March 22, 2023

Additional Course to be Required for PQAS Certification

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development & Early Learning (OCDEL) recently adopted a new set of Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators (PA PSCECE), which require an additional self-paced Professional Development (PD) Registry course for Professional Development Instructor Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System (PQAS) approval, beginning July 1.

The new course, “Submitting PQAS Courses in the PD Registry,” meets enhanced PSCECE standards.

Changes to PQAS Application Requirements

Currently, instructors seeking Professional Development Instructor PQAS approval must complete the following self-paced PD Registry courses:

  • Overview of Keystone STARS: Pennsylvania’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
  • Engaging Adult Learners
  • The Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators

On July 1, Pennsylvania will add “Submitting PQAS Courses in the PD Registry” to this list of required courses, as part of the PQAS application requirements for all new PD Instructor PQAS instructors.

PQAS-approved instructors who have already updated courses to align with PA PSCECE do not need take this additional course.

However, if you currently have PQAS approval, but have not submitted any courses since May 2022, you must complete the additional course prior to submitting any new courses into the PD Registry.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.


February 10, 2022

Advocacy 101

The Advocacy 101 workshop gives an overview of the origin and need for advocacy in our region. Participants will receive an overview of the ELPA campaigns, how ECE programs are impacted by the budget process, and ways professionals and families can use their experience and knowledge to advocate. Participants should leave with foundational knowledge of the ELPA campaigns, and various advocacy actions they participate in or lead.

This session will be virtual via Zoom. Register online to obtain the Zoom link.


  1. Gain knowledge of the what advocacy is defined of in regards to early childhood efforts.
  2. Discover what the early childhood landscape consists of in the state of Pennsylvania.
  3. Begin to learn about advocacy strategies and messaging to elevate the early childhood profession.

This course is available for 1.5 hours of PQAS credit (K6.5.C1).

Learn More

Learn more about the Early Learning Pennsylvania campaigns and sign up for public policy alerts on the training together website.


January 27, 2022

Equity in Action: Prioritizing and Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announces a National Call to Action through the upcoming Information Memorandum (IM), Equity in Action: Prioritizing and Advancing Racial Equity and Support for the Undeserved Communities. The IM promotes racial equity as a critical factor to advance the economic and social well-being of children, youth, families, individuals, and communities through the administration and delivery of human services.

Join the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) on February 3, 2022 to learn about the Biden administration’s overall actions to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government. Explore the significance of racial equity in the U.S. and discover ways you can make an impact to advance equity.

How to Register

Registration is required for this free, virtual event. Individuals may register online via Eventbrite.

Key Topics

Topics for the webinar include:

  • Background information about the significance of and the Biden administration’s actions around racial equity
  • Agency-wide and program-specific actions taken by ACF to advance Equity in Action
  • Ways that stakeholders in the field can advance equity

About The Administration for Children and Families

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is a division of the Department of Health & Human Services. We promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities with partnerships, funding, guidance, training and technical assistance.


December 13, 2021

2021 State of Child Welfare Report

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children has released their 2021 State of Child Welfare Report, which raises concerns about the need to strengthen the child welfare system. Data was collected in 2020, highlighting only the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report shows a decrease in child protective services reporting and the number of children placed in foster care statewide.

Report Findings

In 2020 there were 32,919 CPS reports, which was a 22% decline in reports from 2019, but the substantiation of reports was the highest in the last five years, with 14% of reports being investigated and found to be true. Notably, stay-at-home orders, moving to virtual learning, and less contact with medical professionals created a significant decrease in mandated reporting trends during the year for which the most recent data is available.

While substantiation rates did increase, data from 2021 will be significant to see how trends shift as schools resumed in-person instruction. There was subsequently more interaction between mandated reporters, such as teachers, with children and families. We anticipate the 2021 data will show an increase in referrals and a potential decrease in substantiation as the system struggles to respond to the needs of children experiencing abuse and neglect during an unprecedented time of crisis.

