Issue One

February, 2011

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Early Childhood Advisory Council Updates  

In This Issue
Data Development Work Group
Quality Improvement
Work Group
Finance Work Group
Workforce Development
Work Groups Join Forces

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Welcome to the introductory issue of the Early Childhood Advisory Council newsletter. We are launching this newsletter to give you the latest updates of what is happening within the ECAC on a regular basis. In this first issue we are highlighting some breaking news from the Work Groups. Any feedback? Or items to submit for our next issue? We want to hear from you. Contact us at

Hot Off the Press

Data Development Work Group

We are happy to announce the publication of  Putting the Pieces Together: New York Early Learning Data Systems, by Lee Kreader (ECAC Data Development Work Group Co-Chair) and William Schneider, both from the National Center for Children in Poverty. This important report provides, for the first time, a comprehensive inventory of the data that is collected by New York's current early learning program data systems; an organizational framework for developing a comprehensive data system, information for identifying gaps, and recommendations for developing the first cross program data system that would answer a wide range of policy and program questions previously unanswerable. Look for a copy soon in your mailbox!

In the News: The Early Childhood Advisory Council was positively mentioned in a publication from the Data Quality Campaign, Building and Using a Coordinated State Early Care and Education Data System, A Framework for State Policymakers. See page 11 for details.

For more information contact Jeff Luks, Data Development Work Group at: (518) 486-9533 or
Moving Ahead With...

QSNY Logo  

Quality Improvement Work Group

The field test of the program standards for QUALITYstarsNY is completed and we are eagerly awaiting the evaluation results. Those results will help inform work on the revisions to the standards. In the meantime, plans are underway to maintain the involvement of the programs that participated in the field test, and to expand the opportunity to new programs in 2011. See the QUALITYstarsNY website ( for more information. Press reports from recent advocacy work to support QUALITYstarsNY are available there, too.   


We are pleased to announce the report, "Opportunities for Alignment of Current Resources" by Fredda Merzon, with Anne Mitchell (Co-Chair of the Quality Improvement Work Group) will be available soon. The report identifies current resources (federal and state) to support early care and education, through outreach to parents, technical assistance to programs and professional development for staff, in order to paint a picture of resources that might be aligned with QUALITYstarsNY.     


During the field test of the QUALITYstarsNY standards, modifications were made to the Web-based Early Learning System (WELS), so that the database would accurately reflect the programs and services in New York State. A demonstration of the system and a discussion about the possibilities for alignment provided in the Merzon and Mitchell report will be on the agenda for the next Work Group meeting scheduled for February 22nd, 2011.

QUALITYstarsNY reached a national audience in the online  Public News Service. Congratulations to the QSNY supporters and to Dana Friedman (ECAC and Quality Improvement Work Group Member) for her excellent description of the significance of QUALITYstarsNY for parents and other consumers.

For more information contact Barbara Hogan, Quality Improvement Work Group at: (518) 473-6341 or

Laying the Foundation for the
Finance Model

Finance Work Group

The Finance Work Group is well on its way to developing New York State's Early Childhood Cost Model for a comprehensive system of supports and services for young children and their families. The Finance Work Group members worked with other ECAC Work Groups, and used the report,  A Framework for Public Finance of New York State's Early Childhood System, by Louise Stoney and Anne Mitchell (ECAC and Finance Work Group Member, Co-Chair of Quality Improvement Work Group), which helped us identify the process for costing out the system, including identifying service elements (services that families need).


Working with the firm of Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates, we are now moving forward with developing the Cost Model for the new system.


For more information contact Stephanie Woodard, Finance Work Group at: (518) 486-4690 or .

Calculating Steps on the Career Path Workforce Development Work Group

The Career Calculator is a new tool that is being developed along with the statewide staff registry.The Calculator provides a method for early childhood professionals to enter credits for experience, formal education, ongoing professional development and state credentials or certifications. The data entered by an individual is then translated into an identified level of professionalism. Early childhood professionals will be better able to calculate where they are in their career and what they need to advance. Samples of these documents will be shared with the ECAC members in the next few months.


For more information contact Susan Perkins, Workforce Development Work Group at: (518) 474-9023 or

Seizing the Moment
Strong Families/Promoting Healthy Development
Work Groups Join Forces

The Strong Families and Promoting Healthy Development Work Groups recently discussed formulating a more integrated approach to screenings for children and families, and have determined that the first step toward a more comprehensive system would be to support expansion of efforts for developmental screenings for young children. The two work groups will consider ways to capitalize on existing programs as well as Medicaid reform and the Affordable Care Act. This approach would ultimately decrease costs to the health care system by early identification and treatment of health problems in young children, thereby reducing costly expenditures for more involved services later on.


For background information on Medicaid's role in screening for young children, see the New Brief on the Role of Developmental Screenings in Medicaid and CHIP 


This brief from the Urban Institute examines the large gaps in early identification that exist in Medicaid, the nation's largest health insurance program for children, in which eligible children are entitled to regular screenings. Many young children have health, developmental or behavioral problems that are not identified before entering kindergarten, preventing them from receiving early intervention services. To address these problems, states can take a number of steps within the Medicaid/CHIP policy environment.  


For more information contact Jenn O'Connor, Strong Families Work Group at: (518) 463-1896 X131 or  and Bridget Walsh, Promoting Healthy Families Work Group at: (518)  463-1896 X129  or

Thank you for your interest in the Early Childhood Advisory Council. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me at:


Regina Canuso

Project Manager