Section 409.178, Florida Statutes 2004
409.178 Child Care Executive Partnership Act; findings and intent; grant; limitation; rules.--
(1) This section may be cited as the "Child Care Executive Partnership Act."
(2)(a) The Legislature finds that when private employers provide onsite child care or provide other child care benefits, they benefit by improved recruitment and higher retention rates for employees, lower absenteeism, and improved employee morale. The Legislature also finds that there are many ways in which private employers can provide child care assistance to employees: information and referral, vouchering, employer contribution to child care programs, and onsite care. Private employers can offer child care as part of a menu of employee benefits. The Legislature recognizes that flexible compensation programs providing a child care option are beneficial to the private employer through increased productivity, to the private employee in knowing that his or her children are being cared for in a safe and nurturing environment, and to the state in more dollars being available for purchasing power and investment.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to promote public/private partnerships to ensure that the children of the state be provided safe and enriching child care at any time, but especially while parents work to remain self-sufficient. It is the intent of the Legislature that private employers be encouraged to participate in the future of this state by providing employee child care benefits. Further, it is the intent of the Legislature to encourage private employers to explore innovative ways to assist employees to obtain quality child care.
(c) The Legislature further recognizes that many parents need assistance in paying the full costs of quality child care. The public and private sectors, by working in partnership, can promote and improve access to quality child care and early education for children of working families who need it. Therefore, a more formal mechanism is necessary to stimulate the establishment of public-private partnerships. It is the intent of the Legislature to expand the availability of scholarship options for working families by providing incentives for employers to contribute to meeting the needs of their employees' families through matching public dollars available for child care.
(3) There is created a body politic and corporate known as the Child Care Executive Partnership which shall establish and govern the Child Care Executive Partnership Program. The purpose of the Child Care Executive Partnership Program is to utilize state and federal funds as incentives for matching local funds derived from local governments, employers, charitable foundations, and other sources, so that Florida communities may create local flexible partnerships with employers. The Child Care Executive Partnership Program funds shall be used at the discretion of local communities to meet the needs of working parents. A child care purchasing pool shall be developed with the state, federal, and local funds to provide subsidies to low-income working parents who are eligible for subsidized child care with a dollar-for-dollar match from employers, local government, and other matching contributions. The funds used from the child care purchasing pool must be used to supplement or extend the use of existing public or private funds.
(4) The Child Care Executive Partnership, staffed by the department, shall consist of a representative of the Executive Office of the Governor and nine members of the corporate or child care community, appointed by the Governor.
(a) Members shall serve for a period of 4 years, except that the representative of the Executive Office of the Governor shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
(b) The Child Care Executive Partnership shall be chaired by a member chosen by a majority vote and shall meet at least quarterly and at other times upon the call of the chair.
(c) Members shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses in accordance with s. 112.061.
(d) The Child Care Executive Partnership shall have all the powers and authority, not explicitly prohibited by statute, necessary to carry out and effectuate the purposes of this section, as well as the functions, duties, and responsibilities of the partnership, including, but not limited to, the following:
1. Assisting in the formulation and coordination of the state's child care policy.
2. Adopting an official seal.
3. Soliciting, accepting, receiving, investing, and expending funds from public or private sources.
4. Contracting with public or private entities as necessary.
5. Approving an annual budget.
6. Carrying forward any unexpended state appropriations into succeeding fiscal years.
7. Providing a report to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President of the Senate, on or before December 1 of each year.
(5)(a) The Legislature shall annually determine the amount of state or federal low-income child care moneys which shall be used to create Child Care Executive Partnership Program child care purchasing pools in counties chosen by the Child Care Executive Partnership, provided that at least two of the counties have populations of no more than 300,000. The Legislature shall annually review the effectiveness of the child care purchasing pool program and reevaluate the percentage of additional state or federal funds, if any, that can be used for the program's expansion.
(b) To ensure a seamless service delivery and ease of access for families, the community coordinated child care agencies or the state resource and referral agency shall administer the child care purchasing pool funds.
(c) The department, in conjunction with the Child Care Executive Partnership, shall develop procedures for disbursement of funds through the child care purchasing pools. In order to be considered for funding, the community coordinated child care agency or the statewide resource and referral agency must commit to:
1. Matching the state purchasing pool funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis; and
2. Expending only those public funds which are matched by employers, local government, and other matching contributors who contribute to the purchasing pool. Parents shall also pay a fee, which shall be not less than the amount identified in the department's subsidized child care sliding fee scale.
(d) Each community coordinated child care agency shall be required to establish a community child care task force for each child care purchasing pool. The task force must be composed of employers, parents, private child care providers, and one representative from the local children's services council, if one exists in the area of the purchasing pool. The community coordinated child care agency is expected to recruit the task force members from existing child care councils, commissions, or task forces already operating in the area of a purchasing pool. A majority of the task force shall consist of employers. Each task force shall develop a plan for the use of child care purchasing pool funds. The plan must show how many children will be served by the purchasing pool, how many will be new to receiving child care services, and how the community coordinated child care agency intends to attract new employers and their employees to the program.
(6) The Department of Children and Family Services shall adopt any rules necessary for the implementation and administration of this section.
History.--ss. 4, 5, ch. 88-337; s. 43, ch. 90-306; s. 85, ch. 96-175; s. 195, ch. 97-101; s. 3, ch. 98-165; s. 20, ch. 2000-253; s. 12, ch. 2001-89.