In 2019, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) received a one-year federal Preschool Development Birth through Five (PDG B-5) Grant, designed to help the State develop a plan to better utilize existing federal, state, local, and non-governmental resources to improve delivery of services for children birth through age five and their families, as well as to increase the number of children in high-quality early care and education (ECE) programs.
The grant has funded a statewide, comprehensive needs assessment that gathered input from early childhood stakeholders—including parents, child care providers, and school and community partners—around the state. The Needs Assessment process, implemented throughout the spring of this year, has involved several activities designed to maximize stakeholder input, including 18 town hall meetings across the State; 17 regional focus groups; and surveys.
The Needs Assessment findings have been compiled into two reports. These findings will be used to inform the development of the State’s early childhood strategic plan.
Some of the key findings from the Needs Assessment are:
- Many Marylanders experience limited access to ECE services, especially vulnerable families including families of children with special needs, families of English Learners (ELs), immigrant families, low-income families and families living in rural areas.
- Families struggle to navigate the ECE system and parents often do not know about programs and services available to them.
- Despite efforts to improve the coordination of Maryland’s ECE programs, the system is still fragmented.
- Improving parent awareness of services can help with ECE services access.
- ECE professionals experience access barriers to teacher preparation and professional development programs which leads to a shortage of qualified staff across the state.
- Data driven decision making is made more difficult by gaps in coordinated data systems.
The reports, as well as executive summaries, are available below. Click on each image to access the full report.