Preschool For All: Provider Frequently Asked Questions
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What is the relationship and difference between Multnomah County Preschool for All (PFA) and the Preschool and Early Learning Division (PEL)?
The Preschool & Early Learning Division (PEL) is part of Multnomah County’s Department of County Human Services. PEL is responsible for implementing Preschool for All. Providers and community partners work closely with Preschool & Early Learning Division staff on building and improving Preschool for All. PEL staff support contracted providers in understanding and meeting program requirements.
How will this program focus on racial equity and what support will providers and teachers receive?
Preschool for All is focused on racial equity so that all children will be able to attend high-quality preschools that value their culture, language, and family. This includes letting families choose the preschool that is right for them and supporting Black, Brown, Native American Indigenous, and Providers of Color.
PFA works to meet the needs of home-based preschool providers who often look like the children and families they serve and speak the same languages. All providers are expected to create environments of safety and trust where children and families feel like they belong. Preschool for All providers and teachers will have access to regular training and coaching on racial equity and implicit bias.
PEL works with culturally specific Family Connector Organizations, who connect with families and guide them through the application process.
Preschool for All also bans the suspension and expulsion of preschool children. Black and Brown boys and girls are more likely to be expelled from early childhood programs than their white peers. PFA will offer social-emotional supports to providers and families in PFA settings.
Additional information about how PFA focuses on racial equity can be found in the Preschool for All Plan.
How will Preschool for All work with other preschool programs such as Preschool Promise and Head Start?
Preschool for All is designed to build on federal and state investments in early learning. PFA will not replace Preschool Promise or Head Start. Providers that have Preschool Promise and Head Start slots can also apply for PFA slots. Preschool Promise and Preschool for All funding can not be "stacked" together for the same slot.
When the County says that the program will be universal in 2030, does that mean that there will be an available Preschool for All slot for every preschooler in the county?
Universal means that every family in Multnomah County will have access to a publicly-funded slot, which includes Preschool Promise and Head Start. Preschool for All is a voluntary program and there will always be families who choose to keep their children home before starting kindergarten or who choose to pay for a private preschool.
What supports are there for children with significant individualized needs and delays and disabilities?
The Preschool & Early Learning Division recognizes that the strengths and needs of children, families, and of providers will vary and that no single type of support may work for everyone. PEL plans for multiple layers of support and will work closely with families, providers, and community partners to respond the best way to individual needs including:
- Encouraging families to research preschool programs and determine what is a good fit for their child when applying to Preschool for All
- Working closely with Multnomah Early Childhood Program (MECP) to support children with an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
- Providing coaching and training on best practices, preschool environments, interactions with children, behavior management practices, and racial equity
- Additional support, such as training, modeling, and accommodations ideas from Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants and Early Childhood Special Educators
- Funding for supplies and other needs that promote the successful inclusion of a child
- Referrals to Early Childhood Mental Health Therapists for greater needs
What are the benefits of participating in the Pathways Program?
Pathways providers receive support to help them reach their goals and meet Preschool for All requirements. The Pathways Program includes coaching, business supports, and peer networks. Pathways participants also have access to training, are connected to resources, and receive financial incentives.
Coaching for the Pathways Program is coordinated by Mt. Hood Community College Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) and participants are matched with a CCR&R Preschool for All Instructional Coach
What is the application process for the Pathways Program?
The Pathways Program application is available. Providers complete the application process and a self-assessment. There is no deadline for providers to apply to be part of the Pathways Program. All providers in Multnomah County can be part of the Pathways Program, no matter their licensing status, Oregon Registry Online (ORO) step, or education level.
Will I receive Preschool for All slots if I participate in the Pathways Program?
No. The Pathways Program can help providers get ready for Preschool for All slots. Providers who are interested in slots would apply when the Pilot Site application is open in the fall.
When I complete the Pathways application, will I receive $500 for my Center or for each of my teachers?
Providers will receive $500 per site as an incentive for completing the Pathways Application process and a self-assessment.
Can I participate in the Pathways Program if I am panning to open a program in Multnomah County but I don't have a location yet?
Initially, the focus will be on providers who have programs in Multnomah County or who have already started the process of opening a program in the county. As PFA grows, there may be future opportunities to support nearby providers who want to expand into Multnomah County.
How many hours of coaching will Pathways participants receive?
Coaching experiences and coaching hours are based on a provider's needs and are flexible to help providers and educators be at their best.
What is the difference between the Pathways Program & Pilot Sites?
The Pathways Program helps providers get ready to apply for contracted slots through individualized coaching and supports. Pilot Sites already meet most of the Preschool for All requirements and are ready for contracted slots. Pilot Sites will help Preschool for All plan program details in the early years of implementation.
Find out more about the differences between the Pathways Program and Pilot Sites by watching this video and visiting the Pilot Site page. (Videos are also available in Spanish, Russian, Traditional Chinese/Cantonese, Simplified Chinese, Somali, and Vietnamese on this page).
Which providers are chosen first?
Preschool for All is looking for providers who:
- Provide high-quality, inclusive, culturally responsive preschool experiences to 3- and 4-year-old children
- Are ready to learn and grow
- Currently serve Preschool for All's priority populations
- Are committed to racial equity work and to providing culturally responsive care for Black, Indigenous, and Families of Color
- Will partner with and listen and respond to families, who are their children's first teacher, to ensure that children and families receive needed supports and have a positive experience
Do culturally specific or religious-based preschool organizations qualify?
