Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)
Since its inception in 2007, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has focused on creating opportunities for the commonwealth’s youngest children to develop and learn to their fullest potential. This goal is accomplished through a framework of supports and systems that help ensure that children and their families have access to high-quality services.
OCDEL works with many partners to create opportunities for the commonwealth’s children. Parents, schools, child care, early intervention, Head Start, libraries, community organizations, and other stakeholders have joined with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning to provide high-quality early childhood programs and effective prevention strategies to mitigate challenges faced by families that affect school readiness and academic success.
OCDEL strives to build a strong foundation for children, starting in infancy, through the establishment of a statewide standard for excellence in early care and education and the creation of financial and technical supports to achieve that goal. The success of the commonwealth’s efforts today will be seen in the development of Pennsylvania citizens who are strong, independent, and well prepared for the future.
OCDEL is jointly overseen by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education. The offices are located in the Department of Education at 333 Market Street in Harrisburg.
Bureau of Early Intervention Services
Early Intervention (EI) Services assures that all eligible children from birth to five with developmental delays receive services and supports that maximize their development so they are successful in any early education setting. Programs are provided to at-risk infants and toddlers or those with developmental delays, as well as to young children three and older who have disabilities and/or developmental delays. The Bureau oversees the Early Intervention Program for infants, toddlers, and children from birth to school age, through their work with local administrators.
Bureau of Early Learning Services
Early Learning Services develops and implements standards for early learning programs and professionals to improve the quality of early learning for our young children; provides financial supports and technical assistance for programs and professionals to improve quality; and provides family support programs that strengthen families, reduce risk and increase early learning opportunities for children.
Bureau of Subsidized Child Care Services
Subsidized Child Care Services provides parent counseling on early learning opportunities in their communities and manages Pennsylvania's Child Care Works program. Through a statewide network of Child Care Information Services (CCIS) agencies, Subsidy Services provides families a central location for information on local child care and early education opportunities. CCIS agencies also enroll eligible families for Child Care Works subsidy for child.
Children's Trust Fund
The Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund (PA CTF) is dedicated to funding innovative and creative community-based child abuse and neglect prevention programs. Specific emphasis for funding is placed on primary prevention programs that focus on the prevention of abuse before it occurs for the first time. PA CTF was established pursuant to Act 151 of 1988, the Children’s Trust Fund Act.
PA CTF is led by a 15-member Board of Directors and administered by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). The PA CTF Board consists of three members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, three members of the Pennsylvania Senate, and nine citizens appointed by the Governor. The Deputy Secretary for OCDEL under the Departments of Human Services and Education serves as the Executive Director to the Board.
The Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund is funded through revenue generated from a $10 surcharge on all marriage and divorce applications filed in the Commonwealth. Additionally, gifts, donations, interest, and sometimes federal funds contribute to our revenue.
PA CTF recently established the nonprofit supporting organization, Friends of the Children’s Trust Fund (Friends). The purpose of this organization is to raise additional funds through philanthropy and promote awareness of CTF, while publicizing the program and its mission. The main objective of Friends will be to increase CTF revenues and identify and secure new areas of funding.
Since its inception in 1988 through 2012, Pennsylvania has continued its commitment to keeping children safe by awarding over $33 million in Children’s Trust Fund grants to 262 organizations across the state.
Bureau of Certification Services
The Bureau of Certification Services is responsible for the regulation of all child care centers, group daycare homes, and family day care homes in Pennsylvania. All certification staff works out of three regional offices, with the exception of three headquarters staff who work out of Harrisburg.
The Certification Bureau receives inquiries regarding a variety of topics, including:
• The requirements and process for opening a child care facility.
• The statutes and regulations for operating a child care facility.
• The status and compliance history of specific facilities.
• The complaints regarding child care facilities.
Pennsylvania Department Human Services; pa.gov