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Office of Early Learning releases 2016-2017 annual report.

12/21/2017

The Office of Early Learning continued to build on its foundation of resources and partnerships in 2016-17, adding and strengthening key elements of Florida’s early learning structure.

Highlights during the year included Florida's selection as one of nine states and territories chosen to be part of the federal Impact Project—an effort to increase national collaboration, streamline state quality improvement efforts and identify areas for growth. 

Florida will create a comprehensive early learning system by integrating current quality initiatives and enhancing the Early Learning Performance Funding Project. The Florida Legislature created the performance-funding project through the 2014-2015 General Appropriations Act. It offers performance-based funding for school readiness providers with high-need populations that demonstrate improved program quality, teacher-child interactions and/or child outcomes. In fiscal year 2016-17—the project’s third year, 341 early learning providers with 1,204 teachers received targeted training and performance-based funding for improving school readiness program outcomes.

The office adopted or amended 14 administrative rules during the 2016-17 fiscal year, updating and clarifying processes and legislative changes. This included completing amendments necessary to implement legislative changes and align school readiness policies with federal requirements resulting from the 2014 Child Care Development Block Grant reauthorization. Some of that alignment included developing and releasing a formal position statement about limiting or preventing the use of expulsion, suspension and dismissal as a disciplinary tool. The statement led to statewide training to help early childhood professionals develop strong policies and implement best practices to serve vulnerable, at-risk children.

More Office of Early Learning updates include new health and safety requirements for child care providers that receive federal funding. All child care providers offering the School Readiness Program must now have at least one inspection each year. Additionally, in July 2016, a new law went into effect that gave parents of young 4- year-olds the option to enroll their child in VPK a year later. Recognizing how important it is for children to be ready for kindergarten, OEL also led a statewide effort to help 4-year-olds transition to kindergarten successfully.

Read more about these highlights and more in the 2016-2017 Annual Report.

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