- SB 5247- Updating Department of Early Learning advising and contracting mechanisms
- HB 1719 -Updating Department of Early Learning advising and contracting mechanisms
- Send a note to lead sponsors: Email Rep. Hans Zeiger, SB 5427; Email John Lovick, HB 1719
At The Arc of King County we respectfully challenge the state to think inclusively about young children with developmental delay or disability and take a firm, proactive stance to make sure families have options.
From a parents’ perspective, there are zero to very limited options for inclusive early learning – or child care of any kind. There is little or no training for staff on how to work with a child with behavioral differences, or how to have a conversation with a family if a provider thinks a child might need to be evaluated for developmental delay.
We think that can change.
A first step would be to include someone on the Early Learning Advisory Council with expertise on inclusive early learning and working with young children with developmental delay or disabilities. Another step would be to include families of children with developmental delay or disabilities on any type of advisory or outreach group.
The Department of Early Learning is requesting a change in membership of its advisory council. Our request to add someone with expertise in developmental delay and inclusive early learning was left out of the agency-requested bill. We testified Thursday, February 3, to the Senate Early Learning and K12 Education Committee (video here).
FOLLOW UP COMMUNICATION:
Re: Follow up to SB 5247, Department of Early Learning advising and contractingTo: Senate Early Learning and K12 Education Committee
Dear Chair Zeiger and committee members,
Thank you for considering changes to the Early Learning Advisory Council to include someone with expertise in developmental delay and disability. Many people, even those engaged in the early learning provider and advocacy fields, simply aren’t tuned into the barriers families face trying to access child care or preschool, or to the possibilities of where we COULD go as a state. We really need someone in the mix who can help people understand the scope of the problem and the lifelong consequences for children and their families, as well as connect with providers and show them what an quality, inclusive care setting looks like.
I asked staff to share handouts from a federal policy statement on inclusive early learning. It lays out both the legal case (issues with discrimination based on ability) and the scientific base. Programs that are inclusive of children with disabilities benefit all children. The statement includes a list of recommendations – which start with making sure you have the right people at the table.
I want to emphasize that this isn’t a request to do anything additional; it is simply a request to make sure the great work we are already doing is inclusive by design and benefits children experiencing developmental delay or disability. As we build and grow early learning opportunities in this state, we must ask the right questions so that the best policies and practices are put in place.
Here is a link to the policy paper so you have it electronically:
- Executive summary here
Also, you might be interested in this joint policy statement:
- COLLABORATION AND COORDINATION OF THE MATERNAL, INFANT, AND EARLY CHILDHOOD HOME VISITING PROGRAM AND THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT PART C PROGRAMS
The earliest years are critical to brain development, which is why it is essential that we reach and include children with developmental delay in all of our early learning and child care programs.
- Ramona Hattendorf, Director of Advocacy The Arc of King County