In 2020, 21,689 children were served in the Pennsylvania foster care system, a 12% decrease in the total population from the prior year. Fewer referrals being made by mandated reporters means fewer occasions to identify abuse leading to placement.

Additional Information

The full 2021 State of Child Welfare report, as well as a snapshot for each county, can be viewed on the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children website.


December 8, 2021

Report Highlights Home-Based Child Care as Key to Economic Recovery

Trying Together, Allegheny County child care providers, business leaders, and advocates joined representatives of state legislative offices and members of the community on December 7, 2021 to release a new report from the nonprofit ReadyNation on the importance of protecting and strengthening home-based child care – calling such actions essential to supporting our state’s working parents and to bolstering our economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19.


The report, “Home-Based Child Care: A Key to Keeping the Pennsylvania Workforce and Economy Strong,” documents that the number of family child care homes has dropped 32 percent across Pennsylvania in recent years. In fact, almost half of the 1,000+ child care providers that have closed permanently since the onset of the pandemic have been home-based providers. The report cautions that given the current overall shortage of child care, particularly for infants, this decrease in home-based child care availability is especially problematic.

The panel discussion focused on the need to include home-based child care as part of state and federal efforts to stabilize and strengthen the overall child care system. Noting that home-based child care is frequently overlooked when discussing solutions to the present child care crisis, the report identifies reforms focused on quality caregiving and sustainability. Specifically, the report recommends:

  1. Enhanced mentorship opportunities for home-based providers;
  2. Revising the Keystone STARS Program to recognize key differences among home-based providers and ensure that high-quality home-based providers can more readily become rated as high-quality;
  3. Increasing compensation to cover the actual cost of high-quality care through subsidy rates and reform the reimbursement rates for home-based high-quality care;
  4. Stabilizing the budgets of home-based child care providers through participation in programs like Infant Toddler Contracted Slots; and, 
  5. Engaging in public education and promotion efforts statewide on the importance of high-quality child care across all settings.

More Information

To learn more about the panel discussion, read this news release or view the recording.


September 15, 2021

DHS Enforces Mask Mandates in Child Care

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has issued clarification about the minimum necessary documentation that must be maintained by a child care provider to demonstrate a masking exemption and the enforcement actions that the Department of Human Services will take for noncompliant licensed child care providers.

Comply with Masking Mandate

Since September 7, 2021, all staff and children in K-12 schools and licensed child care facilities have been required to wear face coverings under an order issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Child care providers striving for compliance can work closely with certification representatives for strategies and resources to maintain full compliance.

Failure to implement measures for staff and children to follow the order subjects a child care provider to the following child care licensing enforcement actions:

  • Initial citations for non-compliance.

  • Failure to return a license inspection summary with an acceptable Plan of Correction (POC) within ten (10) calendar days after notification of noncompliance may result in the DHS denying, refusing to renew or revoking your certificate of compliance.

  • A downgrade to a Provisional Certificate of Compliance as a result of noncompliance to the order will result in the inability to apply for, or receive, a Child Care Stabilization Grant.

  • Continued non-compliance may result in continued enforcement action up to and including issuance of an Emergency Removal Order. Citations will not be issued to providers where there are temporary instances when staff and children are not wearing their face mask but there is intent to comply with the order.

Process for Exemptions to the Face Covering Order

Any child care facility simply permitting a parent’s/caretaker’s sign-off without medical documentation that the child has a medical or mental health condition or disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering is not in compliance with the order.

Under the order, child care facilities must require all individuals, two years of age and older, to wear face coverings unless the individual has an exemption. While there are exceptions, a parent’s/caretaker’s opposition to the order is not one of them.

Before an individual is exempt from the face covering requirements, all alternatives to a face covering, including a face shield, are to be exhausted.

Parents/caretakers indicating their child is exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition must have individualized documentation from the child’s physician. Form letters and parental/caretaker notes are not sufficient for documentation of compliance.

Parents/caretakers and staff must submit appropriate documentation that is signed by a medical professional to the child care provider by September 21, 2021.

