Task Force Recommendations

Which Way Forward for West Virginia’s Young Children?

The Early Childhood Planning Task Force has identified 16 key strategies for improving West Virginia’s early childhood system, which are described in the Phase I Findings and Recommendations report and will serve as the foundation of the Development Plan.

A. Increase participation in early childhood programs.
  1. Phase in evidence-based home visiting programs in every county for families who are expecting or raising young children.
  2. Serve more infants and toddlers at risk of developmental delay through WV Birth to Three.
  3. Raise the income limit for child care subsidies to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
  4. Raise subsidy reimbursement rates to child care providers to 75 percent of market rate.
  5. Strengthen collaboration between health providers and early childhood programs regarding assessments and referrals.
  6. Strengthen local planning and coordination of programs.
  7. Expand early learning opportunities for children from birth through age three in group settings, including child care, Head Start and Pre-K.
B. Improve the quality of early childhood services and infrastructure.
  1. Implement a quality rating and improvement system for early childhood services.
  2. Strengthen family engagement and leadership throughout the early childhood system.
  3. Improve the recruitment and retention of qualified staff in early childhood programs.
  4. Develop an integrated data system across programs to improve system planning and evaluation.
  5. Support a cross-sector professional development system for early childhood programs.
C. Strengthen early childhood system governance and financing.
  1. Strengthen the composition and duties of the Early Childhood Advisory Council within the Department of Education and the Arts.
  2. Relocate the Head Start State Collaboration Office to the Department of Education and the Arts for greater collaboration with the Early Childhood Advisory Council.
  3. Pursue the most promising financing options based on state and national research.
  4. Design a governance system that ensures the coordination, alignment, efficiency and accountability of the state’s early childhood system, giving strong consideration to a Cabinet-level agency.