The2nd meeting of the Subcommittee on Families and Children of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare was held on Monday, August 22, 2005, at 10:30 AM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Tom Burch, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative Tom Burch, Co-Chair; Senators Charlie Borders, Tom Buford, Denise Harper Angel, Alice Kerr, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Bob DeWeese, Darryl Owens, Jon David Reinhardt, Ancel Smith, and Addia Wuchner.
Guests: Kathy King, Teri Wheatly, Dawn Thompson, LeeAnn Nunn, and Harry Hinkle for 4C; CarrollAnn Bushev, Sandy Caske and Ellen Burke for EKCCC; Laura Heuser and Natasha Bigl for 4CNKY; Robin Herring and Paula Moodworth for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Beth Carrico and Jennifer Beck Walker for the Purchase Area Development District; Tom Emberton for the Department for Community Based Services, Janet Mastasm for 4-C and Pat Hites, EKCCC.
LRC Staff: DeeAnn Mansfield, Murray Wood, and Cindy Smith.
The minutes of the July 22, 2005 meeting were approved without objection.
The first item on the agenda was a discussion on the implementation plans of the STARS for KIDS NOW Quality Rating System and Kentucky Child Care Resource and Referral Services. Commissioner Tom Emberton said the motivation for contract changes have been misinterpreted. Their goal is for consistent care and services. They want a seamless transition with the same or enhanced services.
Next, Betsy Farley, Division Direction, Division of Child Care, Department for Community Based Services discussed a visit she had to Finland and noted how Finland focuses on early care of children. The children in Finland start school one year later and have very quality programs, with teacher's who have master's degrees. Children graduating in Finland have the highest testing scores of any in the nation. She also gave some statistics about Kentucky children. She said that Kentucky has 713,000 children 12 years of age or under using child care, with 130,000 regulated slots. One-third of the families with young children are at 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Ms. Farley gave some facts about the history of Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) contracted services. Prior to this years, service contracts were negotiated. This years was to raise standards which include: (1) establishing performance measures; (2) increasing accountability of service outputs (3) increasing over site and fiscal accountability; (4) reducing the appearance of conflict of interest between the network board and contract administration; and (5) increasing matching dollars. She gave a summary of CCR&R Services. They include: (1) retaining and recruiting child care providers; (2) providing training for child care providers; (3) acting as a resource to families on available and appropriate child care; (4) providing community education for quality child care for community stakeholders, and (5) maintaining local and statewide data. A summary of quality services provided include: (1) offering technical assistance about STARS for KIDS NOW to child care providers; (2) providing counseling to support professional development of child care providers; (3) educating providers and conducting reliable rating scales; (4) establishing marketing and outreach plans; and (5) enabling the scholarship and non-scholarship program. In the solicitation process, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) on April 8, 2005. The solicitation closed on May 13, 2005. Each proposal that was submitted had two separately scored panel reviews. The evaluation process was completed on June 13, 2005. The University of Kentucky's Human Development Institute was awarded contracts for both RFPs. The contract results in net gain for the Cabinet: Each contract reduced by $100,000 per year. An increase in-service match is leveraged that equals $1.5 million. The contracts will expand seamless services through increased accountability, assessment, technology and evaluation.
Representative Burch asked if these suggestions have been made before and if there was a shift in the contract content. Ms. Farley said there has been more emphasis on certain areas, especially quality. She said they had not been doing a good job with expectations and service output, and that more performance measures will be put in. Representative Burch said this has been the Cabinet's responsibility for the last four years. Ms. Farley said they will increase and improve on previous measurements and that technology allows more collection of data. The University of Kentucky contracts enhance this a great deal.
Senator Borders said the mission should be to serve children in the best way possible. He asked if there was anything to preclude the University of Kentucky from using existing employees to help with the children. Dr. Rous of the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute said a bid was made through the Request for Proposal (RFP). It did save money and make it more efficient. She said that existing employees could apply for open positions.
