News

June 12, 2024

OCDEL to Kick Off Third Annual Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) will kick off its third annual, eight-week virtual Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip on Monday, June 24.

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Families, teachers, and early childhood education partners are invited throughout the summer to follow along and discover activities and resources that support early learning and literacy.

The virtual road trip provides information about Pennsylvania libraries and state parks. It also includes fun resources, activities to do with children, and book recommendations to support early literacy and language.

All activities in the road trip align with PA Early Learning Standards and can be done anywhere. This year’s theme represents elements from the 2024 Pennsylvania One Book selection – Rachel Bright’s “Slug in Love.” Participants should look through the travel journal to find characters from the book who tag along during the road trip.

Resources

The 2024 summer resources include:

  • Summer literacy and learning road trip map (available in English and Spanish): Use the map to follow along with the road trip. Print it for children to follow along.
  • My Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip Travel Journal: This feature will help children explore books and activities. Each week, discover something new with a child, then help them to complete their journal. Identify three favorite books they read and activities they have done during the week. Each week, learn about a different library, get book recommendations, and find activities to do at a state park.

For more information, visit the Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip website.

News

June 11, 2024

OCDEL Names Director of Bureau of Early Learning and Professional Development

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has named Luisa Olivo-Wolf as its director of the Bureau of Earning Learning Policy and Professional Development.

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Olivo-Wolf is an executive leader in early childhood education and the nonprofit sector. She has a master’s degree in community leadership from Alvernia University, a bachelor’s degree in social work from Millersville University, and a nonprofit management certificate from Temple University.

Previously, she served as the assistant chief program officer at the Community Progress Council. There, she oversaw early childhood programs, including PA Pre-K Counts, Early Head Start, and Head Start. She helped to ensure quality services for children and families, and fostered holistic professional development and community engagement.

Olivo-Wolf was also previously the director of strategic initiatives, family, and community engagement manager and family advocate at the Community Progress Council. She held director roles at the College Hill Children’s Center and Hildebrandt Learning Centers at Masonic Village and Gap. She also served as the community school director at Washington Elementary School, where she coordinated on-site health, academic, and social service programs for children and families. 

Through Keystone STARS, the state’s quality rating improvement system, the bureau develops and implements standards for early learning programs and professionals to improve the quality of early learning for young children.

It also provides financial support and technical assistance for programs and professionals. The bureau is responsible for establishing and maintaining the rules, regulations, and procedures for Child Care Works (CCW), the state Department of Education’s subsidized child care program. 

Both programs are managed at the regional level through the grantees known as Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs). 

News

June 4, 2024

Provider Agreements for Certified Child Care Providers Updated

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has released updated provider agreements for certified child care providers.

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OCDEL’s Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development released the provider agreements (ELRC 24-01). Certified child care providers would have to complete and sign the new agreements, which will be effective August 1, 2024.

The agreement establishes the terms of participation and payment between the payer and a certified child care provider that provides care to children who participate in the state’s subsidized child care program, Child Care Works (CCW).

Changes made to the provider agreement and appendices include:

  • Changes for terms of the agreement
  • Changes for Article III conditions of the agreement
  • Changes for Article IV ending the agreement
  • Appendices
  • Signature page

ELRCs to Mail Agreements

Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRC) will begin to mail or email updated certified child care provider agreements and appendices to certified child care providers who participate in CCW on Monday, June 3.

Providers who participate in CCW must read and sign the updated agreement, indicating that they agree to follow all rules within the agreement and appendices. They must return the signed agreement to the ELRC by Wednesday, July 31.

Additional information on the provider agreement can be found on the Pennsylvania Key website.

News

May 29, 2024

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Graduate Recognition Event

The Pennsylvania Child Care Association will honor more than 200 T.E.A.C.H. early childhood scholarship recipients who have earned degrees and credentials this year at an event in June.

Learn More

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Pennsylvania Graduate Recognition Event will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, June 11 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Those interested in attending should register by Monday, June 10.

