In January 2018, Maryland’s highly influential Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education highlighted the need for the state to ensure that “all early childhood education programs, irrespective of whether they are provided by public agencies or private providers, are of high quality.” Maryland has made significant progress toward this goal. Through the use of federal grants like Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) and the former Preschool Development Grants (PDG) program, along with federal funding increases, the state has created a more coordinated, efficient, and impactful mixed-delivery system of high-quality early care and education (ECE) programs and services. Maryland has a consolidated governance structure within MSDE, which administers and coordinates a majority of the state’s ECE programs, houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, and oversees the state and regional early childhood advisory councils. The state has taken bold actions to double child care subsidy income eligibility levels and increase provider reimbursement rates to expand parent choice and child access to early learning; implemented stricter licensing standards to ensure greater child health and safety; created one of the country’s strongest quality measurement and improvement systems to promote excellence and share best practices; and coordinated early childhood family engagement supports and services through a nationally recognized family engagement framework.

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