Transforming Early Care and Education: How Mixed Delivery Systems Address Key Challenges Part 2

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Transforming Early Care and Education: How Mixed Delivery Systems Address Key Challenges Part 2

Discover how mixed delivery systems are addressing critical gaps in the early care and education landscape, meeting the needs of families, providers, and policymakers alike.

Continuing our exploration of how mixed delivery systems address key challenges, we highlight some states that are leading the way in transforming processes for early care and education (ECE). (See Part 1)

States Leading the Way

  • Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts program combines state-funded Pre-K with child care subsidy funding. This approach provides a more stable financial foundation for providers by diversifying their funding sources. Child care providers receive technical assistance to braid multiple resources, enabling them to offer wraparound services to children who require extended care. By coordinating services between Pre-K and child care subsidy programs, Pennsylvania supports providers in delivering full-day, full-year care, enhancing their stability and ability to meet the needs of families. (Source: Bipartisan Policy Center.)
  • West Virginia’s Pre-K program supports community-based settings and encourages collaboration between early childhood and K-12 communities. The program requires that 50% of Pre-K classrooms be located in community-based settings, such as child care centers. This approach promotes collaboration between stakeholders and strengthens relationships between ECE and K-12 educators. By involving representatives from both sectors in county collaborative teams, West Virginia fosters necessary relationships to support the transition from ECE settings to kindergarten. This collaboration enhances ECE provider stability by creating a supportive environment and ensuring a seamless continuum of care for children. (Source: Bipartisan Policy Center.)
  • Alabama’s First Class Pre-K (FCPK) program has a strong, centralized system of quality monitoring and support. It reaches 34% of 4-year-olds in a full-day program, with no income eligibility requirements. (Source: Learning Policy Institute.)
  • New York state’s preschool program has two complementary funding streams, the Statewide Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten (SUFDPK) grant and Universal Prekindergarten (UPK). Together, these programs serve 46% of 4-year-olds in the state. LEAs contract directly with the state and then subcontract with participating non-LEA providers. Notably, a significant portion of state-funded slots (44%) are in New York City’s Pre-K for All program. New York state’s preschool program: New York has two complementary funding streams, the Statewide Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten (SUFDPK) grant and Universal Prekindergarten (UPK). Together, these programs serve 46% of 4-year-olds in the state. (Source: Learning Policy Institute.)

Driving Policy Innovation

Mixed delivery systems provide a framework for collaboration and resource-sharing among stakeholders, driving policy innovation in the ECE sector. By consolidating resources and overseeing comprehensive ECE programs, such as early literacy initiatives and parent support programs, states like Washington and North Carolina are leading the way in creating cohesive and inclusive policies that cater to the diverse needs of families.

Pioneering Approaches:
  • Washington’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), which serves children ages 3-4, and Early ECEAP, serving children birth to 3 years old, prioritize integrated services and comprehensive care. Modeled after Head Start, these programs go beyond traditional Pre-K offerings by providing two-generational support, including health services, family engagement, and social-emotional development. By integrating these comprehensive services, Washington is at the forefront of policy innovation, recognizing the importance of addressing the holistic needs of children and families in ECE settings. (Source: Bipartisan Policy Center.)
  • West Virginia’s Pre-K program supports community-based settings and encourages collaboration between early childhood and K-12 communities. The program requires that 50% of Pre-K classrooms be located in community-based settings, such as child care centers. This approach promotes collaboration between stakeholders and strengthens relationships between ECE and K-12 educators. By involving representatives from both sectors in county collaborative teams, West Virginia fosters necessary relationships to support the transition from ECE settings to kindergarten. This collaboration enhances ECE provider stability by creating a supportive environment and ensuring a seamless continuum of care for children. (Source: Bipartisan Policy Center.)
  • Similarly, North Carolina’s Smart Start system is a pioneering example of policy innovation in ECE. This comprehensive system oversees not only child care and Pre-K programs but also early literacy initiatives, home visiting programs, and parent support programs. By consolidating resources and promoting collaboration among stakeholders, North Carolina ensures that families have access to a wide range of services that support children’s early learning and development. This holistic approach to ECE policy sets a precedent for other states, demonstrating the power of integrated systems in driving positive outcomes for children and families. (Source: Bipartisan Policy Center.)

Mixed delivery systems are transforming the ECE space by offering families choices, enhancing provider stability, and driving policy innovation. With examples from Washington, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, we see the tangible impact of these ECE systems. As we embrace this transformative approach, we pave the way for a brighter future where every child has the opportunity to thrive. Let us champion the power of mixed delivery systems and work together to build a stronger foundation for our youngest learners.

Digital Wallet Technology Streamlines Success

Technology plays a crucial role in successfully implementing mixed delivery systems in ECE. ClassWallet’s digital wallet technology offers a powerful solution for managing the financial aspects of mixed delivery systems. By digitizing payments to families and/or providers, and tracking expenditures, ClassWallet simplifies the process of distributing ECE funds to various providers, including child care centers, schools, community organizations and family child care providers. This innovative technology not only enhances efficiency, financial transparency and accountability, but also reduces administrative burdens for both ECE providers and policymakers. With ClassWallet’s digital wallet technology, implementing and managing mixed delivery systems becomes more seamless, enabling a more effective and equitable ECE ecosystem for all.

If you are interested in learning more about how ClassWallet’s platform can streamline ECE funding, please contact us.