New CLASP Paper Looks at State Child Care Policies for Limited English Proficient Families

Nov 02, 2012

By Emily Firgens

CLASP's new paper, State Child Care Policies for Limited English Proficient Families, summarizes state-reported activities to better serve and engage with Limited English Proficient (LEP) families and providers through state child care assistance programs. Every two years the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the largest source of federal funding for child care assistance available to states, requires each state to submit a plan describing how it will use CCDBG funds to improve the quality of child care for all children and help low-income families access child care. The CCDBG State Plans, last revised for FFY 2012-2013, serve as the source of new information on how states' activities and policies target LEP and immigrant families, children, and providers.

CLASP's paper finds that some of the most commonly reported activities used to reach out to LEP families and providers include:

  • offering bilingual caseworkers or translators for parents and providers;
  • providing informational materials about child care assistance in non-English languages;
  • offering child care assistance applications in languages besides English; and
  • covering English language development in state early learning guidelines for English language Learners (ELLs).

Eleven states-Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin-responded as having 10 or more of the policies or activities that the CCDBG State Plans outlined as relating to child care assistance and ELLs and their families. Each of these policies takes a step toward helping states and communities work with providers who speak non-English languages and serve children from families that are limited English proficient.

CLASP provides recommendations on how states can better support LEP families and providers through state child care policies. These recommendations include:

  • implementing a language access plan to ensure effective communication with LEP families;
  • providing funding for bilingual staff and translation and interpretation services;
  • ensuring that basic training is available in multiple languages through community-based providers; and
  • revising early learning guidelines to stress the importance of both first and second language acquisition for ELLs.

For the complete list of recommendations and more information on state child care assistance program activities to support LEP families and providers, read State Child Care Policies for Limited English Proficient Families.

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