News & Events

Accreditation Assistance Project Now Accepting Applications

The Accreditation Assistance Project assists centers located in targeted areas of St. Petersburg and Clearwater with limited access to accredited child care programs. This exciting project will assist centers through the NAEYC accreditation process. The Accreditation Assistance Project is implemented through the Coalition's Professional Development Department and enhanced by onsite coaching and mentoring. Once accredited, providers will be eligible for:

  • Increased reimbursement rate of up to 20% to support continued program quality
  • Mini grants for materials to enhance and to better equip your center

Accreditation Assistance Project Application
Sample Application Score Sheet

In order to apply, centers must offer School Readiness services and be located in one of the following zip codes: 33705, 33711, 33712, 33755, 33756, 33760, 34689, 33709, 33713, 33714, and 33781.

Application deadline extended to April 18! Don't miss this great opportunity!

If you are interested in applying, please fax your completed application to the attention of Amanda Houston at727-400-4485 no later than April 18, 2014.

If you have any questions about the Accreditation Assistance Project, please contact Amanda Houston at 727-400-4467 or

This program is funded by the Juvenile Welfare Board and the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County.

VPK Provider Certification

VPK Provider Certification is now open for all current and new providers.

Any new providers that wish to offer the VPK program during the 2014-2015 program year are REQUIRED TO ATTEND a mandatory information meeting. We recommend the Director and the person who will be handling the paperwork aspect of the program attend this meeting. Please note it is not necessary for every teacher to attend. To register to attend the VPK meeting, please contact Amanda Urdal at 727-400-4466.

Providers currently offering the VPK program are NOT REQUIRED to attend a VPK information meeting. If necessary, you may be required to come in for a paperwork refresher session. If you wish to continue to offer VPK for the 2014-2015 program year, please visit our website to download the necessary paper. Please contact Kesha Baker at 727-400-4468 or if you have any questions about VPK Certification renewals.

If you are interested in offering VPK this summer, please contact Ana Pizarro to begin the paperwork at 727-400-4489 or

Important Changes to Safety Net Program

The Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) is redesigning the Safety Net program in an effort to provide more oversight and enhance quality. All new Safety Net enrollments were frozen on December 20, 2013. Children enrolled in Safety Net on or before this date will remain in care until the end of their six month referral period or termination date, whichever comes first. The Coalition will not be issuing any new Safety Net provider contracts. Current Safety Net contracts will be terminated when the last child leaves care.

New children identified by partner agencies in need of emergency child care services will be assisted by JWB's Family Services Initiative (FSI). This initiative provides support and wrap around services to meet a family's basic needs. This program is not for direct child care referrals but may be utilized as a resource for additional support services as needed.

Families may elect to transfer to another Safety Net child care provider only if the selected provider's established rate of pay with the Coalition is equal to or less than the already established rate of pay for the family. JWB will not be responsible for any increase in rate of pay and will not provide reimbursement for any payment that exceeds the cost of the initial provider.

Please contact the your Reimbursement Specialist before accepting any Safety Net transfers in order to obtain the negotiated rate for that child.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the Coalition's Family Services Department at 727-400-4411.

For more information about other programs funded by the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, please visit

VPK Wrap Care Changes

Effective January 1, 2014, the Coalition will suspend School Readiness funds for new VPK wrap care placements.

In 2005, the Early Learning Coalition created a local priority to provide School Readiness (SR) scholarships for wrap care to eligible VPK students. Unfortunately, the Coalition must suspend new enrollments for VPK wrap care as funding is not available; specifically these children will no longer bypass the waitlist.

Children currently enrolled in VPK and receiving SR scholarships for wrap care will remain in care. This change in services only effects new enrollments. All new children in need of SR funds for wrap care will be placed on the SR waitlist if they meet all eligibility criteria until funding is available. This change does not affect TANF or protective service children.

If you are a provider with questions, please contact the Coalition's Family Services Provider line at 727-400-4499.
If you are a parent with questions, please contact your Family Services Case Worker directly or call 727-400-4411.

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Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County, Inc.
Phone: (727) 548-1439 • Fax (727) 548-1509