Representative Wuchner asked how many positions were anticipated on paper. Dr. Rous said there were 50 positions on paper and 49 were proposed, so there is a net loss of one.
Representative Owens asked about the savings of $100,000 each year. Ms. Farley said that does not diminish the number of children served. The performance measures also increased recruitment of children. Representative Owens asked if the savings increased the services or the number of children served. Ms. Farley said it increased both.
Representative Owens asked if the Department had goals and standards. Ms. Farley said there have always been goals and standards, including strengthening leadership. They have been more successful in some regions of the state than others. One goal is to improve the standards statewide.
Representative Owens asked who determines if the University of Kentucky is doing their job with the contract. Ms. Farley said the performance measures show what they have to achieve.
Representative Burch said that the committee wants to see positive outcomes. He asked the Cabinet to provide a chart of where they are now and this issue will be addressed again in December, March and July to see if improvement has been made.
Next on the agenda was a presentation by Dr. Beth Rous of the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute. She spoke about the commitment of UK. She said that UK has a mission of teaching, research and service. The UK strategic goal is to elevate the quality of life for Kentuckians. The Human Development Institute was established in 1969. They have over 35 years of experience in supporting research, training and direct service to early childhood programs in the Commonwealth. Also, they have over $20 million in annual grants and contracts at the local, state and federal level. She said in response to the RFP, there is a commitment to continue support of early childhood services in the state by UK and the Human Development Institute to help realize the KIDS NOW vision. Their response to the RFP and CCR&R Services is to (1) provide a clear plan for the state that would respond to the new indicators for success as provided in the RFP; (2) develop a system that would clearly delineate responsibilities for training, support, monitoring and evaluation; (3) provide a process for determining regional needs and develop regional plans to address them; (4) re-design of the scholarship and STARS for KIDS NOW services to ensure equity of access and consistency of services across the state; (5) work in partnership with the Kentucky community and technical college system to maximize resources and visibility; (6) maintain and enhance the current level of service for scholarship and STARS for KIDS NOW program. To date, the progress includes (1) work scopes and budgets were submitted by all CCR&Rs; (2) contracts are in process; (3) websites have been developed and launched; (3) data system training and development process is underway; and (4) staff have been interviewed and hired.
Representative Burch asked how they determined gaps in services. Dr. Rous said the gap analysis will be done this fall using existing CCR&Rs and existing staff.
The last item on the agenda was a presentation on the Kentucky Child Care Network Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies by Susan Vessels, Executive Director, 4C, Community Coordinated Child Care. Ms. Vessels said 4C has been in the child care business for 35 years. She said they have no opposition or concern with UK having the contract. She said 4C serves families, child care providers and communities. She said 4C embraces the STARS program. STARS has benefited 58,000 children in the 4C area with recent improvements in care. She said that UK's plan does not seem as seamless as it is now. The target of 4C is to provide services to child care providers. She said 4C has taken a simple program and is making it better. She said 4C helps providers go through higher training and obtain research goals. She said that the Cabinet put out the RFP which stated the requirements for funding. She said that UK's proposal came out at the top level, by cost shifting, not cost savings. The contract with UK will not result in a reduction in the cost to the state.
Ellen Burke, Board Chair of EKCCC said her organization serves the Big Sandy, Lake Cumberland and Cumberland Valley Area Development Districts as an CCR&R. She mentioned that it was hard to provide health insurance and that services were always subsidized. She said there are many qualified workers in the mountains, but the positions with UK are full. She said that she is afraid that no CCR&Rs will be around in a year.
Net, CarrollAnn Busher of Northern Kentucky 4C said she has been with the CCR&Rs since 1991 and has served the same 23 counties. They serve small businesses. Overtime, they develop trust and respect. They take quality to the next level. They have a staff of 14 and have produced over 1500 scholars and have 189 facilities in the STARS Program.
Ms. Vessels said the reality is that the child care providers don't know how to complete applications and forms online. Providers need to access resources in a resource library in the CCR&Rs. The CCR&R is a one stop shop that is all about childcare.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.