Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 22.1. Education
Chapter 14.1. Early Childhood Care and Education
12/7/2022

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 22.1-289.02. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Child day center" means a child day program offered to (i) two or more children under the age of 13 in a facility that is not the residence of the provider or of any of the children in care or (ii) 13 or more children at any location.

"Child day program" means a regularly operating service arrangement for children where, during the absence of a parent or guardian, a person or organization has agreed to assume responsibility for the supervision, protection, and well-being of a child under the age of 13 for less than a 24-hour period.

"Early childhood care and education entity" means a child day center, family day home, or family day system serving children under the age of five.

"Family day home" means a child day program offered in the residence of the provider or the home of any of the children in care for one through 12 children under the age of 13, exclusive of the provider's own children and any children who reside in the home, when at least one child receives care for compensation. The provider of a licensed or registered family day home shall disclose to the parents or guardians of children in their care the percentage of time per week that persons other than the provider will care for the children. Family day homes serving five through 12 children, exclusive of the provider's own children and any children who reside in the home, shall be licensed. However, no family day home shall care for more than four children under the age of two, including the provider's own children and any children who reside in the home, unless the family day home is licensed or voluntarily registered. However, a family day home where the children in care are all related to the provider by blood or marriage shall not be required to be licensed.

"Family day system" means any person who approves family day homes as members of its system; who refers children to available family day homes in that system; and who, through contractual arrangement, may provide central administrative functions including, but not limited to, training of operators of member homes; technical assistance and consultation to operators of member homes; inspection, supervision, monitoring, and evaluation of member homes; and referral of children to available health and social services.

"Head Start provider" means a public or private, nonprofit or for-profit organization or agency, including any community-based organization, as such term is defined in 20 U.S.C. § 7801, to which a grantee has delegated all or part of the responsibility of the grantee for operating a Head Start program.

"Publicly funded provider" means any (i) educational program provided by a school division or local government to children between birth and age five or (ii) child day program that receives state or federal funds in support of its operations that serves three or more unrelated children. "Publicly funded provider" does not include any program for which the sole source of public funding is the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.

"Registered family day home" means any family day home that has met the standards for voluntary registration for such homes pursuant to regulations adopted by the Board and that has obtained a certificate of registration from the Superintendent.

2020, cc. 860, 861.

§ 22.1-289.03. Early childhood care and education system; establishment.

A. The Board shall establish a statewide unified public-private system for early childhood care and education in the Commonwealth to ensure that every child has the opportunity to enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn. Such system shall be administered by the Board, the Superintendent, and the Department and shall be formed, implemented, and sustained through a structure that engages and leverages both state-level authority and regional-level public-private partnership assets.

B. It is the intent of the General Assembly that the system established pursuant to subsection A shall (i) provide families with coordinated access for referral to early childhood education programs, (ii) provide families with easy-to-understand information about the quality of publicly funded early childhood care and education programs, (iii) establish expectations for the continuous improvement of early childhood care and education programs, and (iv) establish shared expectations for early childhood care and education programs among the Department of Education, the Department of Social Services, local school divisions, and state and regional stakeholders.

C. The system established pursuant to subsection A shall consist of a combination of programs offered through (i) the Virginia Preschool Initiative, pursuant to § 22.1-289.09, or any other school-based early childhood care and education program; (ii) licensed programs, pursuant to Article 3 (§ 22.1-289.010 et seq.); and (iii) unlicensed programs, pursuant to Article 4 (§ 22.1-289.030 et seq.).

2020, cc. 860, 861.

§ 22.1-289.04. Early childhood care and education advisory committee.

