Haylee Marcuccio (Joni's Child Care) represented CCCA at the September 10, 2013 meeting to fine-tune the QRIS requirements. As it currently stands, all licensed programs in CT will be required to be rated. For those of that accept Care4Kids it will significantly affect the level of subsidy we will receive, however the trigger for this being applicable hasn't been determined (amount or percentage of revenues). Ratings will be public. Here are the current requirements being recommended to achieve each of the four levels:
Level 1 - comply with DPH licensing requirements.
Level 2 - every classroom (preschool, toddler and infants) must have at least one teacher who is either Head Teacher Certified, has a CDA or 12 credits in ECE. Program Director must have at least 6 ECE credits and 6 business credits.
Level 3 - every classroom must have at least one teacher with an Associates degree in ECE or an Associates degree in another field but meets "competency standards or has a State approved ECE endorsement". This latter part has been completely undefined to date. Director requirements are a CT Director Credential at the initial level.
Level 4 - NAEYC Accreditation PLUS every classroom must have at least one teacher who has their BA in ECE or a BA in another field but meets "competency standards or has a State approved ECE endorsement". Director requirement are a CT Director credential at standard level or higher.
Is this even possible to accomplish?
Speaking personally, Jane Porterfield and I (Gerry Pastor) are the owners of Educational Playcare (EPC). Our programs are NAEYC Accredited. EPC is fortunate enough to be able to pay its teachers at the highest level of compensation for private funded programs. We are also fortunate enough to be able to provide our staff with health and dental benefits, life insurance, an EAP and a matching 401k program. We pay for our staff to take classes in ECE and pay for them to get their CDA. We've dragged about as many as we've been able to get their CDA. Why am I saying this ... because it’s going to be a stretch for us to get 2 stars!
Moreover, we've reviewed the 831 applications we've received over the past year. Of these, 47 had a CDA, 17 had an Associates degree in ECE (or related field), 39 had a BA in ECE (or a related field). 728 didn't have any of these qualifications. This is despite the fact that our job postings advertise everything written in the paragraph above. Even if we could afford to pay these people, and of course, many of the ones applying with BA's in ECE are expecting $40,000/yr., they're just not out there to hire. The new rating standards will cause many of us to discontinue taking Care4Kids, and in addition to the economic impact upon our programs, it will be devastating to the children to whom we provide services as they'll have nowhere to turn.
CALL TO ACTION!
This is the type of issue that has us scratching our heads wondering why every private funded licensed center in CT hasn't joined CCCA ... even for free. But that aside, we have an opportunity to present our thoughts. We're asking you, whether you're a member or not, to speak up. Email your thoughts to Deb Flis, who is coordinating the taskforce recommendations, at Deb.Flis@ct.gov. We'd appreciate if you'd copy firstname.lastname@example.org as well, as we'd like to create a compendium of the input that primarily private funded providers in CT are providing.