Rep. Woodson’s Child Care Bill Recognized Nationally

November 13, 2020, 12:16 PM HST · Updated November 13, 12:23 PM
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The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund recently hosted an online panel conversation to discuss Integrating Child Care into Housing and Community Facilities.

The panel spotlighted passage of HB2543 HD1 SD2 (Act 46) that was described by participants as “the most progressive early childhood bill to be passed during COVID19.”

Kerrie Urosevich, the Lead for Network Design and Innovation at Hawaiʻi’s Early Childhood Action Strategy was one of the guest speakers during the webinar and said in an email following the event that, “We are deeply grateful for Rep. Woodson’s leadership on this bill.”

Rep. Justin H. Woodson (D-9, Kahului, Pu‘unēnē, Old Sand Hills, Maui Lani), Chair of the House Education Committee, said families with young children desperately need more early learning choices.

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“I am very thankful for the support of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Low Income Investment Fund, and Dr. Kerrie Urosevich for her valuable input on the proposal,” said Rep. Woodson. “It is my hope that Act 46 will help expand high quality early learning opportunities across the state as expeditiously as is humanly possible. The need is great.”

The Oct. 22 discussion included about 189 leaders from across the nation from business, philanthropy, early care and learning, housing and social services sectors.

In this webinar, guest speakers discussed how communities can work with developers and other stakeholders in innovative efforts to co-locate childcare facilities within larger development projects to promote livable neighborhoods.

Urosevich said she was asked to share information about the process of getting the bill passed, the impacts of COVID19 on Hawaiʻi’s early childcare programs, and plans for the bill’s implementation.

“Given the focus of the panel, I shared specifically about the use of public or state-owned facilities for child care [including] libraries, the Imiloa astronomy center, the Convention Center, and Aloha Stadium,” she said in her email.

House Bill 2543 (Act 46) was part of the 2020 joint House-Senate legislative package to address the economic challenges facing Hawaiʻi’s working-class families by increasing wages and tax benefits, investing in child care, and accelerating the building of more affordable housing units.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, advancement of these bills were paused. At the adjournment of the unprecedented 2020 session in July 2020, House Bill 2543 was one of only 76 bills to be enacted into law. House Bill 2543 (Act 46) establishes the goal of providing access to early learning by 2032 to all children who are 3 to 4 years old.

The law also expands the Preschool Open Doors Program to provide grants for establishing new private preschools and expanding existing private preschools and authorizes the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System to establish early learning classrooms at libraries.

Click here to view the full webinar.

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