Preschool for All providers reflect the communities they serve and the program is focused on providing culturally responsive learning options for families.
PFA allows providers to choose a curriculum that best matches their early education philosophy and meets the needs of children in their care. Curriculum must be aligned to the Oregon Early Learning and Kindergarten Guidelines.
Religious organizations can apply to be a part of the program. However, Preschool for All funds can not be used for inherently religious activities such as prayer, worship, or religious instruction. If the provider conducts religious activities, the activities must be offered at different times and locations from the activities funded by Preschool for All. Participation in religious activities must also be voluntary for all students.
My child care business has multiple locations. Can each location participate as Pilot Sites?
Yes! Providers interested in becoming a Pilot Site are able to apply for multiple locations.
How will provider spots increase as the program grows? Is there a timeline?
Preschool for All will work toward preschool access for all Multnomah County 3- and 4-year-olds by 2030. PFA will grow at a pace that allows small providers and providers of color to participate, avoids unintended consequences, and is responsive to feedback and interest from providers and families. PFA will help providers meet quality standards and improve or expand their facilities to support growth of PFA slots.
What/who are the intermediary organizations?
Intermediary organizations will help providers with business needs of their PFA contract. This includes help with the contracting process, invoicing, and small business needs. The intermediary organization will also offer ongoing help meeting contract requirements and will give resources to help address challenges.
Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) is the first PFA intermediary organization that will support home-based providers and small center providers that have Preschool for All contracts.
What types of ongoing supports do Pilot Sites receive?
Pilot Sites are matched with a Preschool Specialist or Preschool Coordinator who is their direct PEL contact and support person. Specialists and Coordinators work with providers in understanding and meeting Preschool for All requirements.
Providers also engage in monthly coaching meetings with a PFA Instructional Coach. Coaching for is coordinated by Mt. Hood Community College Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) and participants are matched with a CCR&R Preschool for All Instructional Coach.
What will it look like for providers that also care for infants and toddlers? Will Preschool for All benefits support younger classrooms as well?
The Preschool & Early Learning Division supports contracted Preschool for All providers to keep their infant and toddler slots through stabilization funding. With this funding, providers will be able to increase the wages and benefits of educators who work with 0-3 year olds not yet eligible for Preschool for All. The allocated amount for each provider will be determined by their total number of infant and toddler slots.
Pilot Sites, which are the first programs with Preschool for All contracted slots, will give feedback and inform future changes to Infant and Toddler Stabilization Funding to ensure that the dollars are helping providers retain their infant and toddler slots.
What happens if there is a valid licensing complaint?
PFA providers must have an active child care license with the State of Oregon Office of Child Care and will follow licensing rules and expectations and the complaint process. A provider's licensing history will be looked at when they apply as a Pilot Site and the provider might be asked to give additional information.
Any serious valid violations over the previous three years will be considered as part of the application and allocation process and could result in an application being screened out of the process.
What about program fees like late pick-ups or field trips?
Preschool for All families should not be charged any out-of-pocket expenses for services, including enrollment, field trips, meals, supplies, and other costs.
Pilot Site Funding & Contracts
What is the contract length of the Pilot Project?
Pilot Sites receive 3-year contracts for Preschool for All slots with an option to extend contracts for two additional years. At the end of the contracted time frame, providers will need to reapply.
What happens if I receive 10 slots, but we do not have 10 children enrolled? What if an enrolled child leaves the program? Is payment affected if there is a gap between the child leaving and that spot getting filled?
The Preschool & Early Learning Division (PEL) is responsible for filling contracted slots and will maintain a waitlist of prioritized families interested in a preschool slot. Preschool for All will pay providers for all of the slots included in their contract, even if they are unfilled or an enrolled child leaves the program.
How will providers be paid? Is there help with start-up?
Providers will be paid monthly based on the number of PFA slots in their contract and based on regular monthly invoices. Providers will also receive funding for start-up costs to purchase needed materials and to prepare for children starting in the fall.
Will PFA help providers get health insurance for staff?
Providers are responsible for meeting the requirements in their PFA contracts, including staff benefits. Intermediary organizations will be a resource to help providers find health insurance that best fits their needs.
How will you match families with providers?
As a part of the application, families have a list of PFA providers to choose from. The list includes important information about programs to help families make the best choices that match their needs. Families will be able to choose six preschools on their applications. Prioritized families will then be matched to one of the preschools that they listed on their application.
Families are encouraged to contact any provider they may be interested in to learn more about their program or to schedule a visit to make sure it is a good fit for them.
What if we have a current families who qualify? Are they automatically enrolled?
Current families can apply for Preschool for All through the application process. When families apply, they will choose from a list of providers that they are interested in and can list their current provider as their top choice. Preschool for All understands the importance of continuity of care for families and cannot guarantee a space for any child.
Why is PFA in charge of matching families with providers?
The Preschool & Early Learning Division (PEL) is responsible for filling slots. PFA's centralized application:
- Makes sure that children and families who have the least access to high-quality early learning receive slots first
- Honors family choice by matching prioritized families based on their preferences and needs
- Reduces the recruitment burden on providers
- Makes applying to multiple programs easier for families
Will providers be able to keep practices like enrolling their own children or their staff members' children first?
Providers will continue their own enrollment processes and priorities for any non-PFA slots. Preschool for All contracted slots will be filled through the PFA application process.