Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 2867 (is) To provide for the funding and administration of a Veterans Mission for Youth Initiative within the Troops-to-Teachers Program. [Introduced in Senate] ...

S. 2867 (is) To provide for the funding and administration of a Veterans Mission for Youth Initiative within the Troops-to-Teachers Program. [Introduced in Senate] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2866

    To provide for early learning programs, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             July 13, 2000

  Mr. Stevens (for himself, Mr. Jeffords, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Dodd, Mr. 
   Domenici, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Bond, Mr. Voinovich, Mr. Lautenberg, Mr. 
Cochran, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Smith of Oregon, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. L. Chafee, 
Mr. Durbin, Mr. Murkowski, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Robb, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. 
  Wellstone, Mrs. Feinstein, Ms. Mikulski, Ms. Snowe, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. 
 Kerrey, and Mr. Warner) introduced the following bill; which was read 
 twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and 
                                Pensions

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
    To provide for early learning programs, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; FINDINGS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act 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 2 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, the Child Care and 
        Development Block Grant of 1990, and part C of the Individuals 
        with Disabilities Education Act, 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.

SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this Act 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.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (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 4 of the Indian Self-
        Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b).
            (6) Local council.--The term ``Local Council'' means a 
        Local Council established or designated under section 14(a) 
        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 673(2) 
        of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902(2))) 
        applicable to a family of the size involved.
            (10) Regional corporation.--The term ``Regional 
        Corporation'' has the meaning given the term in section 3 of 
        the Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1602).
            (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.

SEC. 4. 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 Act.
    (b) Rights of Parents.--Nothing in this Act 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 Act shall be required to provide services under this Act 
through a particular instructional method or in a particular 
instructional setting to comply with this Act.

SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION AND APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Health 
and Human Services to carry out this Act--
            (1) $750,000,000 for fiscal year 2001;
            (2) $1,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2002; and
            (3) $1,500,000,000 for fiscal year 2003.

SEC. 6. 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 Act 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 Act or such provision shall not be restricted to children enrolled 
or otherwise participating in the program carried out under this Act or 
such provision, during a period in which the activity is predominately 
funded under this Act or such provision.

SEC. 7. PROGRAM AUTHORIZED.

    (a) Grants.--From amounts appropriated under section 5 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 
        subsection (a) 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 subsection (a) 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 Act 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)) 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 Act shall 
be used to supplement and not supplant other Federal, State, and local 
public funds expended to promote early learning.

SEC. 8. USES OF FUNDS.

    (a) In General.--Subject to section 10, grant funds under this Act 
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 10, Lead State Agencies and 
Local Councils shall ensure that funds made available under this Act to 
the agencies and Local Councils are used for 3 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 

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