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Press Releases - County Council

Council Vice President Albornoz and Councilmembers Navarro and Rice to Introduce Legislation to Establish an Early Care and Education Coordinating Entity

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 9, 2021

New bill would establish an independent organization focused on access, equity and inclusion in early care and education programs while helping the sector recover from challenges caused by the pandemic

Rockville, Md., Nov. 9, 2021— Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice will introduce Bill 42-21 today, which would require the Council to designate a nonprofit corporation to serve as the County’s Early Care and Education Coordinating Entity as well as establish its guidelines and duties. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors.

High quality and affordable early child care and education (ECE) is an essential service for the well-being and future of children and their families. It is also critical to employers. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to such care has become increasingly difficult. Accessible, high quality and sustainable ECE programs allow more parents to participate in the workforce, provide a solid educational foundation for our children, help employers attract and retain talented individuals, and ensure a talented future workforce to help spur the local economy. Furthermore, a strong ECE system would support the well-being of some of the County’s most vulnerable populations by helping eliminate structural barriers rooted in systemic racism.

“COVID-19 recovery requires we look to the future and invest in real and lasting systematic change,” said Council Vice President Albornoz, who is chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. “With voting authority and responsibility, bringing employers, philanthropy, government entities, childcare providers and parents together is critical to ensure that community priorities are reflected in Bill 42-21. This comprehensive bill was driven by years of community engagement led by Montgomery Moving Forward and Councilmember Navarro’s long-time vision to grant equitable access to early childcare and education for all. This win-win strategic approach will create seeds of change not only within families, but for our economic and social sectors which have been rattled by this global pandemic.”

“I am thrilled that we have reached this incredible milestone in the County’s efforts to expand access to quality early care and education for our working families,” said Councilmember Navarro, who is chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and a member of the Education and Culture Committee. “This has been a priority of mine since before the pandemic further exacerbated existing gaps in service. I worked on this issue in 2011 as a member of President Obama’s White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Ever since then, I had wanted to create the initiative, get substantial funding and eventually arrive at a public/private entity that can take advantage of philanthropy, engage the private sector and usher innovation.

“When I was Council President in 2019, I spearheaded the County’s Early Care and Education Initiative and made sure that funding remained protected even during this period of fiscal uncertainty. The facts are clear, when children have access to quality early care and education, then they are more likely to enjoy academic success which in turn translates to career success later in life. Investing in the education of our children now will lead to a future where more families are able to lift themselves up the socio-economic ladder and stimulate our local and regional economy. Quality early care and education is an economic imperative, it is also the right and equitable thing to do.”

“The pandemic has highlighted that local government alone cannot address our early care and education challenges and inequities our residents face. Instead, it must be a partnership that convenes public and private stakeholders to ensure that innovative practices will be guided by all voices,” said Councilmember Rice, who is chair of the Education and Culture Committee and a member of the Health and Human Services Committee. “I greatly appreciate the research and convenings that Montgomery Moving Forward has conducted to assist in recommending a path for our county. As the Chair of the Human Services and Education Committee for the National Association of Counties, I know that state officials are looking at our Early Care and Education coordinating entity as a model for their future efforts.

“I am proud that my colleagues came together to sponsor legislation that will support not just our current workforce, our employers, and their families but will create a system that will focus on all aspects of early care and education for our children. As our future workforce, our children are the most valuable resource to ensure our economy is strong for years to come. It is on us to ensure we provide the educational foundation they will need to thrive.”

The Early Care and Education Coordinating Entity created through this legislation would serve as a public-private convenor to help build a more unified system and convene all stakeholders, including health providers, social service agencies and other support organizations, employers, and childcare providers. Its aim would be to help facilitate a sustainable economic recovery for the County and future growth by helping to identify needs and coordinate resources across the entire ECE system.

The chosen entity would be a Maryland nonprofit, non-stock corporation exempt from federal income tax and headquartered in the County. Its Board would have 13 ex-officio government officials and 12 private sector members appointed by the Executive and confirmed by the Council.

A public hearing for Bill 42-21 is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 30, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. View the Council staff report on the bill.

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Media Contacts:

Lillian Cruz, Deputy Chief of Staff, Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz
240-777-7801, Lillian.Cruz@montgomerycountymd.gov

Roland Ikheloa, Chief of Staff, Councilmember Nancy Navarro
240-777-7824, Roland.Ikheloa@montgomerycountymd.gov

Sharon Ledner, Chief of Staff, Councilmember Craig Rice
240-777-7951, Sharon.Ledner@montgomerycountymd.gov

Release ID: 21-452
Media Contact: Lillian Cruz, 240-777-7801 , Roland Ikheloa 240-777-7824
Categories: Craig Rice, Gabe Albornoz, Nancy Navarro