20 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 20 - EDUCATION
CHAPTER 75 - EARLY LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

CHAPTER 75—EARLY LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Sec.
9401.
Purposes.
9402.
Definitions.
9403.
Prohibitions.
9404.
Authorization and appropriation of funds.
9405.
Coordination of Federal programs.
9406.
Program authorized.
9407.
Uses of funds.
9408.
Reservations and allotments.
9409.
Grant administration.
9410.
State requirements.
9411.
Local allocations.
9412.
Local applications.
9413.
Local administration.

        

§9401. Purposes

The purposes of this chapter are—

(1) to increase the availability of voluntary programs, services, and activities that support early childhood development, increase parent effectiveness, and promote the learning readiness of young children so that young children enter school ready to learn;

(2) to support parents, child care providers, and caregivers who want to incorporate early learning activities into the daily lives of young children;

(3) to remove barriers to the provision of an accessible system of early childhood learning programs in communities throughout the United States;

(4) to increase the availability and affordability of professional development activities and compensation for caregivers and child care providers; and

(5) to facilitate the development of community-based systems of collaborative service delivery models characterized by resource sharing, linkages between appropriate supports, and local planning for services.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §802], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–80.)

Short Title; Findings

Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §801], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–79, provided that:

“(a) Short Title.—This title [enacting this chapter] may be cited as the ‘Early Learning Opportunities Act’.

“(b) Findings.—Congress finds that—

“(1) medical research demonstrates that adequate stimulation of a young child's brain between birth and age 5 is critical to the physical development of the young child's brain;

“(2) parents are the most significant and effective teachers of their children, and they alone are responsible for choosing the best early learning opportunities for their child;

“(3) parent education and parent involvement are critical to the success of any early learning program or activity;

“(4) the more intensively parents are involved in their child's early learning, the greater the cognitive and noncognitive benefits to their children;

“(5) many parents have difficulty finding the information and support the parents seek to help their children grow to their full potential;

“(6) each day approximately 13,000,000 young children, including 6,000,000 infants or toddlers, spend some or all of their day being cared for by someone other than their parents;

“(7) quality early learning programs, including those designed to promote effective parenting, can increase the literacy rate, the secondary school graduation rate, the employment rate, and the college enrollment rate for children who have participated in voluntary early learning programs and activities;

“(8) early childhood interventions can yield substantial advantages to participants in terms of emotional and cognitive development, education, economic well-being, and health, with the latter two advantages applying to the children's families as well;

“(9) participation in quality early learning programs, including those designed to promote effective parenting, can decrease the future incidence of teenage pregnancy, welfare dependency, at-risk behaviors, and juvenile delinquency for children;

“(10) several cost-benefit analysis studies indicate that for each $1 invested in quality early learning programs, the Federal Government can save over $5 by reducing the number of children and families who participate in Federal Government programs like special education and welfare;

“(11) for children placed in the care of others during the workday, the low salaries paid to the child care staff, the lack of career progression for the staff, and the lack of child development specialists involved in early learning and child care programs, make it difficult to attract and retain the quality of staff necessary for a positive early learning experience;

“(12) Federal Government support for early learning has primarily focused on out-of-home care programs like those established under the Head Start Act [42 U.S.C. 9831 et seq.], the Child Care and Development Block Grant [Act] of 1990 [42 U.S.C. 9858 et seq.], and part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [20 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.], and these programs—

“(A) serve far fewer than half of all eligible children;

“(B) are not primarily designed to provide support for parents who care for their young children in the home; and

“(C) lack a means of coordinating early learning opportunities in each community; and

“(13) by helping communities increase, expand, and better coordinate early learning opportunities for children and their families, the productivity and creativity of future generations will be improved, and the Nation will be prepared for continued leadership in the 21st century.”

§9402. Definitions

In this chapter:

(1) Caregiver

The term “caregiver” means an individual, including a relative, neighbor, or family friend, who regularly or frequently provides care, with or without compensation, for a child for whom the individual is not the parent.

(2) Child care provider

The term “child care provider” means a provider of non-residential child care services (including center-based, family-based, and in-home child care services) for compensation who or that is legally operating under State law, and complies with applicable State and local requirements for the provision of child care services.

(3) Early learning

The term “early learning”, used with respect to a program or activity, means learning designed to facilitate the development of cognitive, language, motor, and social-emotional skills for, and to promote learning readiness in, young children.

