Can you please provide a detailing of the number of children served across the Early Childhood Program Area, the cost breakdown of each service area, and estimates of the current waiting lists for service in each area (quantity and duration)? Do we have performance measures available beyond simply passage of the PALS (Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening)?
The Early Childhood Program is allocated $7.8 million in the City's FY 2018 Proposed Budget. Of this, $2.2 million is budgeted for personnel costs. The 21.23 FTEs in the Early Childhood Program provide a range of services, such as enrolling children in child care services, regulating child care homes, training and supporting early childhood providers, early intervention services and mental health early intervention and prevention services. Of the $5.6 million budgeted for non-personnel in this program, $4.8 million is allocated for the purchase of child care services, $0.5 million is for non-personnel costs related to direct services provided by DCHS Clinical Staff (staff uses vendors for the provision of certain child care services for the Parent Infant Education, ID Case Management Services, and Preschool Mental Health Prevention programs), and $0.3 million is for operational expenses.
Purchased Child Care Services/Child Care Assistance
As stated above, $4.8 million is allocated in the FY 2018 Proposed Budget for the purchase of child-care services. In addition, the Early Childhood Program receives a State Budget Allocation of $3.9 million for child care assistance (TANF, Transitional Child Care and the Fee System). This funding is managed at the State level while services are managed locally, and so is not reflected in the City budget. The total funding available for purchased services/child care assistance is $8.7 million for FY 2018.
School Age Child Care: Represents the Department’s agreement with The Campagna Center and includes $ $22,731 for program monitoring and scholarships.
Alexandria Head Start
FY18 budget: $2,511,441
Average number of Children served per month FY16: 309
Number of Children on Waiting List: 85
Alexandria Head Start (AHS) program is funded for 309 children and maintains a waiting list of three- and
four-year-olds. The number of children the
serve is determined by the funding provided by
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Head Start Office. The Campagna Center has one VPI
classroom and VPI children are included with Head Start children in a blended
classroom. These VPI numbers are not
included in the 309.
An individual family’s position on the waiting list is determined by a point system based on factors such as percent of poverty level and violence in the home, not by the date of application. Four-year-olds receive priority. Families with fewer factors as compared to others will remain on the waiting list for a longer period of time, while those with greater needs are placed in a classroom much sooner, as space becomes available. Families are also referred to other programs for which they might be eligible. The registration process for 2017-18 begins in March and three-year olds on the waiting list who turn four by the end of September will be given priority. The eligibility limit for AHS is 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL).
School Age Child Care
Number of Children served FY16: 773
Number of Children on Waiting List: 26
The Campagna Kids program has 26 children on the waiting list, across several sites. They monitor the number of children on the waiting list and, when demand at any one site reaches a level that warrants hiring another staff person, The Campagna Center takes steps to do so. Parents are offered slots both at their assigned schools and also away from their City-assigned schools when space becomes available. Parents are also referred to other programs in the City that offer school age child care. The length of waiting time varies widely depending on the site, parents' needs and other resources available in the community.
Local Child Care Subsidy Program
Average number of Children served per month FY16: 30
Number of Children on Waiting List: Shares a waiting list with the Child Care Subsidy Program
program is 100%
by the General Fund. The number of children
funded through the local fee system program stood at
30 at the end of FY 2016. Currently,
the program funds 30 children, with applications pending.
Child Care Subsidy Program
FY18 State Budget: $2,062,711
Average number of Children served per month FY16: 350
Number of Children on Waiting List: 380 - Shares a waiting list with the Local Child Care Subsidy Program
Care Subsidy Program (State Fee
System) is funded by federal and State dollars and currently
has a waiting list of 254 families
and 380 children. The average wait time is 10 months.
Head Start Wrap-Around
FY18 State Budget: $291,233
Average number of Children served per month FY16: 50
Head Start Wrap-Around funds are 100%
federal and are made available as needed by the State to provide before- and
after-school services to Head Start children who need care beyond the 6-hour
Head Start program day.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Transitional Child Care
FY18 Budget: $1,551,640
Average number of Children served per month FY16: 139
Number of Children on Waiting List: 0
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Transitional Child Care is made up of Federal and State funds. These
programs have no waiting lists because they are mandated programs and funds are made available by the State as needed.
Scholarships for 4s
FY18 Budget: $253,005
Average number of Children served per month FY16: 45
Number of Children on Waiting List: 0
The Scholarships for 4s is 100% General Fund and pays the child care costs for up to 45 children, all of whom are enrolled in community-based Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) classrooms. As these services are sourced by the General Fund, the same funds can be applied toward the local match requirement for VPI.
Direct Services Provided by DCHS Clinical Staff
Early Intervention, Intellectual Disability and Mental Health Services
FY18 Budget: $1,458,509
Children Served /Services Provided FY 16: 1,357
Number of Children on Waiting List: None
The Parent-Infant Child Education (PIE) program provides screening and early intervention services for children 0-3 who have developmental delays. Services were provided to 653 children in FY16.This includes children screened and found not eligible. Per State law, there is no wait list for these services. The program also provided case management services to 120 individuals between the ages of 3 to 22 years. Of those 120 individuals, 57 are waiting for Medicaid waiver services not provided by PIE. Mental Health Prevention provides evidence-based prevention services to preschool children ages 4-6 that are designed to increase social skills and reduce aggressive behavior. The program also provides early intervention services to preschoolers who need additional assessment and support and consultation to parents, teachers and administrators. In FY2016, 584 children participated in the prevention program, 23 early intervention clients received 392 hours of services, and there were 14 parent workshops.
Virginia Preschool Initiative, Managed by ACPS
The Virginia Preschool Initiative in Alexandria is appropriated and managed by the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) and funded in the ACPS budget. In the 2016 academic year, 396 children were placed in quality early childhood centers. The key challenges in expanding the program are space and funding. For each VPI slot, $6,000 in local dollars is needed: $3,000 for the local match requirement and $3,000 allocation from state. Each child (slot) represents a $3,000 allocation from the State. This means that in FY 2016, Alexandria had an allocation of $1,581,000 and was only able to draw down $1,188,000 because of the lack of a local match and space.
The following tools are currently being used throughout multiple early childhood programs to gather data on the progress of children and families in programs funded by local, State and federal dollars in the City:
- COR (Child Observation Record) data on children's development across all six domains by all community-based VPI programs
- Head Start - Teaching Strategies Gold Assessment (measures multiple domains of development; similar to COR)
- Family Support Project - Preschool Kindergarten Behavioral Scale measuring social skills in all community-based VPI programs.
- Family Functioning Questionnaire (VPI community-based programs)
- Parent Surveys (ACPS, Head Start, PIE, Fee System)