WHEREAS, quality early care and education have been proven to level the playing field as children enter kindergarten, closing the gap between the intellectual and social skills of children from high risk backgrounds and those of their more advantaged peers. Reaching children during these early years is vital to their ultimate academic success. Longitudinal studies show that the primary effects last well into adulthood, preventing significant societal costs, including remedial education, criminal justice and mental and physical health services; and
WHEREAS, families with young children benefit from the consumer awareness and access to quality early care and education services offered by Delaware Stars for Early Success; and
WHEREAS, early care and education programs benefit from support to improve the quality of services; and
WHEREAS, Delaware Stars for Early Success, a quality rating and improvement system has been successfully piloted in Delaware; and
WHEREAS, Vision 2015 has championed the importance of quality early childhood experiences and program accountability as measured through Delaware Stars for Early Success; and
WHEREAS, United Way of Delaware’s Success By 6™ endorses and supports Delaware Stars for Early Success;
WHEREAS, Delaware Stars for Early Success is a public-private partnership initiated by the Delaware Early Childhood Council and supported by Delaware Business Roundtable, The Family & Workplace Connection, Nemours Health and Prevention Services, Social Venture Partners Delaware, JP Morgan Chase, United Way of Delaware, early care and education programs, and the Departments of Education and Health and Social Services;
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend § 3001, Title 14, Delaware Code by redesignating the existing subsections (d) and (e) as subsections (e) and (f).
Section 2. Amend § 3001, Title 14, Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (d) to read as follows:
“(d) The Department of Education shall establish Delaware Stars for Early Success, a quality rating and improvement system. Such rating system shall measure the level of quality of service provided by an early care and education program to safeguard and ensure the growth, development, and learning of the children. The rating and improvement system shall:
(1) Establish quality standards that build upon the child care licensing regulations and include quality standards in the categories of Learning Environment and Curriculum, Qualifications and Professional Development, Family and Community Partnerships, and Management and Administration.
(2) Ensure that the standards are based on research on best practice related to early care and education and that support children in being physically and emotionally healthy and eager to learn.
(3) Inform families and other purchasers of early care and education about the level of quality in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.
(4) Develop a quality improvement plan that informs participating early care and education programs of their strengths, weaknesses and strategies to improve the quality of their programs.
(5) Target resources to support and recognize programs as they work on implementing improvement plans and increasing the quality of services to children and families.
(6) Provide professional development and technical assistance to assist programs in accomplishing targeted improvements.
(7) Establish public-private partnerships to implement and sustain the quality rating and improvement system including state agencies, higher education, adult education programs, early childhood organizations and community based agencies.
(8) Evaluate Delaware Stars for Early Success to ensure continuous improvement of the system.”