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Outdoor Nature-Based Preschool Programs

Concerning including outdoor nature-based preschool programs as a type of child care center in the department of early childhood for licensing-related matters, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2024 Regular Session
Education & School Finance (Pre & K-12)
Human Services
Bill Summary

The act includes outdoor nature-based preschool programs (outdoor programs) as a type of licensed child care center (center) in the department of early childhood (department) for licensing-related matters. No later than December 31, 2025, the executive director of the department shall promulgate rules for centers operating as outdoor programs. The rules must include, but are not limited to:

  • Land-use agreement requirements for outdoor programs operating on public or private land;
  • Policies for site-specific alternative shelter plans;
  • Policies for site-specific risk mitigation plans;
  • Policies for site-specific emergency and disaster preparedness plans;
  • Policies for site-specific evacuation plans; and
  • Policies and procedures for outdoor programs to opt out of certain department requirements through the site-specific risk mitigation plan.

The act requires the department to provide training to licensing staff who oversee outdoor program site inspections and, beginning December 1, 2026, to outdoor program operators and staff.

The department shall collaborate with local fire departments on fire prevention and protection requirements for outdoor programs and with the department of public health and environment on sanitary standards for outdoor programs.

The act requires the general assembly to appropriate $30,000 from the child care licensing cash fund to the department for the 2024-25, 2025-26, and 2026-27 fiscal years to implement the outdoor programs.

The act appropriates $179,569 to the department for purposes of licensing outdoor programs. The appropriation consists of $149,569 from the general fund and $30,000 from the cash fund.

The act appropriates $35,341 to the department of public health and environmentfor environmental health programs related to outdoor program licensure.

APPROVED by Governor June 6, 2024

EFFECTIVE August 7, 2024
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details