(4) Early learning program

The term “early learning program” means—

(A) a program of services or activities that helps parents, caregivers, and child care providers incorporate early learning into the daily lives of young children; or

(B) a program that directly provides early learning to young children.

(5) Indian tribe

The term “Indian tribe” has the meaning given the term in section 450b of title 25.

(6) Local Council

The term “Local Council” means a Local Council established or designated under section 9413(a) of this title that serves one or more localities.

(7) Locality

The term “locality” means a city, county, borough, township, or area served by another general purpose unit of local government, an Indian tribe, a Regional Corporation, or a Native Hawaiian entity.

(8) Parent

The term “parent” means a biological parent, an adoptive parent, a stepparent, a foster parent, or a legal guardian of, or a person standing in loco parentis to, a child.

(9) Poverty line

The term “poverty line” means the poverty line (as defined by the Office of Management and Budget, and revised annually in accordance with section 9902(2) of title 42) applicable to a family of the size involved.

(10) Regional Corporation

The term “Regional Corporation” means an entity listed in section 619(4)(B) of title 42.

(11) Secretary

The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(12) State

The term “State” means each of the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(13) Training

The term “training” means instruction in early learning that—

(A) is required for certification under State and local laws, regulations, and policies;

(B) is required to receive a nationally or State recognized credential or its equivalent;

(C) is received in a postsecondary education program focused on early learning or early childhood development in which the individual is enrolled; or

(D) is provided, certified, or sponsored by an organization that is recognized for its expertise in promoting early learning or early childhood development.

(14) Young child

The term “young child” means any child from birth to the age of mandatory school attendance in the State where the child resides.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §803], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–81.)

§9403. Prohibitions

(a) Participation not required

No person, including a parent, shall be required to participate in any program of early childhood education, early learning, parent education, or developmental screening pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

(b) Rights of parents

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect the rights of parents otherwise established in Federal, State, or local law.

(c) Particular methods or settings

No entity that receives funds under this chapter shall be required to provide services under this chapter through a particular instructional method or in a particular instructional setting to comply with this chapter.

(d) Nonduplication

No funds provided under this chapter shall be used to carry out an activity funded under another provision of law providing for Federal child care or early learning programs, unless an expansion of such activity is identified in the local needs assessment and performance goals under this chapter.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §804], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–82.)

§9404. Authorization and appropriation of funds

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out this chapter—

(1) $750,000,000 for fiscal year 2001;

(2) $1,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2002;

(3) $1,500,000,000 for fiscal year 2003; and

(4) such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2004 and 2005.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §805], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–82.)

§9405. Coordination of Federal programs

(a) Coordination

The Secretary and the Secretary of Education shall develop mechanisms to resolve administrative and programmatic conflicts between Federal programs that would be a barrier to parents, caregivers, service providers, or children related to the coordination of services and funding for early learning programs.

(b) Use of equipment and supplies

In the case of a collaborative activity funded under this chapter and another provision of law providing for Federal child care or early learning programs, the use of equipment and nonconsumable supplies purchased with funds made available under this chapter or such provision shall not be restricted to children enrolled or otherwise participating in the program carried out under this chapter or such provision, during a period in which the activity is predominately funded under this chapter or such provision.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §806], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–82.)

§9406. Program authorized

(a) Grants

From amounts appropriated under section 9404 of this title the Secretary shall award grants to States to enable the States to award grants to Local Councils to pay the Federal share of the cost of carrying out early learning programs in the locality served by the Local Council.

(b) Federal share

(1) In general

The Federal share of the cost described in subsections (a) and (e) of this section shall be 85 percent for the first and second years of the grant, 80 percent for the third and fourth years of the grant, and 75 percent for the fifth and subsequent years of the grant.

(2) Non-Federal share

The non-Federal share of the cost described in subsections (a) and (e) of this section may be contributed in cash or in kind, fairly evaluated, including facilities, equipment, or services, which may be provided from State or local public sources, or through donations from private entities. For the purposes of this paragraph the term “facilities” includes the use of facilities, but the term “equipment” means donated equipment and not the use of equipment.

(c) Maintenance of effort

The Secretary shall not award a grant under this chapter to any State unless the Secretary first determines that the total expenditures by the State and its political subdivisions to support early learning programs (other than funds used to pay the non-Federal share under subsection (b)(2) of this section) for the fiscal year for which the determination is made is equal to or greater than such expenditures for the preceding fiscal year.

