United Way Priority Agenda Issue: Early Learning Update
Early learning bills CS/SB 1722 by Sen. John Legg (R-Lutz) and CS/HB 7165 by the House Education Committee are headed toward final votes. The bills address governance, accountability and fraud prevention. They differ on where the Office of Early Learning is placed within the Department of Education (DOE); and what percentage of funds Early Learning Coalitions (ELCs) must dedicate to childcare 'slots'. Read more. Meanwhile, the Early Learning budget remains flat, with the possible addition of $5.1 million to restore local ELC funding lost last year in a reallocation process. Budget negotiations are underway.
Foster Care Bill Advances
Of the approximately 5,000 young adults age 13-18 in Florida foster care, many will drop out of high school or become homeless at age 18, when they 'age out' of the system. CS/CS/CS/HB 1315
by Rep. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) creates an option to extend foster care to age 21, adding requirements for continued education, supervised living arrangements and mentoring. HB 1315 and its companion bill, CS/SB 1036
by Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice Beach) are heading for floor votes this week.