By: Talarico H.B. No. 51
  relating to establishing an Office of Early Childhood to
  coordinate, consolidate and integrate early childhood programs.
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 1001, Health and Safety Code, is amended
  by adding Subsection 1001.266 to read as follows:
         Sec. 1001.266.  OFFICE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD. (a)  There is
  hereby established an Office of Early Childhood ("the Office"). The
  Office is vested with all powers and duties transferred to it under
  this law and such other powers and duties as may be authorized by
  law. The Office shall be within the Department of State Health
  Services for administrative and budget purposes.
         (b)  The Office of Early Childhood shall be headed by the
  Director of Early Childhood who shall be appointed within three
  months of the effective date of this Act by a committee composed of
  designees for the Governor, the speaker of the house of
  representatives, the president of the senate, the minority leader
  of the house of representatives and the minority leader of the
  senate; if the Committee cannot agree on an appointee, then the
  Governor shall make the appointment.
         (c)  The primary duties of the Office of Early Childhood are
  to coordinate and integrate child care, early childhood, and early
  care and learning programs in Texas in order to administer programs
  and funding as efficiently as possible. The Office's duties shall
  include, but are not limited to:
               (i)  The delivery of services to young children and
  their families to ensure optimal health, safety and learning for
  each young child;
               (ii)  Developing and implementing an early childhood
  information system. Such early childhood information system shall
  facilitate and encourage the sharing of data between and among
  early childhood service providers by tracking:
                     (1)  the health, safety and school readiness of
  all young children receiving early care and education services from
  any local or regional board of education or school readiness
                     (2)  the characteristics of the existing and
  potential workforce serving such children, and
                     (3)  the characteristics of such programs serving
  such children;
               (iii)  Developing and reporting on the early childhood
  accountability plan. Such plan shall:
                     (1)  identify and define appropriate population
  indicators and program and system performance measures of the
  health, safety and readiness of children to enter kindergarten, and
  early school success of children, and shall identify any new or
  improved data required for such purposes; and
                     (2)  include aggregate information on the
  characteristics of children and programs tracked by the early
  childhood information system established by subsection (c, ii) of
  this act;
                     (3)  the characteristics of such programs serving
  such children;
               (iv)  Implementing a communications strategy for
  outreach to families, service providers and policymakers;
               (v)  Not later than 6 months from the effective date of
  this act, beginning a state-wide longitudinal evaluation of the
  school readiness program examining the educational progress of
  children from prekindergarten programs through grade four;
               (vi)  Developing, coordinating and supporting public
  and private partnerships to aid early childhood initiatives;
               (vii)  Developing and implementing a state-wide
  developmentally appropriate kindergarten assessment tool that
  measures a child's level of preparedness for kindergarten, but
  shall not be used as a measurement tool for program accountability;
               (viii)  Creating a unified set of reporting
  requirements for the purpose of collecting the data elements
  necessary to perform quality assessments and longitudinal
               (ix)  Comparing and analyzing data collected pursuant
  to reporting requirements created under subdivision (viii) of this
  subsection with the data collected in state-wide public school
  information systems to enable population-level analysis of
  children and families and the impacts of supported programs;
               (x)  Continually monitoring and evaluating all early
  care and education and child development programs and services,
  focusing on program outcomes in satisfying the health, safety,
  developmental and educational needs of all children, while
  retaining distinct separation between quality improvement services
  and child day care licensing services;
               (xi)  Coordinating home visitation services across
  programs for young children;
               (xii)  Providing information and technical assistance
  to persons seeking early care and education and child development
  programs and services;
               (xiii)  Assisting state agencies and municipalities in
  obtaining federal funding for early care and education and child
  development programs and services, including to maximize federal
  dollars coming into Texas for federally-funded meals, home
  visiting, and other early childhood programs;
               (xiv)  Providing technical assistance to providers of
  early care and education programs and services to obtain licensing
  and improve program quality;
               (xv)  Establishing a quality rating and improvement
  system that covers home-based, center-based and school-based early
  child care and day care;
               (xvi)  Maintaining an accreditation facilitation
  initiative to assist early childhood care and education and day
  care program and service providers in achieving national standards
  and program improvement;
               (xvii)  Managing early childhood care and education and
  day care licensing to the extent such is under state jurisdiction;
               (xviii)  Ensuring a coordinated and comprehensive
  statewide system of professional development for providers and
  staff of early childhood care and education, child development, and
  day care programs and services;
               (xix)  Developing early learning and development
  standards to be used by early childhood care and education and day
  care providers; and
               (xx)  Providing families with opportunities for choice
  in services including quality child care and community-based
  family-centered services;
               (xxi)  Integrating early childhood care and education
  and special education services;
               (xxii)  Promoting universal access to early childhood
  care and education; and
               (xxiii)  Performing any other activities that will
  assist in the provision of early care and education and child
  development programs and services.
         (d)  The Director of Early Childhood shall be responsible for
  implementing the policies and directives of the Office of Early
  Childhood. The director may seek and shall be entitled to receive
  from other state agencies such assistance as may be required to
  perform such director's duties pursuant to this subsection.
               (i)  The Director may appoint such officers, employees,
  agents and consultants as he or she may deem necessary.
               (ii)  To the extent practicable, the Director shall
  appoint the officers, employees, agents and consultants for the
  office of early childhood, from among the existing officers and
  employees of existing agencies and departments currently housing
  early childhood programs, as supervision for those programs is
  moved into the Office of Early Childhood.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2021.