(d) Supplement not supplant

Amounts received under this chapter shall be used to supplement and not supplant other Federal, State, and local public funds expended to promote early learning.

(e) Special rule

If funds appropriated to carry out this chapter are less than $150,000,000 for any fiscal year, the Secretary shall award grants for the fiscal year directly to Local Councils, on a competitive basis, to pay the Federal share of the cost of carrying out early learning programs in the locality served by the Local Council. In carrying out the preceding sentence—

(1) subsection (c) of this section, subsections (b) and (c) of section 9409 of this title, and paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of section 9410(a) of this title shall not apply;

(2) State responsibilities described in section 9410(d) of this title shall be carried out by the Local Council with regard to the locality;

(3) the Secretary shall provide such technical assistance and monitoring as necessary to ensure that the use of the funds by Local Councils and the distribution of the funds to Local Councils are consistent with this chapter; and

(4) subject to paragraph (1), the Secretary shall assume the responsibilities of the Lead State Agency under this chapter, as appropriate.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §807], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–82.)

§9407. Uses of funds

(a) In general

Subject to section 9409 of this title, grant funds under this chapter shall be used to pay for developing, operating, or enhancing voluntary early learning programs that are likely to produce sustained gains in early learning.

(b) Limited uses

Subject to section 9409 of this title, Lead State Agencies and Local Councils shall ensure that funds made available under this chapter to the agencies and Local Councils are used for three or more of the following activities:

(1) Helping parents, caregivers, child care providers, and educators increase their capacity to facilitate the development of cognitive, language comprehension, expressive language, social-emotional, and motor skills, and promote learning readiness.

(2) Promoting effective parenting.

(3) Enhancing early childhood literacy.

(4) Developing linkages among early learning programs within a community and between early learning programs and health care services for young children.

(5) Increasing access to early learning opportunities for young children with special needs, including developmental delays, by facilitating coordination with other programs serving such young children.

(6) Increasing access to existing early learning programs by expanding the days or times that the young children are served, by expanding the number of young children served, or by improving the affordability of the programs for low-income families.

(7) Improving the quality of early learning programs through professional development and training activities, increased compensation, and recruitment and retention incentives, for early learning providers.

(8) Removing ancillary barriers to early learning, including transportation difficulties and absence of programs during nontraditional work times.

(c) Requirements

Each Lead State Agency designated under section 9409(c) of this title and Local Councils receiving a grant under this chapter shall ensure—

(1) that Local Councils described in section 9413 of this title work with local educational agencies to identify cognitive, social, emotional, and motor developmental abilities which are necessary to support children's readiness for school;

(2) that the programs, services, and activities assisted under this chapter will represent developmentally appropriate steps toward the acquisition of those abilities; and

(3) that the programs, services, and activities assisted under this chapter collectively provide benefits for children cared for in their own homes as well as children placed in the care of others.

(d) Sliding scale payments

States and Local Councils receiving assistance under this chapter shall ensure that programs, services, and activities assisted under this chapter which customarily require a payment for such programs, services, or activities, adjust the cost of such programs, services, and activities provided to the individual or the individual's child based on the individual's ability to pay.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §808], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–83.)

§9408. Reservations and allotments

(a) Reservation for Indian tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians

The Secretary shall reserve 1 percent of the total amount appropriated under section 9404 of this title for each fiscal year, to be allotted to Indian tribes, Regional Corporations, and Native Hawaiian entities, of which—

(1) 0.5 percent shall be available to Indian tribes; and

(2) 0.5 percent shall be available to Regional Corporations and Native Hawaiian entities.

(b) Allotments

From the funds appropriated under this chapter for each fiscal year that are not reserved under subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary shall allot to each State the sum of—

(1) an amount that bears the same ratio to 50 percent of such funds as the number of children 4 years of age and younger in the State bears to the number of such children in all States; and

(2) an amount that bears the same ratio to 50 percent of such funds as the number of children 4 years of age and younger living in families with incomes below the poverty line in the State bears to the number of such children in all States.

(c) Minimum allotment

No State shall receive an allotment under subsection (b) of this section for a fiscal year in an amount that is less than .40 percent of the total amount appropriated for the fiscal year under this chapter.

