Child Care Certification Regulation Rewrite Project

Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is embarking on an initiative to rewrite the child care certification regulations. This rewrite will be an opportunity for the early childhood and school-age community in Pennsylvania to co-create regulations in a way that builds stakeholder confidence in the process and:

  • Increases alignment with quality improvement
  • Promotes greater equity; and
  • Decreases burden experienced by child care providers

OCDEL has identified this initiative as Pennsylvania’s Impact Project through the Office of Child Care (OCC) State Capacity Building Center (SCBC). The SCBC Impact Project is a part of the continuum of technical assistance and capacity building offered by OCC. The SCBC Impact Project is designed to assist States and Territories with long-term individualized technical assistance (TA) as they develop and expand their systemic capacity in planning and implementing their own early childhood priorities, based on the State or Territory particular context, and vision and goals for the development of a strong early childhood system. The goal of the SCBC Impact Project is to support state early childhood systems leaders in successfully strengthening systems building for effective high-impact services that can improve outcomes for children and families.

Impact Project: Rewriting Pennsylvania’s Child Care Regulations

Current Timeline:

Project Announced

October 2021

Applications Open

Apply Now! Application available until Nov. 19, 2021.

OCDEL staff will lead the internal working and review groups for this initiative with the support from their various business partner organizations:

  • The Pennsylvania Key;
  • Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA);
  • Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs); and
  • Professional Development Organizations (PDOs).

OCDEL will use a set of guiding questions to address both the equity and quality lens and also the ease of provider burden for the child care certification rewrite. This writing and review process will provide writers and reviewers the opportunity to have a voice.

Next, drafts of the sections of the child care regulations will be sent for review by a newly-formed ad-hoc subcommittee of the Early Learning Council (ELC). The subcommittee, which will be made up of both ELC members and other stakeholders such as family, group and center child care providers and other subject matter experts, will review and provide input and suggestions for revisions.

Then, drafts will be released to other OCDEL stakeholder groups and the early learning community for review and input.

After the proposed regulatory package has been written, reviewed and revised, it will be submitted for the formal regulation process through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).

There are a number of ways that you’ll be able to help create the new regulations.

OCDEL is launching the process for rewriting the child care certification regulations in October 2021. We anticipate beginning the work of the ELC subcommittee in the winter of 2021-2022. This will be an iterative process of writing, reviewing and revisioning for each section of the certification regulations as illustrated by the graphic below. Ideally, we will conclude the rewriting process mid-2022 so that the full proposed regulatory packet can be submitted for the formal regulatory review process in late summer or early fall of 2022. These timelines are tentative and necessarily flexible to accommodate the engagement process and feedback we receive.

The formal regulatory process must be approved within the State of Pennsylvania and is outlined at a high level below. The timeline we’ve provided is tentative and reflects the minimum time needed for each step of the formal regulatory review process. Some steps may require additional time. The earliest that regulations could be finalized for publication is fall of 2024.

While the regulations could be published as early as the fall of 2024, the effective dates for compliance with the new regulations will vary. Child care providers will be given a reasonable amount of time to comply with new regulations that are published. To assist providers in compliance with the new regulations, training, technical assistance and supporting documents will be developed and widely disseminated as we get closer to final publication of the regulations.