The Board shall establish an early childhood care and education advisory committee to advise the Board on programs, systems, and regulations established pursuant to this chapter. The advisory committee shall include the following members, who shall represent geographically diverse areas: (i) two representatives of publicly funded licensed providers, including at least one for-profit provider; (ii) one representative of an early childhood care and education entity that is not a publicly funded provider; (iii) two representatives of early childhood care and education entities that are license-exempt pursuant to Article 4 (§ 22.1-289.030 et seq.), including one representative of an early childhood care and education entity that is exempt from licensure pursuant to § 22.1-289.031; (iv) three representatives of Head Start providers, one of which shall be operated by a local school division, and two of which shall not be operated by a local school division; (v) two representatives from local school divisions or local school boards operating early childhood programs other than Head Start providers; (vi) two representatives of nonprofit advocacy organizations in the Commonwealth that focus on early childhood care and education; (vii) one representative of a family day home that is a publicly funded provider; (viii) two professionals or faculty members from an institution of higher education in the Commonwealth who have child development or early childhood education expertise; (ix) one representative from the Virginia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; (x) one representative from an advocacy or service organization that focuses on serving children with disabilities; (xi) one representative from a business in the Commonwealth; (xii) one parent of a child currently enrolled in a preschool program offered by a publicly funded provider; (xiii) one representative of the Virginia Council on Private Education; (xiv) one representative from a statewide nonprofit association in the Commonwealth whose membership includes both before-school and afterschool nonprofit child care providers and nonprofit preschool providers; (xv) one representative from a nonprofit entity that provides child care resource and referral services related to the operation of early childhood care and education programs; and (xvi) such other members as the Board may deem appropriate. The Commissioner of Social Services or his designee, the Secretary of Education or his designee, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources or his designee, the Superintendent of Public Instruction or his designee, the Commissioner of the Department of Health or his designee, the Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services or his designee, and the Director of the Head Start Collaboration Office shall serve ex officio without voting privileges. The Board shall establish bylaws for such advisory committee that include term length and limits for members.

2020, cc. 860, 861.

§ 22.1-289.05. Uniform measurement and improvement system; regional entities; establishment.

A. The Board shall establish a uniform measurement and improvement system designed to provide parents and families with information about the quality and availability of publicly funded providers. Such system shall include:

1. Service provision and performance targets for children from birth to age five that align with standards for kindergarten readiness and early elementary grades;

2. Consistent quality standards;

3. Outcome-based measurements; and

4. Incentives to encourage participation and improvement.

B. All publicly funded providers shall be required to participate in the uniform measurement and improvement system established pursuant to subsection A. All other child day programs may participate in such system. Any participation in such system shall comply with all applicable federal laws and regulations, including the federal Head Start Act (42 U.S.C. § 9801 et seq.), as amended, and associated regulations.

C. The Board shall establish consequences for publicly funded providers that fail to participate in the uniform measurement and improvement system established pursuant to subsection A or persistently fail to meet minimal quality standards.

D. The Board shall establish a system of regional entities that will be responsible for coordinating early childhood care and education services, guiding quality improvement of such services and coordinated access to such services for families, and implementing the uniform measurement and improvement system.

2020, cc. 860, 861; 2022, c. 524.

§ 22.1-289.06. Confidential records and information; penalty.

A. The records, information, and statistical registries of the Department and of all child day programs and family day systems concerning services to or on behalf of individuals shall be confidential information, provided that the Superintendent, the Board, and their agents or designees shall have access to such records, information, and statistical registries, and that such records, information, and statistical registries may be disclosed to any person having a legitimate interest in accordance with state and federal law and regulation.

It shall be unlawful for any officer, agent, or employee of any child day program or family day system; for the Superintendent, the State Board, or their agents, designees, or employees; for any person who has held any such position; and for any other person to whom any such record or information is disclosed to disclose, directly or indirectly, any such confidential record or information, except as herein provided or pursuant to § 63.2-105. Every violation of this section shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. If a request for a record or information concerning applicants for and recipients of services provided in this chapter is made to the Department by a person who does not have a legitimate interest, the Superintendent shall not provide the record or information unless permitted by state or federal law or regulation.

2020, cc. 860, 861.

§ 22.1-289.07. Information related to shaken baby syndrome.

The Department shall make information about shaken baby syndrome, its effects, and resources for help and support for caretakers in a printable format, and information about how to acquire information about shaken baby syndrome and its effects in an audiovisual format, available to the public on its website. Such information shall be provided to every child day program and family day system required to be licensed by the Department at the time of initial licensure and upon request.

2020, cc. 860, 861.

§ 22.1-289.08. Board to investigate child day programs at direction of Governor.

Whenever the Governor considers it proper or necessary to investigate the management of any child day program or family day system licensed by or required to be inspected by the Board under the provisions of this chapter, he may direct the Board, or any committee or agent thereof, to make the investigation. The Board, committee, or agent designated by the Governor shall have power to administer oaths and to summon officers, employees, or other persons to attend as witnesses and to enforce their attendance and to compel them to produce documents and give evidence.

2020, cc. 860, 861.

§ 22.1-289.08:1. Child Care Subsidy Program Overpayment Fund.

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Child Care Subsidy Program Overpayment Fund, referred to in this section as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All overpayment moneys collected or recovered by the Department or any state or local agency contracted to administer the Child Care Subsidy Program, net of any refunds due to the federal government, shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund, except as prohibited by federal law or regulation. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purpose of covering the cost of providing training and supports to early childhood care and education entities. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Superintendent.

2022, c. 524.