(d) Availability of funds

Any portion of the allotment to a State that is not expended for activities under this chapter in the fiscal year for which the allotment is made shall remain available to the State for two additional years, after which any unexpended funds shall be returned to the Secretary. The Secretary shall use the returned funds to carry out a discretionary grant program for research-based early learning demonstration projects.

(e) Data

The Secretary shall make allotments under this chapter on the basis of the most recent data available to the Secretary.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §809], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–84.)

§9409. Grant administration

(a) Federal administrative costs

The Secretary may use not more than 3 percent of the amount appropriated under section 9404 of this title for a fiscal year to pay for the administrative costs of carrying out this chapter, including the monitoring and evaluation of State and local efforts.

(b) State administrative costs

A State that receives a grant under this chapter may use—

(1) not more than 2 percent of the funds made available through the grant to carry out activities designed to coordinate early learning programs on the State level, including programs funded or operated by the State educational agency, health, children and family, and human service agencies, and any State-level collaboration or coordination council involving early learning and education, such as the entities funded under section 9835(a)(2)(B)(vi) of title 42;

(2) not more than 2 percent of the funds made available through the grant for the administrative costs of carrying out the grant program and the costs of reporting State and local efforts to the Secretary; and

(3) not more than 3 percent of the funds made available through the grant for training, technical assistance, and wage incentives provided by the State to Local Councils.

(c) Lead State Agency

(1) In general

To be eligible to receive an allotment under this chapter, the Governor of a State shall appoint, after consultation with the leadership of the State legislature, a Lead State Agency to carry out the functions described in paragraph (2).

(2) Lead State Agency

(A) Allocation of funds

The Lead State Agency described in paragraph (1) shall allocate funds to Local Councils as described in section 9411 of this title.

(B) Functions of agency

In addition to allocating funds pursuant to subparagraph (A), the Lead State Agency shall—

(i) advise and assist Local Councils in the performance of their duties under this chapter;

(ii) develop and submit the State application;

(iii) evaluate and approve applications submitted by Local Councils under section 9412 of this title;

(iv) ensure collaboration with respect to assistance provided under this chapter between the State agency responsible for education and the State agency responsible for children and family services;

(v) prepare and submit to the Secretary, an annual report on the activities carried out in the State under this chapter, which shall include a statement describing how all funds received under this chapter are expended and documentation of the effects that resources under this chapter have had on—

(I) parental capacity to improve learning readiness in their young children;

(II) early childhood literacy;

(III) linkages among early learning programs;

(IV) linkages between early learning programs and health care services for young children;

(V) access to early learning activities for young children with special needs;

(VI) access to existing early learning programs through expansion of the days or times that children are served;

(VII) access to existing early learning programs through expansion of the number of young children served;

(VIII) access to and affordability of existing early learning programs for low-income families;

(IX) the quality of early learning programs resulting from professional development, and recruitment and retention incentives for caregivers; and

(X) removal of ancillary barriers to early learning, including transportation difficulties and absence of programs during nontraditional work times; and


(vi) ensure that training and research is made available to Local Councils and that such training and research reflects the latest available brain development and early childhood development research related to early learning.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §810], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–85; Pub. L. 110–134, §29(b), Dec. 12, 2007, 121 Stat. 1449.)

Amendments

2007—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 110–134 substituted “entities funded under section 9835(a)(2)(B)(vi) of title 42” for “entities funded under section 9835(a)(5) of title 42”.

§9410. State requirements

(a) Eligibility

To be eligible for a grant under this chapter, a State shall—

(1) ensure that funds received by the State under this chapter shall be subject to appropriation by the State legislature, consistent with the terms and conditions required under State law;

(2) designate a Lead State Agency under section 9409(c) of this title to administer and monitor the grant and ensure State-level coordination of early learning programs;

(3) submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Secretary may require;

(4) ensure that funds made available under this chapter are distributed on a competitive basis throughout the State to Local Councils serving rural, urban, and suburban areas of the State; and

(5) assist the Secretary in developing mechanisms to ensure that Local Councils receiving funds under this chapter comply with the requirements of this chapter.

