Memo for fiscal year 2017, updated 2016-04-05

[Archived] Can you provide a refresh of Budget Memo 16 from FY 2016 regarding Early Childhood funding and capacity?


The Early Childhood Program is allocated $7.7 million in the City's FY 2017 Proposed Budget. Of this, $2.2 million is budgeted for personnel costs. The 21.50 FTEs in the Early Childhood Program provide a range of services, including enrolling children in child care services, regulating child care homes, training and supporting early childhood providers, early intervention services and mental health early intervention and prevention services.

Of the $5.5 million budgeted for non-personnel in this program, $4.8 million is allocated for the purchase of child care services. In addition, the Early Childhood Program receives a State Budget Allocation of $3.5 million for child care assistance (TANF, Transitional Child Care and the Fee System). This funding is managed at the State level while services are managed locally, and so is not reflected in the City budget. The total funding available for child care assistance/purchased services is nearly $8.3 million for FY 2017. This does not include early intervention, intellectual disability, and mental health services provided by DCHS or Virginia Preschool Initiative funds. Both of these programs are described later in this memo.

24. Early - 1.5

Alexandria Head Start
FY 17 budget: $2,484,271

Average number of Children served per month FY15: 309 
Number of Children on Waiting List:  88

The Alexandria Head Start (AHS) program is funded for 309 children and maintains a waiting list of three- and four-year-olds. The number of children the program can serve is determined by the funding provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Head Start Office.

An individual family’s position on the waiting list is determined by a point system based on factors such as percent of poverty level and violence in the home, not by the date of application. Four-year-olds receive priority. Families with fewer factors as compared to others will remain on the waiting list for a longer period of time, while those with greater needs are placed in a classroom much sooner, as space becomes available. Families are also referred to other programs for which they might be eligible. The registration process for 2016-17 begins in March and three-year olds on the waiting list who turn four by the end of September will be given priority. The eligibility limit for AHS is 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL).

School Age Child Care
Budget: $1,741,835
Number of Children served FY15: 870 
Number of Children on Waiting List:  21

The Campagna Kids program has 21 children on the waiting list, across several sites. They monitor the number of children on the waiting list and, when demand at any one site reaches a level that warrants hiring another staff person, The Campagna Center takes steps to do so. Parents are offered slots both at their assigned schools and also away from their City-assigned schools when space becomes available. Parents are also referred to other programs in the City that offer school age child care. The length of waiting time varies widely depending on the site, parents' needs and other resources available in the community.

Local Child Care Subsidy Program 
Budget: $331,000

Average number of Children served per month FY 15: 29
Number of Children on Waiting List: Shares a waiting list with the Child Care Subsidy Program

The program is 100% funded by the General Fund. The number of children funded through the local fee system program stood at 35 at the end of FY 2015. Currently, the program funds 28 children, with applications pending. 

Child Care Subsidy Program
FY 17 State Budget: $2,062,711
Average number Children served per month FY15: 375

Number of Children on Waiting List: 422 - Shares a waiting list with the Local Child Care Subsidy Program 

The Child Care Subsidy Program (State Fee System) is funded by federal and State dollars and currently has a waiting list of 281 families and 422 children. The average wait time is 10 months.

Head Start Wrap-Around
FY17 State Budget: $218,041
Average number of Children served per month FY15: 28

Head Start Wrap-Around funds are 100% federal and are made available as needed by the State to provide before- and after-school services to Head Start children who need care beyond the 6-hour Head Start program day. 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Transitional Child Care
FY 17 Budget: $1,231,915

Average number of Children served per month FY 15: 178
Number of Children on Waiting List: 0

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Transitional Child Care is made up of Federal and State funds. These programs have no waiting lists because they are mandated programs and funds are made available by the State as needed.

Scholarships for 4s 
FY17 Budget: $253,005

Average number of Children served per month FY 15: 39
Number of Children on Waiting List: 0

The Scholarships for 4s is 100% General Fund and pays the child care costs for up to 30 children, all of whom are enrolled in community-based Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) classrooms. As these services are sourced by the General Fund, the same funds can be applied toward the local match requirement for VPI.

Early Intervention, Intellectual Disability and Mental Health Services
FY17 Budget:  $1,494,380
Services Provided FY 15:2,080 
Number of Children on Waiting List: None

The Parent-Infant Child Education (PIE) program provides screening and early intervention services for children 0-3 who have developmental delays. Services were provided to 762 children in FY15. This includes children screened and found not eligible. Per State law, there is no wait list for these services The program also provided case management services to 114 individuals between the of 3 to 22 years. Of those 114 individuals, 35 are waiting for Medicaid waiver services not provided by PIE. 

Mental Health Prevention provides evidence-based prevention services to preschool children ages 4-6 that are designed to increase social skills and reduce aggressive behavior. The program also provides early intervention services to preschoolers who need additional assessment and support and consultation to parents, teachers and administrators. In FY2015, 519 children were served by the prevention program, 22 early intervention clients received 392 hours of services, and 15 parent workshops were provided.

24. Early - 2

Virginia Preschool Initiative

The Virginia Preschool Initiative in Alexandria is appropriated and managed by the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) and funded in the ACPS budget. In the 2016 current academic year, 396 children were placed in quality early childhood classrooms: 192 in school-based programs and 204 in community-based child care centers. The key challenges in expanding the program are space and funding. For VPI, the average total cost per student is $10,000 in Alexandria. With a State contribution of $3,000 per student, an additional $7,000 in local dollars is needed: $3,000 meets the local match requirement and another $4,000 is necessary for the additional cost of operating a preschool classroom in Northern Virginia. 

The following table outlines the history of VPI funding and numbers of children served. This means that in FY 2016, Alexandria had an allocation of $1,581,000 and will only be able to draw down $1,188,000 because of the lack of a local funding and space limitations. The source of the table is Voices for Children.

24. Early - 3

Performance Measures

The following tools are currently being used throughout multiple early childhood programs to gather data on the progress of children and families in programs funded by local, State and federal dollars in the City:



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