Building a Unified Early Childhood System
In response to Governor Northam’s Executive Directive Four-This is a PDF document. (2019) and the advocacy efforts of hundreds of stakeholders, Virginia is building a unified early childhood system under the VDOE. This call for unification was formalized through legislation signed by Governor Northam in July 2020, directing Virginia to:
- Move oversight for all early childhood care and education programs to the VDOE,
- Establish a new Early Childhood Advisory Committee, and
- Create a Uniform Measurement and Improvement System.
Transition Oversight of Child Care and Family Day Homes
Effective July 1, 2021, the Board of Education will be responsible for setting policy priorities for early childhood care and accountability, to be carried out by the VDOE. This creates a single point of accountability for school readiness in the Commonwealth.
VDOE will assume oversight of child care licensing and monitoring and the Child Care Subsidy Program as of July 1. All existing policies and regulations will transfer to VDOE as-is.
The following resources provide more information about this transition:
- Report on the Child Care Oversight Transition for the General Assembly (December 1, 2020)
- Overview of the Child Care Transition-This is a Word document.
- Transition of Child Care Licensing and Monitoring-This is a Word document.
- Child Care Subsidy Program FAQ-This is a Word document.
Launch of a New Early Childhood Advisory Committee
The new Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) will advise the Board of Education on all matters related to the unified early childhood system at the VDOE. By law, ECAC membership reflects the full range and diversity of ECCE providers, advocates, and child development experts in the Commonwealth. Members were nominated based on a competitive application process and approved by the Board in January 2020.
The ECAC will meet at least four times a year to review information related to the programs, systems, and regulations related to Virginia’s unified early childhood system. All meetings will be open to the public. Refer to Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) for the meeting schedule, agendas, and minutes.
Creating a Uniform Measurement and Improvement System
Over a three year period, the VDOE will lead the development of a new measurement and improvement system that will focus on the quality of all publicly-funded birth-five classrooms and support families to choose quality programming across different program types. All publicly funded providers will be required to participate in the new unified system. This effort will build on Virginia's federal preschool development grant birth-to-five (PDG B5) and efforts of local community networks.
The Unified Measurement and Improvement System will be developed and scaled over the next three years. This will include two years of practice with the new system.
- All programs will have the opportunity to participate in at least one practice year.
- 2021-2022 Practice Year 1
- 2022-2023 Practice Year 2
- 2023-2024, All publicly-funded programs will be required to participate, with the first public ratings shared in the fall of 2024
- Programs that do not receive any public funds, will have the option to participate
The following resources provide more information about the Unified Measurement and Improvement System:
- Overview & Timeline for Building Virginia’s Unified Quality Measurement and Improvement System-This is a Word document.
- Planning for the Virginia Quality Transition-This is a Word document.
- Participating in the Unified Measurement and Improvement Systems FAQ-This is a Word document.
- Overview for Practice Years-This is a Word document.
Quality Webinar Recordings
Information about the timeline, process and guiding principles used to inform the design and implementation of the new unified system was shared in October during the Quality Matters (Part 1) webinar.
- March 19th Recording: Quality Matters (Part 2)
- March 24th Recording: ECAC meeting - Proposal presentation
If you have questions about the information provided in the recordings above, please contact Kris Meyers by email at Kris.Meyers@doe.virginia.gov.