More Information

For more information, read the full masking order and OCDEL’s Announcement C-21-08: Compliance with Acting Secretary of Health’s Face Covering Order. For more news, visit our news page.


November 17, 2020

Provide Your Feedback: Subsidized Child Care Eligibility

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) are accepting public comments through December 14, 2020 for proposed changes to the current subsidized child care eligibility regulations.


Proposed changes to the subsidized child care eligibility regulations at 55 Pa. Code Chapter 3041 might impact families, children, and early childhood education providers. The proposed changes include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • expanded eligibility period of 12 months;
    • expanded eligibility to cover hours the parent or caretaker requires sleep following completion of overnight work shift;
    • no changes to the amounts of subsidy and co-payment for the duration of the eligibility period, unless to the family’s benefit;
    • abolished the requirement for the parent or caretaker to pay an advanced co-pay prior to enrollment;
    • children who turn 13 during the eligibility period will continue to receive the subsidy until the eligibility period ends;
    • codifying payment practices permitting tiered reimbursement for providers who voluntarily exceed the basic health and safety requirements;
    • codifying payment practices based on enrollment and not attendance, to include increasing the number of permitted absences from 25 to 50 per fiscal year;
    • after five consecutive days absent, the child maintains eligibility, but the enrollment is suspended until the child returns to care; and
    • establishment of waiver provisions and periods of presumptive eligibility for particular populations, including victims of domestic violence and families experiencing homelessness.

How To Submit A Comment

All public comments must be submitted in writing by December 14, 2020. All comments, suggestions, or objections should reference the regulation number, section, and subsection. Comments can be submitted using the following methods:

    • fax your comments to 717.214.6575; or
    • mail your comments to:Michael Ordonez
      Office of Child Development and Early Learning
      333 Market Street, 6th Floor
      Harrisburg, PA 17126

If you would like to receive a response, please include your contact information when submitting.

More Information

For information about the current regulations, visit the Pennsylvania Code website. To view the latest issue, read Volume 50 Number 46.

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November 16, 2020

DHS Warns of Potential Pandemic EBT Benefit Scam

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is warning of a possible scam concerning Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits and reminding Pennsylvanians to be skeptical of unsolicited or random calls or text messages about public-assistance programs – especially when the calls or text messages solicit personal information, such as Social Security numbers.


DHS is investigating a report of individuals receiving calls with pre-recorded messages advising them to expedite their P-EBT benefits issuance by providing their Social Security number and case record number. In the message, the speaker claims to be from a County Assistance Office (CAO).

DHS and other government agencies do not ask for information about P-EBT, SNAP, or any other public-assistance programs via unsolicited or random calls or texts, and Pennsylvanians should not reply to such a call or text or share any personal information if they are contacted in this way. If you or anyone you work with receive unsolicited or random calls or text messages telling you that you qualify for assistance and then asking for personal information, it is most likely a scam. Do not respond. Delete the message so you do not get caught in an identity theft scam.

Pennsylvanians who have questions about whether a call, text, letter, or other communication is legitimate should contact DHS’ Office of Income Maintenance. Clients in Philadelphia should call the Philadelphia Customer Service Center at 215.560.7226. Clients in all other counties can call the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1.877.395.8930.

Apply for Benefits

Applications for the SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at All Pennsylvanians experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic, a lost job, or a change in income are strongly encouraged to apply and see if they qualify for assistance with food, health care, and other essential needs.

More Information

For more information, read the full press release. To learn about food assistance resources for people around Pennsylvania impacted by COVID-19 and the accompanying economic insecurity, visit the Department of Agriculture’s food security guide.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services


November 12, 2020

Educators: Join the Leap into Science National Network

Are you an educator in Pennsylvania who is interested in receiving training and materials to lead science and literacy workshops for children and families? Join the Leap into Science National Network! Applications must be submitted by December 14, 2020.


Leap into Science is a nationwide program developed by The Franklin Institute Science Museum that integrates open-ended science activities with children’s books, designed for children ages three through 10-years-old and their families. The program empowers educators to offer workshops in community settings like libraries, museums, and out-of-school time programs to engage underserved audiences in accessible and familiar settings.