T.E.A.C.H. is supported by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) of the state’s Department of Human Services and Department of Education.

News

April 17, 2024

OCDEL Announces 2024 Equity in Early Childhood Education Champion Award Recipients

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has announced the recipients of the 2024 Equity in Early Childhood Education (ECE) Champion Award. Several local child care providers were among this year’s recipients.

About the Equity in ECE Champion Award

The Equity in Early Childhood Education Champion Award recognizes the equity work of Pennsylvania early childhood education (ECE) programs and professionals, and highlights the impact of that work on staff, children, and families within early childhood education settings.

The award recipients’ work aligns with the state Department of Education’s Equity and Inclusion Toolkit and the position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Local Award Recipients

Award recipients for 2024 in the region included:

Gold Level

  • Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh
  • Pre-K Kids Learning Center, New Castle

Silver Level

  • AIU/Steel Valley Family Center, Homestead
  • Brightside Academy, Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh
  • Jack Safer, President & CEO, Brightside Academy, Pittsburgh

Bronze Level

  • Dr. Shawna Starling, Vice President of Intervention and Development Services, Brightside Academy, Pittsburgh
  • Shady Lane School, Pittsburgh

Learn More

The Equity in Early Childhood Education Award brings awareness to and highlights the equity work taking place within the state’s early childhood education and afterschool settings by child care, evidence-based home visiting, and early intervention professionals and organizations that support the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

An appreciation event will be held at the State Capitol Rotunda, located at 501 N. 3rd St. in Harrisburg, at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24. The event is open to the public.

News

April 3, 2024

Submit a Comment: Child Care Development Fund

Members of the public are invited to review Pennsylvania’s 2025-27 Child Care Development Fund plan and submit comments online or in writing through the mail.

Child Care Development Fund Plan

Every three years, the state is required to submit a Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) plan that describes how CCDF money will be administered in the state’s child care system. 

The plan is a requirement for funding through activities prioritized in the Child Care Development Block Grant. The CCDF is one of the primary federal funding sources for monitoring regulated child care programs as well as providing child care subsidies through Child Care Works, improving child care quality through Keystone STARS, and offering professional development. 

Public Comment Period

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has finalized the first draft of the 2025-27 CCDF plan. The public comment period for the draft is now open.

Early childhood education professionals and partners can either submit a comment online or in writing through the mail to:

       OCDEL, Attention: Jessica Sands
       607 South Drive
       4th Floor Rotunda
       Harrisburg, PA 17120

The deadline for submitting comments is April 26.

Virtual Public Hearing

Those interested in submitting a comment may also do so by attending one of two CCDF State Plan Virtual Sessions. Members of the public can attend the virtual sessions without providing a comment, but they must still register for the session.

Registration is now open for the virtual session on April 15 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and for the session on April 17 from noon to 2 p.m.

Trying Together’s Office Hours

Trying Together will offer office hours in April regarding the Child Care Development Fund plan. Providers can attend any of the following Zoom meetings without registering in advance:

News

March 27, 2024

Review and Comment Period Open for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is inviting families, early childhood educators, Early Intervention and child care providers, and other professionals to review and make comments on the proposed 2024 application for Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The review and comment period opens Monday, April 1 and closes on Wednesday, May 15.

About IDEA, Part C and the Application

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a federal grant program that assists states in providing early intervention and school-aged services to children with special needs. Part C of IDEA – also known as the Infant Toddler Early Intervention Program – provides early intervention services for children from birth through 36 months. Through the application, children with special needs due to developmental delays and disabilities are eligible to receive free early intervention services.

Early intervention services can include family training, counseling, and home visits as well as occupational, physical, or speech therapy. Other services include hearing loss services; health, nutrition, and social work; assistance with service coordination; assistive technology devices and services; and transportation.

Services – which are based upon the individual needs and strengths of each child and the child’s family – may be provided in the child’s home, child care center, nursery school, play group, Head Start program, early childhood special education classroom, or other familiar settings.

