According to the US Policy Statement on Inclusion (PDF), attitudes and beliefs are the most commonly reported barrier to child inclusion and may be influenced by misinformation, resistance to changing practices, stereotyping children with disabilities and general lack of awareness of the benefits for all our children.

  • Need to support a culture of inclusion, one that is very open and accepting and one where all children and families feel welcome and included.
  • Need to insure our staff from early childhood and early intervention programs have the knowledge and competencies to support inclusion.
  • Insure that everyone is of the attitude that this is something that should be done for all children.

Research by the Foundation for Child Development, indicates that 3- and 4-year old children are being expelled from preschool at a rate higher than school children in grades K through 12.

OCDEL’s goal is for children with disabilities to participate and succeed in the same learning environments as their same age peers. Research supports the benefits of inclusion, demonstrating that including children with disabilities in the same activities and educational settings as their typically-developing peers benefits all children.

OCDEL has issued two policy statements to support effective inclusion. They have also made available supporting documents.

These announcements apply to Pennsylvania early childhood programs and initiatives, including Child Care Works; Child Care Certification; Early Head Start; Head Start; Early Intervention; Home Visiting Programs; and Keystone STARS.

As a recipient of federal funds, OCDEL is acting on the recommendations to develop and disseminate a program policy statement to early childhood programs that are recipients of these federal funds through OCDEL.

This OCDEL announcement also applies to programs receiving state funding, including Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, and Family Centers (which receives both federal and state funding).

screen capture of first slide of webinar


This 25 minute, self-paced video with Deputy Secretary Suzann Morris is designed to assist programs as they develop their own policies surrounding expulsion and suspension of children.


In December 2014, the US Departments of Health and Human Services and Education published Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension in Early Childhood Settings. In response to this statement, OCDEL has drafted an office wide announcement to provide guidance to programs regarding appropriate behavior support practices and the reduction of expulsion and suspension in early childhood programs in Pennsylvania.