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124D.13 Early childhood family education (ECFE) programs.

Subdivision 1. Establishment. A district that provides a community education program under sections 124D.18 and 124D.19 may establish an early childhood family education program. Two or more districts, each of which provides a community education program, may cooperate to jointly provide an early childhood family education program.

Subd. 2. Program characteristics. Early childhood family education programs are programs for children in the period of life from birth to kindergarten, for the parents of such children, and for expectant parents. To the extent that funds are insufficient to provide programs for all children, early childhood family education programs should emphasize programming for a child from birth to age three and encourage parents to involve four- and five-year-old children in school readiness programs, and other public and nonpublic early learning programs. Early childhood family education programs may include the following:

(1) programs to educate parents about the physical, mental, and emotional development of children;

(2) programs to enhance the skills of parents in providing for their children's learning and development;

(3) learning experiences for children and parents that promote children's development;

(4) activities designed to detect children's physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral problems that may cause learning problems;

(5) activities and materials designed to encourage self-esteem, skills, and behavior that prevent sexual and other interpersonal violence;

(6) educational materials which may be borrowed for home use;

(7) information on related community resources;

(8) programs to prevent child abuse and neglect;

(9) other programs or activities to improve the health, development, and school readiness of children; or

(10) activities designed to maximize development during infancy.

The programs must not include activities for children that do not require substantial involvement of the children's parents. The programs must be reviewed periodically to assure the instruction and materials are not racially, culturally, or sexually biased. The programs must encourage parents to be aware of practices that may affect equitable development of children.

Subd. 3. Substantial parental involvement. The requirement of substantial parental involvement in subdivision 2 means that:

(a) parents must be physically present much of the time in classes with their children or be in concurrent classes;

(b) parenting education or family education must be an integral part of every early childhood family education program;

(c) early childhood family education appropriations must not be used for traditional day care or nursery school, or similar programs; and

(d) the form of parent involvement common to kindergarten, elementary school, or early childhood special education programs such as parent conferences, newsletters, and notes to parents do not qualify a program under subdivision 2.

Subd. 4. Home visiting program. A district that levies for home visiting under section 124D.135, subdivision 6, shall use this revenue to include as part of the early childhood family education programs a parent education component that is designed to reach isolated or at-risk families.

The home visiting program must use:

(1) an established risk assessment tool to determine the family's level of risk;

(2) establish clear objectives and protocols for home visits;

(3) encourage families to make a transition from home visits to site-based parenting programs;

(4) provide program services that are community-based, accessible, and culturally relevant; and

(5) foster collaboration among existing agencies and community-based organizations that serve young children and their families.

Home visitors should reflect the demographic composition of the community to the extent possible.

Subd. 5. Separate accounts. The district must maintain a separate account within the community education fund for money for early childhood family education programs.

Subd. 6. Participants' fees. A district must establish a reasonable sliding fee scale but it shall waive the fee for a participant unable to pay.

Subd. 7. Additional funding. A district may receive funds from any governmental agency or private source.

Subd. 8. Coordination. (a) A district must describe strategies to coordinate and maximize public and private community resources and reduce duplication of services.

(b) A district is encouraged to coordinate adult basic education programs provided to parents and early childhood family education programs provided to children to accomplish the goals of section 124D.895.

Subd. 9. District advisory councils. The board must appoint an advisory council from the area in which the program is provided. A majority of the council must be parents participating in the program. The council must assist the board in developing, planning, and monitoring the early childhood family education program. The council must report to the board and the community education advisory council.

Subd. 10. Alternative council. A board may direct the community education council, required according to section 124D.19, subdivision 2, to perform the functions of the Advisory Council for Early Childhood Family Education.

Subd. 11. Teachers. A school board must employ necessary qualified teachers for its early childhood family education programs.

Subd. 12. Assistance. The department must provide assistance to districts with programs described in this section. The department must establish guidelines that list barriers to learning and development affecting children served by early childhood family education programs.

HIST: 1984 c 463 art 4 s 1; 1Sp1985 c 12 art 4 s 2; 1989 c 329 art 4 s 3; 1990 c 562 art 4 s 1; 1991 c 130 s 37; 1991 c 265 art 4 s 3-5; 1992 c 571 art 10 s 1,2; 1993 c 224 art 4 s 11; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 16 s 13; 1997 c 162 art 1 s 5; 1998 c 397 art 3 s 43-50,103; art 11 s 3; 1999 c 205 art 1 s 41,70; 1Sp2003 c 9 art 7 s 3-5

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Revisor of Statutes