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Program Details

Early Childhood Education Program

The Tulare County Office of Education – Early Childhood Education Program (TCOE-ECEP) provides federal and state early education opportunities and child care to families throughout the county. The programs are funded through the California Department of Education, Head Start, Early Head Start, and Migrant Seasonal Head Start and must comply with the regulations that govern these programs: the Head Start Act of 2007, the Head Start Program Performance Standards, California Code of Regulations, Title 22 and Title 5. All families and child care providers participate in the programs without regard to sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability. Information pertaining to families served through the Tulare County Office of Education – Early Childhood Education Program (TCOE-ECEP) is considered confidential and will be used for program administration purposes only.

[Title 5, §18117]

In order to access many of the Tulare County Office of Education – Early Childhood Education Program services, families must be part of the Centralized Eligibility List (CEL). The CEL provides a comprehensive list of families requesting subsidized early education, development and child care services. CEL ranks families according to the enrollment priorities set by State regulations. Families that are enrolled in Head Start, Early Head Start, and Migrant Seasonal Head Start are assigned priority points through the ChildPlus system.

The early education, development and child care programs offered by Tulare County Office of Education – Early Childhood Education Program serve children ages 0 through 12 years. Once a child reaches his/her 13th birthday, services will no longer be provided for the child unless the child has an exceptional need requiring on-going adult supervision documented through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Families enrolled in any of these programs must continually meet their programís need and/or eligibility criteria as outlined in our parent handbook in order to receive services.

Program Descriptions

The Tulare County Office of Education – Early Childhood Education Program administers several different early childhood education and development programs to assist families residing in Tulare County. Through these programs a family can make an informed decision about the options that will provide the most nurturing and educational setting that meets the needs of children and families. These programs are available throughout Tulare County and the services are available at specific sites. The sites must follow preschool standards set by the Office of Head Start and the California Department of Education. These options include the following:

Head Start (HS)

Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to five from low income families by building their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include education, health, nutrition, social and other services determined to be necessary by a familyís need assessment. The Head Start program provides a learning environment that supports childrenís growth in the following:

  • Language and literacy
  • Cognition and general knowledge
  • Physical development and health
  • Social and emotional development
  • Approaches to learning

Additional services for children and families include:

  • Developmentally appropriate learning activities
  • Comprehensive case management for child health
  • Health checks: lead, hemoglobin, vision, hearing and developmental screenings
  • Nutrition assessment and education
  • Tips and techniques for parenting skills and support
  • Services for children with disabilities

Tulare County Office of Education – Early Childhood Education Program's Head Start program serves preschool children and their families through several different service models. We offer a center-based program where children attend for part-day or full-day services. Children may also be served in a home-visiting model, where a staff person visits once a week to provide services to the child and family. Children and families who receive home-based services gather periodically with other enrolled families for a group learning experience facilitated by Head Start staff. To be eligible for Head Start services, a child must be at least three years old by the date used to determine eligibility for public school in our communities. At least 90% of the children who are enrolled in the Head Start program must be from low-income families. The family income must be verified before determining that a child is eligible to participate in our program. Ten percent of the total number of enrollment opportunities during the enrollment must be made available to children with disabilities who meet the definition for children with disabilities. Families are selected for the Head Start program through Selection Criteria Points, with the most eligible families receiving services first.

Early Head Start (EHS)

The Tulare County Office of Education – Early Childhood Education Program's Early Head Start program provides early, continuous, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support to low-income infants and toddlers and their families and pregnant women. Program options for Early Head Start include the following:

  • Center-based services provide early learning, care and enrichment experiences to children in an early care and education setting. Staff members also visit the familyís home at least twice per year.
    • Our program also provides meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services for families, and staff development opportunities to employees.
  • Home-based services are provided through weekly home visits to each enrolled child and family. The home educator provides child-focused visits that promote the parentsí ability to support the childís development. Twice per month, the program offers opportunities for parents and children to come together as a group for learning, discussion and social activity.
  • Services to prenatal families include:
    • Prenatal education, including fetal development and the risks connected to smoking, alcohol and drug use
    • Feeding options for your baby
    • Labor and delivery information
    • Newborn care
    • Emotional wellness screening

Families are selected for the Early Head Start program through Selection Criteria Points, with the most eligible families receiving services first.

Migrant Seasonal Head Start (MSHS)

The Tulare County Office of Education – Early Childhood Education Program's Migrant Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) program is a school readiness early childhood education program for children ages zero to five whose families are low-income and earn the majority of their income from agricultural production and harvesting work. Our program also provides meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services for families, and staff development opportunities to employees. The program is free to families who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Mobile migrant families who engage in agricultural labor and the entire family changed from one geographic location to another in the preceding two-year period.
  • Seasonal farmworker families engaged primarily in agricultural labor that have not changed residence from one geographic location to another in the preceding two-year period for the purpose of work.
  • Families who earn 51% of their income from agricultural work and meet income level or other eligibility requirements.
  • Families and children must live in Tulare County during the time they receive services.

Families are selected for the Migrant Seasonal Head Start program through Selection Criteria Points, with the most eligible families receiving services first.

