Conceived in 2007, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has focused on creating opportunities for the commonwealth’s youngest children to develop and learn to their fullest potential. This goal is accomplished through a framework of supports and systems that help ensure that children and their families have access to high quality services.
OCDEL is jointly overseen by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education.

Finance, Administration and Planning (FAP)

Staff oversee budget, data and research. OCDEL oversees a budget of approximately $1.4 billion dollars in state and federal resources combined to serve children, families, and programs.


Bureau of Early Intervention Services

Early Intervention (EI) Services assures that all eligible children from birth to five with developmental delays receive services and supports that maximize their development so they are successful in any early education setting. Programs are provided to at-risk infants and toddlers or those with developmental delays, as well as to young children three and older who have disabilities and/or developmental delays. The Bureau oversees the Early Intervention Program for infants, toddlers and children from birth to school age, through their work with local administrators.

Bureau of Early Learning Services

Early Learning Services develops and implements standards for early learning programs and professionals to improve the quality of early learning for our young children; provides financial supports and technical assistance for programs and professionals to improve quality; and provides family support programs that strengthen families, reduce risk and increase early learning opportunities for children. Keystone STARS and the five Regional Key offices, Pre-K Counts, and Head Start Supplemental State Program, as well as the four home visiting models, are supported by this Bureau.


Bureau of Subsidized Child Care Services

Subsidized Child Care Services provides parent counseling on early learning opportunities in their communities and manages Pennsylvania’s Child Care Works program. Through a statewide network of Child Care Information Services (CCIS) agencies, Subsidy Services provides families a central location for information on local child care and early education opportunities. CCIS agencies also enroll eligible families for Child Care Works subsidy for child.

Bureau of Certification Services

The Bureau of Certification Services is responsible for the regulation of all child care centers, group, and family child care homes in Pennsylvania. All certification staff work out of four regional offices, with the exception of headquarters staff who work out of Harrisburg.

• The requirements and process for opening a child care facility.
• The statutes and regulations for operating a child care facility.
• The status and compliance history of specific facilities.
• The complaints regarding child care facilities.

In addition, OCDEL contracts with two primary business partners to support OCDEL programs and services:

Pennsylvania Key

The PA Key works with OCDEL to provide statewide leadership in the development of an integrated and coordinated system of program quality improvements and professional development supports for ECE. The PA Key manages statewide professional development initiatives, coordinates the Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Project, manages Environment Rating Scale assessments, administers the Head Start State Collaboration Office, and PA Pre-K Counts. The PA Key works most closely with the Bureau of Early Learning at OCDEL. The PA Key is administered through the Berks County Intermediate Unit.

Early Intervention Technical Assistance

The EITA system provides state wide training and technical assistance on behalf of OCDEL. The primary recipients of EITA training and technical assistance are the local infant/toddler and preschool early intervention agencies that provide supports and services to children birth to school age with developmental disabilities and their families. EITA is part of the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN). EITA is administered through the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit.