Meeting Minutes

Early Learning Council

February 12, 2013

Approved: April 16, 2013

In Attendance: David Cournoyer, Jill Timm, Karen Cadigan, Barb Yates, Dianne Haulcy, Patti Nordahl, Maria Erlandson, Denise Mayotte, Carolyn Smallwood, Sara Carlson, Jeanne Ayres, Carol Miller, Scott McConnell, Sue Hoeft, Donna Henning, Molly Rieke, Erin Sullivan Sutton, Victoria Campoverde, Barb Fabre

Unable to Attend: Yeu Vang, Fred Senn Art Rolnick, Michelle Zadra, Miriam Mohamed, Jackie Cross

State Agency Staff and Public Members: Janet Olstad, Mary Orr, Candace Kragthorpe, Joyce OMeara, Diane Smith, Autumn Baum, Megan Waltz, Nancy Jost, Bobbie Burnham, Steve Reuter, Barbara O’Sullivan, Eileen Nelson, Jessica Mattson

Welcome: Barb welcomed the group and described work to be accomplished during the meeting.

Minutes of the December Meeting: Dianne Haulcy made a motion to approve the minutes of the December 13, 2013, meeting. Denise Mayotte seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Governor’s Budget for Early Childhood Related Activities:

Karen Cadigan gave an overview of items in the budget for the Minnesota Department of Education. Specific to birth to eight years of age include:

· increase in scholarship dollars
· funding for full-day kindergarten (without charge to parents)
· The increases being proposed are the first in 15 years for early childhood.
· It was reiterated that in the council’s recommendation to the governor a position on the revenue side of the equation was not taken.

Jeanne Ayres gave overview of Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Budget.

· increase in newborn screening to add two new conditions
· support for lead surveillance system for screening
· fund efforts for environmental health risks including asthma, in-home interventions and elevated mercury levels
· support for family home visiting for teen parents in the MFIP program in partnership with Department of Human Services (DHS)
· support for statewide health improvement program (SHIP) which promotes healthier choices in schools and child care to improve nutrition and/or increase physical activity

Erin Sullivan Sutton provided an overview of the Department of Human Services. Specifically


· Increase in reimbursements to child care providers who achieve a three-star Parent Aware rating up to 15 percent higher and providers who achieve a four-star rating up to 20 percent higher
· Increase in continuity of care by allowing a 30-day reinstatement period for families served by Basic Sliding Fee program and allowing children to remain in high quality care regardless of some changes in their parent’s schedules
· Allow families headed by a parent under 21 years of age who is pursuing a high school or General Equivalency Diploma and does not qualify for Minnesota Family Investment Program benefits, to be eligible for the Minnesota Family Investment Program Child Care Assistance Program rather than Basic Sliding Fee program. Currently they might be placed on a waiting list
· Increase in rates for some child care providers and simplification of the overall rate structure for the Child Care Assistance Program
· Funding to Strengthen child care program integrity by aligning disqualification periods and withholding authorizations or payments for up to three months to a provider in violation of licensing or Child Care Assistance Program rules
· Expand the Parent Support Outreach Program, an early intervention response approach, for families with children at risk of being abused or neglected
· Consolidate and simplify administration of three existing programs, Adoption Assistance, Relative Custody Assistance and family foster care, into a single program to support permanency for children for new placements
· Support to simplify county administration of Minnesota Family Investments Program and ensure the program is focused on people getting work
· Fund an expansion in children’s mental health in schools
· Invest in additional autism services for children on medical assistance

A reminder was given that though the information was presented separately here, the Governor’s budget is a cross agency budget that functions as a whole.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Data Release: Jeanne Ayres reviewed the recently released Minnesota Adverse Childhood Experiences data.

Nine categories of adverse experiences were identified including: incarcerated household member, sexual abuse, drug use problem, witnessed domestic violence, physical abuse, mental illness in household, separated or divorced parent, drinking problem in household, verbal abuse. The brain is changed as a result of the stress caused by an adverse experience. Adverse experiences tend to cluster; if you experience one, you are more likely to have more than one. The more adverse experiences the more at risk a child is for future issues and illness. One experience is not worse or weighted more heavily than another. Fifty five percent of Minnesotans have one or more experience. Recommendations being made surrounding this data include:

· Increase awareness of ACEs, their impact on health and well-being and Minnesotan’s capacity to act
· Enhance the capacity of communities to prevent and respond to ACEs
· Continue to collect Minnesota specific data on the relationship among ACEs, health outcomes and resilience

The council is interested in continuing to discuss how they can play a role in supporting getting the information out and determining solutions. One suggestion was to create a public event the fall of 2013 when California Newsreel, will release a program on the ACE data and importance of prenatal to childhood. Another suggestion was to invite a representative from the coalition working with MDH and Jane Kretzmann present at a Lunch and Learn. Each committee was charged with considering how the ACEs information will be incorporated into their work.

Prenatal to Three Framework: Megan Waltz (MDH) described the process to date in developing the prenatal to three framework. In August of 2012 the Children’s Cabinet asked MDH to convene a stakeholder group to work on prenatal to three plan. The group recommended a vision, values, guiding principles outcomes, and indicators. Categories of the plan focus on prenatal health, health, education, well-being and systems. A crosswalk with other documents such as School Readiness Report Card, Babies In Minnesota and Healthy Minnesota 2020 was completed. The framework was presented to and approved by the mini-cabinet and children’s cabinet. Next steps include communicating the plan with various stakeholders. Technical assistance in developing a plan will be provided through a grant from Zero to Three.

Committee Reports: Committee purpose statements and work plans have been compiled into a comprehensive strategic plan. Members were asked to let Debbie Hewitt know if they have suggestions for improvements.

Access: Carol Miller reported that this group had previewed items in the governor’s budget related to early childhood. They have determined that prenatal to three is their next area of focus. They will be having phone calls twice a month during the legislative session and will alert the rest of the council as action items are identified.

Accountability: Debbie Hewitt reported that the committee has been working to compile indicators from various early childhood initiatives. These will be examined and enduring and short term indicators identified. The group has also been working in conjunction with the Office of Early Learning to develop a brief for policy and thought leaders on the state of early learning in Minnesota. It is in the final phase of development and will be distributed to members when completed. It is intended to be used as a communication tool when members are in conversation with others.

Rural and Special Populations: Sara Carlson informed the group that in place of this committee’s April meeting, the council is being invited to attend the convening being planned by Start Early on Innovative Early Childhood Programming and Best Practices Within Minnesota’s Immigrant and Refugee Communities. This will be held in conjunction with the council meeting at Neighborhood House. This committee has been discussing the ACEs date and how it ties to their work as well as completing the work on the survey conducted to identify advocacy and affinity groups working on behalf of special populations identified.

PreK-3 Grade: Maria Erlandson described the process they have undertaken to develop recommendations to the council.

Maria made a motion that the Governor’s Early Learning Council vote to accept the recommendations of the PreK-3 committee as presented and to support the Office of Early Learning as they work to bring these recommendations forward. Dianne Haulcy seconded the motion. The motion passed.

These recommendations were noted as an example of how the council can set broad recommendations and help to make connections between research, best practice and direction for work.

Parent Aware and Scholarship Data: Deb Swenson Klatt (DHS) provided highlights of first year of the statewide expansion of Parent Aware (PA). She noted progress is being made toward achieving many of the goals. DHS is providing additional supports when communities or providers are experiencing challenges becoming PA rated. The year one evaluation report is posted on the Parent Aware for School Readiness website.

Karen Cadigan gave an overview of Race to the Top-Early Learning and State Scholarships. Scholarships are available in identified areas once administrative decisions are made. Many of the scholarships have been given out with some still in process. In many areas, scholarships are now available to be used across quality continuum with agreement that providers will be involved in continuous improvement prompted by Parent Aware. Included in RTT is an evaluation of access and scholarships.

Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System: The council received a request from Commissioner Cassellius to appoint two members to the governance group for the Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System. This group will look at what questions Minnesota wants to answer. It is a decision making and approval body rather than technical advisors.

Erin Sullivan Sutton made a motion to approve the appointment of Maria Erlandson and Scott McConnell. Patti Nordahl seconded the motion. The motion passed.

The council suggested that council meetings held in conjunction with others be limited to statewide convening’s that support the work of a committee or council as a whole. The council would prefer to travel to areas supported by a council member or a geographic region not yet visited. Travel for the full council would be best done during the months of June, August or October.

Public Comment: Steve Rueter, chair of the Minnesota Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators, provided a position statement from the group. A summary includes:

· A weakness of the early childhood systems is the lack of high-quality, comprehensive early childhood programs that meet the Quality Rating criteria of Parent Aware. These programs are not widely available throughout the state-especially in many rural areas. Compensation-security for licensed early childhood professions is for MnAECTE a vital concern.
· To build quality programs, funding is needed to attract, retain and compensate early childhood professionals.
· Recommendations: 1) reconsider the scholarship approach so that an identified percentage goes to three and four star PA programs to give base support for teacher compensation. 2) add to the goal for RTT-ELC Project 11 so that it reads: “Develop a community, regional and state level public-private partnership structure to ensure sustainability of access to quality programs for all children including those with high needs.”

Erin Sullivan Sutton made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Scott McConnell seconded the motion. The motion was approved.