Memo for fiscal year 2019, updated 2018-03-29

[Archived] Question #24: Provide a detailing of the number of children served across the Early Childhood Program Area and the cost breakdown / estimates of the current waiting lists of each service area?


Can you please provide a detailing of the number of children served across the Early Childhood Program Area, the cost breakdown of each service area, and estimates of the current waiting lists for service in each area (quantity and duration)?


The Early Childhood Program is allocated $7.9 million in the City's FY19 Proposed Budget. $5.6 million was budgeted for non-personnel in across the Early Childhood programs with; $4.87 million of this allocated for the purchase of child care services. Of this, $2.3 million is budgeted for personnel costs for the 20.2 FTEs who work on early childhood issues. 

The 20.2 FTEs in the Early Childhood Program provide a continuum of services for individuals and families, that include: providing case management for individuals with developmental disorders, enrolling children in child care services, regulating family child care homes, offering support and facilitating professional development of early childhood providers, delivering early developmental intervention services and implementing early childhood mental health prevention, early intervention and treatment services.

Additionally, the Early Childhood Program receives a State Budget Allocation of $3.6 million for child care assistance (TANF, Transitional Child Care and the Fee System). This funding is expended at the State level for childcare vendors in the City while services are managed locally, and therefore $3.6 million is not reflected in the City budget. The total funding available for child care assistance/purchased services is $8.5 million for FY19.

BMQ - 24 - Early Childhood Program 1

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Transitional Child Care 
FY19 Budget: $1,300,000 
Average number of Children served per month FY17: 139
Number of Children on Waiting List: 0

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Transitional Child Care consists of Federal and State funds. These are mandated programs so funds are made available by the State as they are needed and therefore, these programs have no wait lists.

State Child Care Subsidy Program 
FY19 State Budget: $2,100,000  
Average number of Children served per month FY17: 361 
Number of Children on Waiting List: 72*

In FY17, the City moved to decrease the amount of time families stay on the child care subsidy waitlist. In FY18 the waitlist time was reduced from 12 months to 30 days and the waitlist was eliminated, thereby affecting a more real-time local waitlist status that allows the program a more efficient projection of fund encumbrances and capacity to serve additional children.

*The VaCMS database shows that there are 53 families and 72 children on the waitlist. These families are in varying stages of either providing needed documentation or selecting a child care provider and cannot be purged from the waitlist until their documents or selections are finalized. These cases should be considered “in process” and not on a “waiting list” as a result of lack of funding.

Head Start Wrap-Around 
FY19 State Budget: $300,000 
Average number of Children served per month FY17: 87

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.

Alexandria Head Start 
FY19 budget: $2,500,000 
Average number of Children served per month FY17: 309 
Number of Children on Waiting List: 127

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 level provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Head Start Office. The Campagna Center has one VPI classroom and VPI children are included with Head Start children in a blended classroom.

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 may remain on the waiting list for a longer period of time, while those with greater needs are prioritized to be placed in a classroom as space becomes available. Families are also referred to other programs for which they might be eligible. The registration process begins in March each year. Three-year olds on the waiting list who turn four by the end of September are given priority. The financial eligibility limit for AHS is 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

Scholarships for 4s 
FY19 Budget: $300,000 
Average number of Children served per month FY17: 63 
Number of Children on Waiting List: 0

The Scholarships for 4s is supported 100% through General Funds and pays the child care costs for Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) eligible children. As these services are sourced by the General Fund, the same funds can be applied toward the local match requirement for VPI.

Local Child Care Subsidy Fee System 
FY19 Budget: $300,000 
Average number of Children served per month FY17: 55 
Number of Children on Waiting List: 0

This program area is supported 100% through the General Fund. The budgeted $331,000 is to serve up to 45 subsidy eligible children. In FY17, additional dollars provided by City Council allowed higher numbers of children to be served in the Local Fee Subsidy and Scholarship for 4’s programs.

School Age Child Care 
FY19 Budget: $1,800,000 
Number of Children served FY17: 805 
Number of Children on Waiting List: 0

The Campagna Kids program has no children on the waiting list for any of its eleven sites. Parents are not restricted to utilizing their child’s assigned school location for after school care and are offered slots at any site when space becomes available. Parents are also referred to other community programs in the City that offer afterschool care. When a wait list exists, the length of waiting time varies depending on the site, parents' needs, preferences and other resources available in the community.

BMQ - 24 - Early Childhood Program 2

Early Intervention/ Developmental Disability and Mental Health Services 
FY19 Budget: $1,800,000 
Individuals Served /Services Provided FY17: 1,599 
Number of Children on Waiting List: None

The Parent-Infant Education (PIE) program provides early intervention, assessment, case management and treatment services for children 0-21 years of age. The services are provided through three specialized units: Part C Early Intervention; Developmental Disabilities Case Management; and Preschool Prevention. 

Part C Early Intervention provides assessment, case management and developmental therapy services for children birth to age 3 years utilizing evidence based practices within the child’s natural environment settings. Services were provided to total 820 children in FY17. This includes children screened and found not eligible. Per Federal law, there is no wait-list for these services.

The Youth Developmental Disabilities team provides intake, assessment, monitoring and support coordination services to individuals age 3- 21 years. The staff in this program served 163 individuals in FY17. Of these, 26 children and youth were enrolled in active case management and, 63 individuals received on-going support and monitoring in order to access Medicaid Waiver programs.

Preschool Prevention provides evidence-based prevention, early intervention and treatment services for preschool children ages 4-6 that are designed to increase social skills and reduce aggressive behavior. The program also provides support and consultation to parents, teachers and administrators. In FY17, there were 549 children served. Staff conducted 675 classroom observations/consultations; 67 parent consultations; and provided treatment services to 14 children.

Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) Budget Managed by Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) 
Average number of Children served per month FY17: 396

The Virginia Preschool Initiative in Alexandria is appropriated and managed by the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) and funded in the ACPS budget. 396 children are being served in quality VPI early childhood classrooms: 192 in school-based programs and 204 in community-based child care centers. 

Each year, the state estimates the number of children who will be eligible for the VPI program by locality. Over the past few years, Alexandria’s maximum number of children who can be served through VPI increased from 527 to 623. The key challenges to expanding capacity are unavailability of space and match funding. The 2016 General Assembly last approved funding calculated at $6,125 per eligible child, with program costs shared by the state and local governments. The total combined cost to serve a child in an Alexandria VPI classroom is $10,125 (3,062 state dollars, $3,062 for the local match requirement, and another $4,000 in local funds for the additional cost of operating a preschool classroom in Northern Virginia).

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