General Child Care and Development (CCTR)

Early Childhood Education

General Child Care and Development (CCTR) programs are state and federally funded programs that use center and family child care education networks, providing services for children from birth through kindergarten. These programs provide an educational component that is developmentally, culturally and linguistically appropriate for the children served. Meals and snacks are provided to children, as well as providing parent education, referrals to health and social services for families, and professional development opportunities to employees and providers. General Child Care and Development programs are available at sites throughout Tulare County. The sites must meet quality program standards set by the California Department of Education (CDE) and utilize developmentally appropriate curriculum for instruction. Families access the General Child Care and Development program through the Centralized Eligibility List (CEL), with the most eligible families receiving services first. Families remain enrolled as long as they continue to meet the need and eligibility criteria of the program, follow program rules and regulations, and funding is available.

California State Preschool Program (CSPP)

Tulare County Office of Education – Early Childhood Education Program operates and monitors several center-based programs serving eligible three- and four-year-old children through the California State Preschool Program (CSPP). The program provides both part-day and full-day services, including a core class curriculum that is developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate for the children we serve. Our program also provides meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services for families, and staff development opportunities to employees. Families access California State Preschool Program services through the Centralized Eligibility List (CEL) with the most eligible families receiving services first. Families remain enrolled as long as they continue to meet the criteria of the program, follow program rules and regulations, and funding is available. Families enrolled in part-day California State Preschool Programs must meet the eligibility criteria of the program; families enrolled in full-day California State Preschool Programs must meet both the need and eligibility criteria of the program.

Family Child Care Education Network (FCCEN)

Family child care home providers contracted with the Family Child Care Education Network (FCCEN) must be licensed and meet program health and safety requirements. They are also required to meet the same early education and environment standards as center-based preschools. Connections for Quality Care staff provides training and technical assistance to providers on how to create a quality learning environment for children. The providerís family child care home is evaluated annually using the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale.

Families access FCCEN services through the Centralized Eligibility List (CEL) with the most eligible families receiving services first.

In collaboration with Connections for Quality Care staff, providers complete a Desired Results Developmental Profile for each child twice a year using anecdotal notes and ongoing observations they have collected. Results are used to create lesson plans that meet group and/or individual child goals. After each profile is completed, providers meet with parents to discuss their childís needs and to plan how they can work together to meet the goals they set.

Meals and snacks are provided to children. The network also provides parent education, referrals to health and social services for families, and professional development opportunities to employees and providers. In addition, children receive hearing and vision testing, dental screenings and referrals for health and mental health services when necessary.

There are two programs under the Family Child Care Education Network serving children from birth through kindergarten.

  • California State Migrant Program (CMIG)
    • Families must be income eligible, earn 51% or more of their income from agriculture, and meet need requirements.
  • General Child Care and Development (CCTR)
    • Families must be income eligible and meet need requirements.

Alternative Payment (AP) Programs

The Alternative Payment programs provide eligible parents the opportunity to secure quality early education and child care for children from birth through 12 years while pursuing a goal of self-sufficiency. Children with exceptional needs who have an active Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and are receiving intervention services or appropriate special education and related services may qualify for services up to the age of 21. Parents utilize a certificate (voucher) to make financial arrangements with a provider they select who meets their individual child care needs. The provider may be a state preschool, licensed private center, licensed family child care education network provider, licensed family child care provider, license-exempt provider, such as a friend or family member, or sectarian child care center (depending on the funding source), who is eligible to participate in the Connections for Quality Care (C4QC) Alternative Payment subsidized program. License-exempt providers may only care for children from one family other than their own and must obtain a TrustLine clearance, unless they are the grandparent, aunt, or uncle of the child. Reimbursements for services are made directly to the provider and will not begin until all required documentation is received and the provider is approved for participation in the Alternative Payment subsidized program.

Connections for Quality Care administers the contracts for three Alternative Payment programs:

  • California Alternative Pyment Program (CAPP)
    Families access this program through the Centralized Eligibility List (CEL). As California Alternative Payment Program funding becomes available, the most eligible families from the Centralized Eligibility List receive services first. Families may remain on the CAPP program as long as they continue to meet the need and eligibility criteria of the program, follow the program rules and regulations, and funding is available.
  • CalWORKs Stage 2 Child Care (C2AP)
    Families have access to this program if they have previously received public cash assistance (TANF) or a diversion payment through the Department of Public Social Services. Families may be eligible for this program for up to 24 months after discontinuing cash assistance, as long as they continue to meet the need and eligibility criteria of the program, follow the program rules and regulations, and funding is available.
  • CalWORKs Stage 3 Child Care (C3AP)
    This program is available to families who continue to need child care services after their 24 months of eligibility expires in CalWORKs Stage 2 Child Care (C2AP). Families may remain on the CalWORKs Stage 3 Child Care (C3AP) program as long as they continue to meet the need and eligibility criteria of the program, follow the program rules and regulations, and funding is available.




Tulare County Office of Education
Early Childhood Education Program
Julie Berk, Administrator
7000 Doe Avenue, Suite C, Visalia, CA 93291 · · phone: (559) 651-3022 · · fax: (559) 651-3802