payments from a parent whose child receives subsidized childcare and development services. These guidelines shall provide for the collection of the full amount of the benefit payment, but not to exceed the actual cost of childcare and development services provided, notwithstanding the applicable fee based on the fee schedule.
(g) The Superintendent department  shall establish guidelines according to which the director or a duly authorized representative of the childcare and development program will certify children as eligible for state reimbursement pursuant to this section.
(h) (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), upon establishing initial eligibility or ongoing eligibility for services under this chapter, a family shall be considered to meet all eligibility and need requirements for those services for not less than 12 24  months, shall receive those services for not less than 12 24  months before having their eligibility or need recertified, and shall not be required to report changes to income or other changes for at least 12 24  months.
(2) A family that establishes initial eligibility or ongoing eligibility on the basis of income shall report increases in income that exceed the threshold for ongoing income eligibility as described in subdivision (b) of Section 8263.1, and the family’s ongoing eligibility for services shall at that time be recertified.
(3) A family may at any time voluntarily report income or other changes. This information shall be used, as applicable, to reduce the family’s fees, increase the family’s services, or extend the period of the family’s eligibility before recertification.
(i) (1) Because a family that meets eligibility requirements at its most recent eligibility certification or recertification is considered eligible until the next recertification, as provided in subdivision (h), a payment made by a child development program for a child during this period shall not be considered an error or an improper payment due to a change in the family’s circumstances during that same period.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designated agent  department  may seek to recover payments that are the result of fraud.
(j) (1) Notwithstanding the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) and Section 33308.5 of this code, until regulations are filed with the Secretary of State to implement subdivision (h), the department shall implement subdivision (h) through management bulletins or similar letters of instruction on or before October 1, 2017. 2022. 
(2) The department shall initiate a rulemaking action to implement subdivision (h) on or before December 31, 2018. The department shall convene a workgroup of parents, advocates, department staff, child development program representatives, and other stakeholders to develop recommendations regarding implementing subdivision (h). 2023. 
(k) Public funds shall not be paid directly or indirectly to an agency that does not pay at least the minimum wage to each of its employees.  
(l) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2019.

SEC. 9.

 Section 8263.5 is added to the Education Code, to read:

8263.5.
 (a) For purposes of establishing eligibility for services under this chapter, “a member of the household who is certified to receive benefits from Medi-Cal, CalFresh, the California Food Assistance Program, the California Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, Head Start, Early Head Start, or any other designated means-tested government program, as determined by the department” means any of the following:
(1) A member of the household has been certified as eligible to receive benefits or services in any of those programs. The family shall provide documentation of current enrollment in the program, unless the contracting agency has, and elects to use, other means of obtaining verification of that enrollment.
(2) A contracting agency has determined a member of the household is eligible for Head Start or Early Head Start services.
(b) Further proof of income shall not be required for determining eligibility under this chapter. A family may submit a self-certification of income for the purposes of prioritizing enrollment, pursuant to Section 8263, and calculating family fees, pursuant to Section 8273.
(c) Notwithstanding the rulemaking provision of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), the department may implement and administer this section through the issuance of guidance or other written directives.

SEC. 10.

 Section 8263.6 is added to the Education Code, to read:

8263.6.
 (a) If a family is eligible for services under this chapter on the basis that the parent is employed, and the parent’s employment has a variable schedule, the contracting agency shall use simplifying assumptions to authorize the maximum certified hours of care based on need for care. The family shall not be required to report a change in employment schedule for at least 24 months after establishing eligibility, however, a family may, at any time, voluntarily report a change in schedule.
(b) If a family is eligible for services under this chapter on the basis that the family is homeless, or that the parents are seeking employment or seeking permanent housing for family stability, services shall occur on no more than five days per week and for less than 40 hours per week.
(c) Notwithstanding the rulemaking provision of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), the department may implement and administer this section through the issuance of guidance or other written directives.

SEC. 12.SEC. 11.

 Section 8265 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8265.
 (a) The Superintendent department  shall implement a plan that establishes reasonable standards and assigned reimbursement rates, which vary with the length of the program year and the hours of service.
(1) Parent fees shall be used to pay reasonable and necessary costs for providing additional services.
(2) When establishing standards and assigned reimbursement rates, the Superintendent department  shall confer with applicant agencies.
(3) The reimbursement system, including standards and rates, shall be submitted to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
(4) The Superintendent department  may establish any regulations he or she  the department  deems advisable concerning conditions of service and hours of enrollment for children in the programs.
(5) The department shall use the product of a child’s days of enrollment for each certified child multiplied by the contract rate and applicable adjustment factors to determine reimbursement rates.
(b) Commencing July 1, 2018, the standard reimbursement rate shall be eleven thousand nine hundred ninety-five dollars ($11,995) and, commencing with the 2019–20 fiscal year, shall be increased by the cost-of-living adjustment granted by the Legislature annually pursuant to Section 42238.15. Commencing July 1, 2018, the full-day state preschool reimbursement rate shall be twelve thousand seventy dollars ($12,070) and, commencing with the 2019–20 fiscal year, shall be increased by the cost-of-living adjustment granted by the Legislature annually pursuant to Section 42238.15.
(c) The plan shall require agencies having an assigned reimbursement rate above the current year standard reimbursement rate to reduce costs on an incremental basis to achieve the standard reimbursement rate.
(d) (1) The plan shall provide for adjusting reimbursement on a case-by-case basis, in order to maintain service levels for agencies currently at a rate less than the standard reimbursement rate. Assigned reimbursement rates shall be increased only on the basis of one or more of the following:
(A) Loss of program resources from other sources.
(B) Need of an agency to pay the same child care  childcare  rates as those prevailing in the local community.
(C) Increased costs directly attributable to new or different regulations.
(D) Documented increased costs necessary to maintain the prior year’s level of service and ensure the continuation of threatened programs.
(2) Child care  Childcare  agencies funded at the lowest rates shall be given first priority for increases.
(e) The plan shall provide for expansion of child development programs at no more than the standard reimbursement rate for that fiscal year.
(f) The Superintendent department  may reduce the percentage of reduction for a public agency that satisfies any of the following:
(1) Serves more than 400 children.
(2) Has in effect a collective bargaining agreement.
(3) Has other extenuating circumstances that apply, as determined by the Superintendent. department.