Review and Comment Period

Anyone who would like to review the proposed grant application can find the document at Early Intervention Services or Early Intervention (pa.gov) on the right side menu of the web pages. Hard copies can also be requested by emailing ra-ocdintervention@pa.gov or by calling 717-346-9320.

Opportunities to provide public comment include:

  • Visiting Part C Grant Public Comment. The link will allow for online comments when the review and comment period commences on April 1.
  • Submitting written comments regarding the proposed grant application to:
    Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Bureau of Early Intervention Services and Family Supports
    ATTN: Public Comments for Part C Grant Application
    607 South Drive, 4th Floor Rotunda
    Harrisburg, PA 17120

Those who need accommodation or assistance to review the proposed grant application or to submit comments should contact ra-ocdintervention@pa.gov or call 717-346-9320.

Comments will be accepted through Wednesday, May 15.

Learn More

The Department of Education will review and consider all comments before submitting the final grant application. To learn more about the review and comment period, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.

Sources

The above information was compiled from the U.S. Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and Pennsylvania Key websites.

News

January 22, 2024

2024 OCDEL Conference – Stable and Secure: Supporting Children Through Trauma Sensitive Approaches

Registration is now open for the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) Early Childhood Education Conference, Stable and Secure: Supporting Children Through Trauma Sensitive Approaches.

The conference is a transformative event that deepens our understanding of child and adult well-being through trauma-sensitive approaches. This unique gathering brings together experts, practitioners, and educators, committed to creating stable and secure environments for young children, their families, and the adults who serve them.

Event Details

When: March 25-26

Where: Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA

Cost: Free

Registration: Register today!

More Details

Directors and teachers of Pennsylvanian licensed child care centers, group child care, family child care homes, and after-school care are invited. Limit two staff per program, with a limit of 500 total attendees.

News

July 12, 2023

DHS Requests Feedback on Corrective Action Process Resources

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is requesting feedback from child care providers on recently developed corrective action process (CAP) resources through a new survey.

About Corrective Action Process Resources & CAP Resources Survey

In recognizing the importance of corrective action processes in human services licensing, DHS released its, “Developing a Plan of Correction,” webinar in 2019. That same year, they released a corresponding, “Plan of Correction Quick Reference Guide,” (available as a PowerPoint presentation and PDF).

The webinar aimed to assist providers with the successful development and implementation of acceptable plans of correction. The guide, consequently, was issued as a tool to assist providers with this process.

Now the department seeks to understand the efficacy of these tools. Survey results will provide needed insight and help determine additionally needed resources.

Access and Take the Survey

Utilize the following link to access and take the survey:

The survey closes Wednesday, July 26. DHS must receive all responses on or before that date.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) webpage.

Source

Trying Together took the information in this post directly from the Department of Human Services announcement. Some text may have been added, paraphrased, or adapted for readability and comprehension.

Related Content & Resources

News

State Departments Extend Insurance Survey Deadline, Add Spanish Option

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) have extended the deadline for child care providers to complete their survey on health insurance in the child care industry.

Entitled, “Child Care Liability Insurance Survey,” the questionnaire is aimed at improving state understanding of the insurance market, and will now close on Friday, August 4.

(Trying Together updated this article on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 to reflect the extended deadline and addition of the Spanish survey option). 

About the Child Care Liability Insurance Survey

PID and DHS have become aware of difficulties child care providers now face in securing health insurance for themselves and their employees, given the rising cost of care. Though PID previously sent out a similar survey, the limited response inhibited the department’s ability to fully understand the scope of the insurance market. Because of this, they have partnered with DHS to release the Child Care Liability Insurance Survey.

This survey will help PID and DHS understand availability and affordability of insurance and assist in determining next steps.

Responses are confidential. Also, DIP and DHS will only share general, aggregated results.

Access and Take the Survey

Utilize the links below to access and take the survey:

The survey closes on Friday, August 4. Please complete the survey on or before that date.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Key website. Please contact Caolinn Martin at caolmartin@pa.gov or Jameekia Barnett at jamebarnet@pa.gov with questions.