Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Early Childhood Education (PA-ECE) 3: Enrollment

The agency responds to requests for care promptly and responsively.
2020 Edition




Early Childhood Education facilitates appropriate child development and ensures the health and safety of children in care.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Enrollment procedures
  • Child file access policy
  • Child file access procedures
  • Parent handbook and other informational materials provided upon enrollment
  • List of community-based providers and/or resource and referral networks
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Parents
  • Review child files
  • Observe how files are stored

PA-ECE 3.01

Prior to enrollment, parents are offered a tour of the facility and receive information regarding:
  1. the agency's approach to education, child development, and behavior management;
  2. policies and procedures;
  3. classroom rules and expectations;
  4. opportunities and expectations for parental participation;
  5. applicable child protection reporting mandates;
  6. established mechanisms for parents to report safety concerns or suspected child abuse and neglect; and
  7. whether or not there is space currently available.

PA-ECE 3.02

Prompt, responsive enrollment practices:
  1. support timely initiation of care; and
  2. provide placement on a waiting list, if desired, or referral to the local child care resource and referral network or a similar resource when families cannot be served or cannot be served promptly.

Fundamental Practice

PA-ECE 3.03

The agency maintains a file for each child that is:
  1. specific, factual, and legible;
  2. updated at least annually;
  3. signed and dated by parents/guardians and authorized personnel, where appropriate; and
  4. maintained and disposed of in a manner that protects privacy and confidentiality.
Examples: Files and signatures can be paper, electronic, or a combination of paper and electronic.

Fundamental Practice

PA-ECE 3.04

Files contain information necessary to provide care, including:
  1. identifying information, including name and date of birth;
  2. address;
  3. emergency contact information;
  4. written parental authorization for emergency care including names of the hospital to be used;
  5. authorizations for pick-up;
  6. verification of up-to-date preventative screenings and immunizations as required by applicable law or regulation;
  7. relevant health information and needs, including physician name, allergy information, and medication permission forms;
  8. information and consent/authorization forms related to special needs, if applicable; and
  9. additional forms or documentation, as needed.
Examples: Additional forms or documentation can include accident report forms, payment receipts, permission or consent forms, attendance sheets, and evidence of ongoing communication with family members.

Fundamental Practice

PA-ECE 3.05

Access to confidential child files is limited to:
  1. the child’s parents or legal guardians or designated legal representatives;
  2. personnel authorized to access specific information on a “need-to-know” basis; and
  3. auditors, contractors, and licensing or accrediting personnel, consistent with the agency's confidentiality policy.