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Facts about the NJ Council for Young Children

About the NJ Council for Young Children

The council is a governor-designated council that is required by the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007. Federal Funds are provided to enable states to develop and implement a plan to improve the state’s coordination and quality of programs and services for children from birth to “school” entry.

Council tasks

Specifically, the Council is charged with:

  • Conducting a needs assessment of the quality and availability of early childhood education and development programs, particularly for low-income children;
  • Identifying ways to better collaborate and coordinate federally and state-funded programs and agencies;
  • Developing recommendations for increasing participation of children, including outreach to underrepresented and special populations;
  • Developing recommendations regarding the establishment of a unified data collection system;
  • Developing recommendations regarding statewide professional development and career advancement plans;
  • Assessing the capacity and effectiveness of two- and four-year public and private institutions of higher education to address the needs of early childhood educators; and
  • Making recommendations for improvements in state early learning standards and, where appropriate, develop high-quality comprehensive early learning standards.

Coordinating agency

The council will be in but not of the Department.

Membership

In New Jersey the Council is capped at 25 members and includes requisite representation from:

  • the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services;
  • the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education;
  • the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services;
  • the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development;  and
  • the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.

The Council also shall consist of the following public members:

  • a representative of a local educational agency in the State;
  • a representative of an institution of higher education in the State;
  • a representative of a local provider of early childhood education and development services in the State or an organization representing such providers;
  • a representative from Head Start agencies located in the State, including migrant and seasonal Head Start programs and Indian Head Start programs;
  • the President of the New Jersey Head Start Association;
  • the State Director of Head Start Collaboration; and
  • at least six other members who either represent entities or interest groups or constituencies determined by the Governor to be relevant to the Advisory Council’s work

Terms

Terms are up to three years except for the first appointments

The grant application

A three year grant application will be due to the Office of Head Start by August 1, 2010. NJ will receive $1.6 million, with a 70% state contribution. The application will focus on the development and implementation of the council’s plans. The application will include:

  • A strategic plan and the data driving the plan
  • A year by year fiscal planning document
  • Description of goals to increase reach
  • Configuration of oversight
  • The plan for sustaining the work