Leap into Science provides workshops on a science theme for three possible audiences: early childhood, elementary, and/or family groups. If your organization was already trained in the Leap into Science Wind curricula, you are NOT eligible to attend this training.

Organization Benefits

Each organization that participates in Leap into Science will receive:

    • a two-hour virtual training on high-quality science and literacy curriculum and facilitation strategies for two or more educators;
    • ongoing support during program implementation as part of a Leap into Science National Network;
    • access to the national Leap into Science leadership team and online resources; and
    • a curriculum and materials kit (valued at $300).

Participation Commitments

As a Leap into Science partner organization, participants commit to:

    • scheduling and leading at least three Leap into Science workshops for children and/or families living in underserved rural or urban communities by September 2021, including an event during National Leap into Science Week (June 7 – 13, 2021);
    • posting each workshop to The Connectory, a searchable directory for STEM programs across the country;
    • completing a workshop report following each workshop; and
    • participating in quarterly calls with other trained educators in your state.

Available Workshops

The Pennsylvania Leap into Science Team is hosting a free two-hour virtual training on the Leap into Science Light & Shadow workshops at the following times:

    • Friday, January 29, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    • Tuesday, March 16, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    • Thursday, May 13, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Submit An Application

To participate in the national network and attend one of the trainings listed above, please complete this brief application form by December 14, 2020.

Priority will be given to organizations that can send at least two educators to the training and who serve traditionally underrepresented audiences. If selected, you will receive an email notification of your acceptance by the end of December with details about the training you will attend.

More Information

For questions, contact Betsy O. Saatman at or 484.955.5909.


ECE Job Openings: 11/12 – 11/18

Are you looking to start or transition your career in the early childhood field? You’re in luck! Early learning programs in Pennsylvania are currently looking to fill positions. To view this week’s featured job descriptions, see the list below.

Featured Jobs

Preschool Specialist

Kids Kademy II L.L.C. is looking to hire a reliable, nurturing, and dedicated individual to lead their Preschool Program. An ideal candidate would be knowledgeable about Keystone STARS. To apply, email your resume to

Infant/Toddler Room Assistant Teachers

Carriage House Children’s Center is seeking Infant/Toddler Room Assistant Teachers who will be responsible in assisting with children’s daily activities under the guidance of a teacher. If you have previous experience working with young children and are interested in joining their inclusive learning community where all families, children, and staff feel welcome and respected, please apply.

To apply, complete the online application. For questions, contact

Preschool Teachers

Carriage House Children’s Center is seeking highly-motivated Preschool Teachers who value the importance of building strong relationships with children, understand how young children learn and develop, and are dedicated to creating a nurturing learning environment for every child. If you have previous experience working with young children and are interested in joining their inclusive learning community where all families, children, and staff feel welcome and respected, please apply.

To apply, complete the online application. For questions, contact

Lead Young Toddler Room Teacher

Carriage House Children’s Center is seeking a full-time Lead Young Toddler Room Teacher for their Infant/Toddler Program. If you have previous experience working with young children and are interested in joining their inclusive learning community where all families, children, and staff feel welcome and respected, please apply.

To apply, complete the online application. For questions, contact


Submit a Job Description

Each week, Trying Together publishes a news post that features employer-submitted job positions from early learning programs across Pennsylvania. Trying Together shares these posts online through our website, social media channels, and newsletter. To make it into next week’s post, please submit the Child Care Provider Job Post Submission Form no later than Wednesday, November 18.

This form is intended for positions in the early childhood field. Job descriptions not related to the early childhood field will not be included. All job descriptions submitted after November 18 will be published in the next week’s news post. Please note that news post publication dates may vary due to state and federal holidays. For questions, contact Lainey Yockey at

Search Additional Jobs

Are you interested in starting or shifting your career in early childhood care and education? Visit the ECE Hire website or sign up for their weekly newsletter for current job listings and helpful tips on interviewing, resumes, and more. To stay up to date on our featured positions and more, follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.