Early Childhood Systems Building Resource Guide

Legislation and rulemaking can be used to codify and sustain programs, policies, organizations, and early learning systems. A key strength of legislation and rulemaking is durability, which is one of the reasons to pursue this option as part of sustainability planning and implementation. At the same time, there are potential downsides to the use of legislation and regulation as methods to achieve sustainability. For example, legislation and regulations may limit the ability to modify program design, policy, organization, and the early learning system in the future.
Depending on your state’s context, legislation or regulation may not be achievable even when the critical stakeholders are in support of changes that would be beneficial. There are many stakeholders who affect both the process and results of passing legislation and finalizing rulemaking. Carefully considered plans for codification may be affected by other interests and plans, and may lead to different results, for better or worse. As you evaluate this strategy’s role in your sustainability plan, it is important to consider the full range of potential positive and negative consequences of a legislative or regulatory approach.
If authorizing legislation or regulation is selected as part of the implementation plan, a thorough approach to drafting is essential. Be certain to determine the most effective strategy for the drafting (for example, breadth versus depth in the legislation and regulations), ensuring that critical issues are not overlooked. Take time to identify the potential consequences from the options selected for a legislative approach.

Examples of Legislation at the Program, Organizational, and Systems Level

At the program level

At the organizational level

The following state early learning agencies were established through legislation to help sustain and grow early learning efforts: 

At the System Level

Legislation has been used for quality systems development and sustainability, as indicated by the following examples: