July 27, 2022

PAS and BAS Community of Practice Pilots

The Program Quality Assessment team is offering two cohorts of the Business Administration Scale (BAS) Community of Practice (CoP) and is planning to offer a Program Administration Scale (PAS) CoP to eligible child care providers.

About the Program Administration Scale

The PAS CoP pilot will consist of 10 virtual sessions, each two hours in length, plus a pre-session for technology usage and a post session for final questions and next steps. Each session offers a deeper look into the items of the PAS and provides additional resources as well as networking opportunities.

Program directors who would like to participate should fill out an interest survey.

About the Business Administration Scale

Two cohorts of the BAS CoP is available for eligible family child care providers.

The CoP consists of 10 sessions, each 1.5 hours, plus a pre-session for technology usage and a post session for final questions and next steps. Each session offers a deeper look into the Items of the BAS and provides additional resources as well as networking opportunities.

Cohort 1 will run from September 2022 to March 2023 and Cohort 2 will run from January – June 2023. The cost is $70.

Family child care providers who have participated in the BAS professional development sessions are eligible for the CoP cohorts. Family child care providers who would like to participate should fill out an interest survey.

More Information

The expectation is that participants attend the entire series they choose. PQAS hours will be awarded for each session, and a certificate of completion will be awarded for those who complete all sessions. In addition, a variety of resource materials will be provided for each session.



July 26, 2022

Free Training Available: Strengthening Business Practices for Child Care Programs

The National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, in partnership with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the PA Key, is offering Strengthening Business Practices for Child Care Programs this fall.


The training content and activities are designed to strengthen child care providers’ foundational knowledge of sound fiscal management and business operations.

The series contains four modules:

  • Budgets, Projections, and Planning

  • Financial Reports and Internal Controls

  • Marketing for Child Care Programs

  • Staff Recruitment and Retention for Center-based Child Care Programs

There are two versions of this series: one for center-based providers and one for family child care (based) providers. Sessions will begin as early as August and as late as December. See this flyer for session dates and registration details.

Trainings are available at no-cost to participants. PQAS and ACT 48 available. Attendance of full series is required for credit.


July 25, 2022

Resources for Impacts to Medicare and CHIP

Now that the public health emergency surrounding COVID-19 has expired, states will require eligibility renewals for most receiving Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for the first time since March 2020.

Given that significant time may have elapsed since families were last required to renew, the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families issued a Dear Colleague letter in May explaining what the eligibility renewal means for Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and how to help families in danger of losing health care coverage. This situation impacts both families and child care providers and requires each group to take specific and targeted steps in order to prevent the loss of benefits.


In order to assist families during the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Public Health Emergency declaration (PHE), which offered flexibility and additional resources for families struggling during the pandemic. Since the PHE has expired this month, the flexibilities and waivers surrounding it have also dissipated, the most pressing of which requires the need to renew Medicaid and CHIP benefits.

Impacts to Benefits

At the beginning of the pandemic, HHS took steps to prevent ineligible recipients of Medicare and CHIP from losing benefits. This sharply increased enrollment from 16 million beneficiaries to over 70 million. Now that these steps have expired with the PHE, families required to renew their benefits. Since renewals have not taken place since 2020, the most proactive step that families can take to prevent their loss of benefits are:

  • Updating their contact information with state Medicaid program or CHIP
  • Checking their mail for a renewal form while completing and submitting the form in a timely manner.

Assistance with these key messages is available in a Medicaid and CHIP Continuous Enrollment Unwinding — Toolkit in English (PDF) and a toolkit in Spanish (PDF).

Additionally, there are key steps that child care providers can take to share this information with their families:

  • Train all front-line staff and ensure they are knowledgeable on steps families can take to renew their health care coverage.
  • Share key information on Medicaid and CHIP renewal as part of their application intake or renewal process for other programs.
    • States may use information from other programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to verify eligibility and facilitate renewals, though some actions will require a state plan amendment.
    • CMS encourages states to set a renewal schedule that spreads renewal volume over a full 12-month period and aligns renewal dates for individuals within households and with recertification timing for the SNAP and other human services programs.
  • Promote Medicaid and CHIP renewal on their websites, social media channels, and in physical offices. Medicaid Unwinding Toolkit graphics are available in English and Spanish.
  • Ensure that families know if they are no longer eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, they may be eligible for the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Direct them to or help them visit Visit disclaimer page, or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) to get details about Marketplace coverage.


OCDEL Announces Obsolete Certification Announcements

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development and Bureau of Certification Services have issued that several Announcements for certified child care providers have been rendered obsolete.

Learn More

OCDEL regularly uses policy announcements to reflect requirements for methods of child care and the facilities it is provided in. This message provides details as to which announcements that will no longer be in effect and what they will be replaced with. Bureau of Certification Services staff have been instructed to delete copies of the obsolete Announcements. The following announcements are included:

To learn more, see: Announcement C-22-05, Obsolete Bureau of Certification Services Policy Announcements.


July 19, 2022

Supporting Social-Emotional Development and Mental Health of Young Children

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) recently issued a Dear Colleague letter with recommendations to support the social-emotional development and mental health of young children.


Social-emotional development and mental health are foundational for family well-being and children’s healthy development and early learning, and are associated with positive long-term health, educational, and well-being outcomes.

In the Dear Colleague letter, the HHS and ED developed four recommendations to complement the October 2021 ED report on Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Needs, which was developed to assist a wide range of school- or program-based mental health support across early childhood, K-12 schools, and higher education settings.

The four recommendations with suggested action steps are:

  1. Implement evidence-based practices that support positive social-emotional development and mental health for all children and wellness for every caregiver.

  2. Prioritize workforce wellness and enhance workforce capacity to identify and respond to children’s and families’ social-emotional and mental health needs.

  3. Leverage policy and funding to increase access to social-emotional and mental health support and reduce barriers to access.

  4. Use data to promote equitable implementation and outcomes.

Details are available in the Dear Colleague letter.

HHS also will host a series of videos throughout the summer that support young children’s mental health and well-being.


July 14, 2022

Allegheny County DHS Hosts Community Meetings

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) is inviting community members to attend a virtual presentation about the state of human services in the county.


Department of Human Services Director Erin Dalton will present the department’s current priorities and the strategies underway to address them including:

  • Increasing access to human services to ensure that people are getting the right help when they need it.

  • Increasing investment in prevention strategies to help families avoid coercive systems such as child welfare, juvenile justice and criminal justice

  • Increasing investments in strategies that promote economic security.

  • Supporting Allegheny County residents in times of crisis.

This virtual presentation is being offered at two different times via Zoom. The content for both presentations is the same.

Session Details

  • Wednesday, July 27 | 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Thursday, July 28 | 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend. The presentation will also be recorded and shared.

American Sign Language interpretation will be offered at both presentations. Interpretation in Spanish and other languages will be offered at the July 28 session. To request interpretation for a specific language, please indicate that in your RSVP.

For accommodations or requests, contact

Share these flyers about the State of Human Services presentation with your networks:


July 8, 2022

Early Learning Pennsylvania Response to 2022-23 State Budget

The principal partners of Early Learning Pennsylvania (ELPA), a statewide coalition of advocates focused on supporting young Pennsylvanians from birth to age five, believes the Commonwealth’s economic recovery hinges on helping working families by prioritizing greater state investments in high-quality pre-k, child care, and evidence-based home visiting.

ELPA operates four issue-based advocacy campaigns: Pre-K for PA, Start Strong PA, Childhood Begins at Home, and Thriving PA.

State budget investments and reaction statements from these campaigns follow:


  • $60 million in additional funding for the state’s Pre-K Counts program.
  • $19 million in additional funding for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program. 

Together, this $79 million expansion will serve over 2,300 additional young children and increase rates for providers to support the early care and education workforce and address rising costs. 

In a press release, the ELPA campaign states, “Public investment in high-quality pre-k has become a consensus issue in Pennsylvania; aligning political parties, rural, urban and suburban communities, and families across the commonwealth on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that improves the life chances of Pennsylvania’s children.”

Child Care

  • Level funding for the state Child Care Assistance line item.
  • $25 million in Child Care Services specifically to serve families currently enrolled in Child Care Works up to 300% of poverty or the state median income (whichever is lower).
  • $90 million in federal funding to provide one-time child care staff recruitment and retention bonuses.

The budget increases state child care funding by $25 million, allowing families currently enrolled in Child Care Works to continue receiving child care subsidy up to 300% of poverty. These new funds should also have the flexibility to support the 160,978 children younger than age five who are eligible but have yet to be served. The $90 million in federal funding also will provide desperate child care programs the short-term solutions they need to alleviate the workforce recruitment and retention crisis.   

“Unfortunately, this budget misses the opportunity to provide long-term solutions to the tens of thousands of families who are struggling to find child care to return to work, as it fails to address the root cause of Pennsylvania’s devastating child care crisis – a history of low wages, resulting in thousands of open staffing positions and more than 1,600 closed classrooms,” according to the ELPA statement.

Sadly, Pennsylvania’s elected leadership has fallen short on ensuring the availability of sustainable child care funds to stabilize the industry. Without a stabilized child care system, families will continue to struggle to find and afford high-quality child care significantly impacting their ability to return to work and remain employed.”

Home Visiting and Early Intervention

  • $15 million in additional funding for evidence-based home visiting in the Community-Based Family Center line item and $1 million for the Nurse-Family Partnership line item. 
  • $9.3 million for the Early Intervention Part C (infants and toddlers) program through DHS (this figure also appears as $12.2 million when stimulus dollars are not included).
  • $10 million for the Early Intervention Part B (age-three-to-five) program through PDE.

“Voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs mentor parents and others raising children and provide supports to address substance use disorders, develop school readiness, improve maternal and child health, promote economic self-sufficiency, and reduce abuse and neglect. 

“Policymakers made a wise decision to diversify funding and meet families where they are in counties across the state so more parents and their children can access the research-proven benefits the home visiting models deliver.” 

Read ELPA’s full budget response statement for details.

About Early Learning PA Initiatives

Pre-K for PA launched in 2014 with the vision that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. Learn more on the Pre-K for PA website.

Start Strong PA launched in 2019 to support healthy child development, working families, and the economy by increasing access to and affordability of high-quality child care programs for young children. Learn more on the Start Strong PA website.

Childhood Begins At Home is a statewide campaign launched in 2017 to help policymakers and the public understand the value of evidence-based home visiting and support public investments in the programs.  Learn more on the Childhood Begins at Home website.

Thriving PA is a perinatal and child health campaign launched in 2021 and is working to ensure each birthing person, infant, and toddler in Pennsylvania has the opportunity for affordable, quality health care access. Learn more on the Thriving PA website.





Diapers and Baby Book Distribution Event Set for Families

Families with babies ages birth through 18 months are invited to receive diapers, as well as a Best Books for Babies 2022 book bundle, during a free event taking place on Saturday, 7/23. 


The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank will be holding the diaper and book distribution in the Central Baptist Church’s lower parking lot, located next to CLP – Hill District.

Families may choose either a drive-thru option or walk-up option to receive a two-week supply of diapers (sizes 0-3) and their baby book bundle.

Event Details:

Drive-Thru Distribution: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Families may drive up to receive a book bundle and a two week supply of diapers (sizes 0-3) while supplies last. Each family may select up to two sizes of diapers, but organizers ask that each car represent only one family

Walk-Up Distribution: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m

Families may walk up to receive a book bundle and a two week supply of diapers (sizes 0-3) while supplies last. Each family may select up to two sizes of diapers.

For more information about this event, email or call  412.622.3114.


July 7, 2022

Participate in the 2022 Child Care Market Rate Survey

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is asking all Pennsylvania licensed child care facilities to complete the 2022 Child Care Market Rate Survey and share information about tuition rates and the true cost of care.

(This post was updated on 10/03/22 to reflect updated information regarding the Market Rate Survey.)

About the Market Rate Survey

Every two years, OCDEL asks early care and education providers to submit updates on their costs or confirm there has not been any change. These updates and confirmations are necessary as OCDEL uses this information to consider future Child Care Works (CCW) base rate increases. When all providers participate, this accurate accounting of data may mean more money for resources and staff in the form of future increased base rates.

Complete the Survey

The 2022 Child Care Market Rate Survey should be completed by the facility’s director, owner, or other person who is knowledgeable about the facility’s operations and finances. The survey includes questions about private pay tuition rates, payments and fees, CCW program participation, enrollment, staffing, and operations. Private pay tuition rates collected from this survey will be used to update a facility’s rates in the PELICAN system. Rates from PELICAN are also displayed publicly on websites such as the Compass Provider search.

This survey has been mailed to all licensed child care facilities in Pennsylvania and may be completed online or on paper. Providers should complete the survey for the child care facility. If multiple facilities are owned by a single entity, a separate survey must be completed for each. Participation is voluntary, and participants may stop at any time. The minimum participation requirement is 50 percent of licensed providers. As of October 3, 2022, Pennsylvania has a 59 percent response rate to the survey. If you did not receive your mailed copy or misplaced it, please complete the Electronic MRS and return using instructions on the form.

The final deadline to complete the survey is October 11, 2022.

More Information

Those who have questions about the 2022 Child Care Market Rate Survey, those who need help submitting the survey, or those who have not received the survey should contact the Institute of State and Regional Affairs at or leave a toll-free voicemail at 866.982.6433.


Affordable Connectivity Program Available for Families in Need of Internet Service

Did you know that in the city of Pittsburgh, over 17% of households do not have computers and 8.5% of households only have cell phone internet access? According to the Neighborhood Allies Connectivity Scorecard, 83,000 of households in Allegheny County do not have internet access of any kind. This can be troublesome for remote learning, or homework/after-school activities involving home internet access for young children, and stressful for their caregivers.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides eligible, low-income households with up to $30 monthly broadband subsidies on internet service plans, and a one-time benefit of up to $100 to help buy a device, such as a laptop or tablet. 


The Affordable Connectivity Program aims to help low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices.

Families can also qualify for ACP benefits through their children or dependents. If a child or dependent in the home participates in the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program, or is enrolled in a USDA Community Eligibility Provision school, the household qualifies for the ACP benefit.

Do I Qualify? 

Individuals can qualify for the ACP if:

  • their household income is 200% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines. 
  • they or their children/dependents participate in certain government assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, or other programs.
  • they or anyone in their household already receives a Lifeline benefit.
  • they participate in any of the federal assistance Tribal Assistance Programs listed below:
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
    • Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
    • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

Visit the ACP’s How to Apply page to learn more.