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Child care center owners: Delaware not fulfilling commitment to kids

October 6, 2017
Jessica Bies
The News Journal

Unless the state invests more in early childhood education, child care providers say they may soon drop out of a program intended to increase access to early childhood education for low-income kids.

That could spell trouble for Delaware Stars for Early Success, which offers training for early child care providers and rates them on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Centers that improve can get reassessed and secure more funding through a tiered reimbursement plan tied to a program that helps working, low-income families pay for preschool.

Or at least that’s how it is supposed to work.

This year, thanks to a $400 million budget shortfall, early child care centers will be stuck at their current reimbursement levels, regardless of how much time, energy and money they’ve put into improving the quality of education they provide.

Kimberly Krzanowski, director of the state’s early learning office, told child care providers in an email last week that during the most recent legislative session, the General Assembly set aside $5 million to support Delaware Stars and $20 million to support tiered reimbursements.

That isn’t enough money to expand the program, Krzanowski said, and as a result, early child care centers will not be allowed to apply for larger reimbursements.