While maintaining all health and safety standards and necessary licensing requirements to meet those standards, between July 1, 2021, and September 30, 2025, the department shall suspend a11 professional development and higher education licensing requirements for child care providers.
The department must adopt rules to implement this section. The department must clearly identify in the rules the specific health or safety standard supported by the affiliated licensing requirement.
By September 1, 2022, the department shall implement a noncredit-bearing, community-based training pathway for licensed child care providers to meet professional education requirements associated with child care licensure. The community-based training pathway must be available to providers and offered as an alternative to existing credit-bearing pathways provided by institutions of higher education. Providers should be consulted on the curriculum content to ensure the field has the skills and real-world knowledge on how to efficiently lead a classroom that results in positive child outcomes.
The department shall reach consensus with the following stakeholders in the development and implementation of the community-based training pathway: The statewide child care resource and referral network, a community-based training organization that provides training to licensed family day care providers, a statewide organization that represents the interests of family day care providers, a statewide organization that represents the interests of licensed child day care centers, an organization that represents the interests of refugee and immigrant communities, a bilingual child care provider whose first language is not English, an organization that advocates for early learning, an organization representing private and independent schools, and the state board for community and technical colleges.
The community-based training pathway must:
Align with adopted core competencies for early learning professionals;
Be made available to providers in multiple languages via diverse access tracks at no additional cost to providers whose first language is not English;
Include culturally relevant practices;
Be made available at low cost to providers and at prices comparable to the cost of similar community-based trainings, not to exceed $250 per person; and
Be accessible to providers in rural and urban settings.
The department shall allow licensed child care providers until at least August 1, 2028, to:
Comply with child care licensing rules that require a provider to hold an early childhood education initial certificate or an early childhood education short certificate; or
Complete community-based trainings.
For the purposes of this section, "demonstrated competence" means an individual has shown that he or she has the skills to complete the required work independently.
The department shall adopt core competencies for early care and education professionals and incorporate the core competencies into the quality rating and improvement system, the early childhood education and assistance program, and the early support for infants and toddlers program. The purpose of the core competencies is to serve as a foundation for what early care and education professionals and child and youth development professionals need to know and do to provide quality care for children. The core competencies must be reviewed and updated every five years.
The department shall implement a single set of licensing standards for child care and the early childhood education and assistance program. The department shall produce the single set of licensing standards within the department's available appropriations. The licensing standards must:
Take into account the separate needs of family care providers and child care centers; and
c. Promote the continued safety of child care settings.
The secretary shall charge fees to the licensee for obtaining a license except as provided in this section.
The secretary may waive the fees when, in the discretion of the secretary, the fees would not be in the best interest of public health and safety, or when the fees would be to the financial disadvantage of the state.
The secretary must waive the fees from July 1, 2021, through September 30, 2025. The department must evaluate child care licensing fees and their burden on providers.
Fees charged shall be based on, but shall not exceed, the cost to the department for the licensure of the activity or class of activities and may include costs of necessary inspection.
The secretary shall establish the fees charged by rule.