Established in Act 104, The State Early Childhood Advisory Council is comprised of 23 appointed members and charged with the support of 12 regional councils: Six members of the State Early Childhood Advisory Council are state agency heads leading the Agency of Human Services, Commerce and Community Development, and Education; and Departments of Health, Mental Health, and Children and Families. Other members include 2 Senators, 2 House Representatives, the Head Start Collaboration Director, business representatives and a variety of community and early childhood representatives.
The work by J. Shonkoff. M.D. from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child on the healthy development of children has served as the foundation for the Vision, Mission and Commitments that BBF has established to guide and evaluate its work. The structure designed to carry out the work was formally established in Act 104 with defined responsibilities. They include being charged with improving the quality of services for families and young children by establishing a system for planning, coordinating, integrating and developing evidence-informed early childhood interventions, forward-thinking policies, public information and resources at the state and regional levels.
Established in Act 104, the specific legislative charges to the State Early Childhood Advisory Council include:
- to advise the Governor, administration, and general assembly on the status and needs of the early care, health, and education system; monitor overall system performance by regularly tracking and reporting system data on the well-being of young children and the performance of the system of care related to the council’s commitments to children and selected indicators;
- develop a system action plan to serve as the basis for state policy and funding recommendations; work with Secretaries/Commissioners to ensure coordination of existing budgets and policies;
- disburse funds raised in accordance with priorities defined in system plans
- report to the Governor and legislative committees during the first month of each biennium on council’s finding and recommendations, progress toward outcomes
- coordinate and integrate the development of an early childhood budget that reflects alignment of funding with priorities identified in the early childhood system plan;
- contract with state agencies and departments to deliver services as agreed upon; and
- pursue and accept funding from diverse sources outside of state government to sustain, expand, and enhance the early care, health and education system….
The BBF State Council serves as the umbrella organization to 12 regional councils of indigenous leaders who work “on the ground” within their respective communities; reaching, linking, engaging all young children and their families and providing important linkages to those in need of evidence-informed community supports, both formal and informal.