Policy Resource

California Approves $190 Million to Support Early Childhood System-Building Initiative

Feb 9, 2016

Here's how California is strengthening family engagement, investing in the early childhood workforce, and supporting local Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS).

The California Children and Families Commission approved a $190 million investment in April 2015 to implement First 5 IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive). The five-year initiative will promote a more comprehensive and coordinated early learning and development system across the state by strengthening family engagement, investing in the early childhood workforce, and supporting local Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). Although California does not have a statewide QRIS, counties/regions have developed systems that align with a common Quality Continuum Framework Design. Implementation of these local QRIS has been supported by the states Early Learning Challenge grant.

First 5 IMPACT will support counties/regions in improving quality by providing funding and technical assistance to support their progress along a quality improvement continuum with three implementation steps:

  1. Quality Improvement “ Participating counties/regions must implement one element from the Quality Continuum Framework and develop a minimum of three of the seven systems functions.

  2. Quality Improvement System (QIS) “ Participating counties/regions must: implement four elements from the Quality Continuum Framework, including Effective Teacher-Child Interactions and Family Engagement; develop at least six of the seven systems functions; and ensure all participating sites have a Continuous Quality Improvement Plan.

  3. Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) “ Participating counties/regions must: leverage funding to operate a full QRIS, including rating; develop all seven of the systems functions; and ensure all participating sites have a Continuous Quality Improvement Plan.

Counties/regions will receive more money depending on where they are on the implementation continuum.

First 5 IMPACT will also provide training and facilitation to support state-level systems development and coordination. Activities may include: an annual QRIS Summit; a website with resources and webinars; learning communities; support for data and information systems such as a workforce registry and QRIS databases; research and evaluation to measure progress of the initiative; coordination with other systems; and creation of a messaging campaign to build public support.

Another key component of the initiative is support for the early childhood workforce. Several possible strategies are being considered, including: embedding practice-based coaching into higher education coursework; coaching and training institutes to support effective coaching practices; and supporting implementation of QRIS elements through trainings on: family engagement, teacher-child interactions, diversity, administrative leadership, and developmental screening. Specific trainings and partnerships to engage and support family child care and family, friend, and neighbor care will also be explored.

First 5 California plans to evaluate the initiative. Three documents to support evaluation efforts have been developed: a strategy map, which shows how systems work is connected; an evidence map, which includes questions and themes supporting the strategy map; and an indicators matrix, which identifies how progress will be measured.

Learn more about First 5 IMPACT at: http://www.ccfc.ca.gov/programs/programs_impact.html

Updated February 2016

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