(b) State preference

In awarding grants to Local Councils under this chapter, the State, to the maximum extent possible, shall ensure that a broad variety of early learning programs that provide a continuity of services across the age spectrum assisted under this chapter are funded under this chapter, and shall give preference to supporting—

(1) a Local Council that meets criteria, that are specified by the State and approved by the Secretary, for qualifying as serving an area of greatest need for early learning programs; and

(2) a Local Council that demonstrates, in the application submitted under section 9412 of this title, the Local Council's potential to increase collaboration as a means of maximizing use of resources provided under this chapter with other resources available for early learning programs.

(c) Local preference

In awarding grants under this chapter, Local Councils shall give preference to supporting—

(1) projects that demonstrate their potential to collaborate as a means of maximizing use of resources provided under this chapter with other resources available for early learning programs;

(2) programs that provide a continuity of services for young children across the age spectrum, individually, or through community-based networks or cooperative agreements; and

(3) programs that help parents and other caregivers promote early learning with their young children.

(d) Performance goals

(1) Assessments

Based on information and data received from Local Councils, and information and data available through State resources, the State shall biennially assess the needs and available resources related to the provision of early learning programs within the State.

(2) Performance goals

Based on the analysis of information described in paragraph (1), the State shall establish measurable performance goals to be achieved through activities assisted under this chapter.

(3) Requirement

The State shall award grants to Local Councils only for purposes that are consistent with the performance goals established under paragraph (2).

(4) Report

The State shall report to the Secretary annually regarding the State's progress toward achieving the performance goals established in paragraph (2) and any necessary modifications to those goals, including the rationale for the modifications.

(5) Improvement plans

If the Secretary determines, based on the State report submitted under paragraph (4), that the State is not making progress toward achieving the performance goals described in paragraph (2), then the State shall submit a performance improvement plan to the Secretary, and demonstrate reasonable progress in implementing such plan, in order to remain eligible for funding under this chapter.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §811], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–86.)

§9411. Local allocations

(a) In general

The Lead State Agency shall allocate to Local Councils in the State not less than 93 percent of the funds provided to the State under this chapter for a fiscal year.

(b) Limitation

The Lead State Agency shall allocate funds provided under this chapter on the basis of the population of the locality served by the Local Council.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §812], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–88.)

§9412. Local applications

(a) In general

To be eligible to receive assistance under this chapter, the Local Council shall submit an application to the Lead State Agency at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Lead State Agency may require.

(b) Contents

Each application submitted pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall include a statement ensuring that the local government entity, Indian tribe, Regional Corporation, or Native Hawaiian entity has established or designated a Local Council under section 9413 of this title, and the Local Council has developed a local plan for carrying out early learning programs under this chapter that includes—

(1) a needs and resources assessment concerning early learning services and a statement describing how early learning programs will be funded consistent with the assessment;

(2) a statement of how the Local Council will ensure that early learning programs will meet the performance goals reported by the Lead State Agency under this chapter; and

(3) a description of how the Local Council will form collaboratives among local youth, social service, and educational providers to maximize resources and concentrate efforts on areas of greatest need.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §813], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–88.)

§9413. Local administration

(a) Local Council

(1) In general

To be eligible to receive funds under this chapter, a local government entity, Indian tribe, Regional Corporation, or Native Hawaiian entity, as appropriate, shall establish or designate a Local Council, which shall be composed of—

(A) representatives of local agencies directly affected by early learning programs assisted under this chapter;

(B) parents;

(C) other individuals concerned with early learning issues in the locality, such as representative entities providing elementary education, child care resource and referral services, early learning opportunities, child care, and health services; and

(D) other key community leaders.

(2) Designating existing entity

If a local government entity, Indian tribe, Regional Corporation, or Native Hawaiian entity has, before December 21, 2000, a Local Council or a regional entity that is comparable to the Local Council described in paragraph (1), the entity, tribe, or corporation may designate the council or entity as a Local Council under this chapter, and shall be considered to have established a Local Council in compliance with this subsection.

(3) Functions

The Local Council shall be responsible for preparing and submitting the application described in section 9412 of this title.

(b) Administration

(1) Administrative costs

Not more than 3 percent of the funds received by a Local Council under this chapter shall be used to pay for the administrative costs of the Local Council in carrying out this chapter.

(2) Fiscal agent

A Local Council may designate any entity, with a demonstrated capacity for administering grants, that is affected by, or concerned with, early learning issues, including the State, to serve as fiscal agent for the administration of grant funds received by the Local Council under this chapter.

(Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(1) [title VIII, §814], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A–88.)