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Early Childhood Care and Development Responsiveness Local Government Unit Assessment Tool (ERLAT)
The Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council is the primary agency supporting the Philippine government’s ECCD programs which deals with policy making and program development on the national level. Local government units (LGUs), however, are mainly responsible for providing actual ECCD services because of the decentralized nature of this social service in the country. ECCD administration studies often focus on the quality of services by looking at the appropriateness of the intervention, content, and the capacity and level of commitment among service providers leaving a gap in the study of administrative structures and mechanisms themselves.
Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of ECCD services worldwide already faced numerous problems such as the lack of funding, leaving many children unable to access high-quality ECCD services. Authors argue that while scientific, macroeconomic, and rights-based research that support the importance of quality ECCD programs and services are prolific, children in developing countries continue to live in states of poverty, disease, violence, and other risks.1 The implementation of equitable, accessible, and quality ECCD programs and services that could alleviate these conditions, however, is dependent on structures and how these systems are governed. Moreover, governments continue to face challenges in developing and implementing ECCD policies. Some of these problems involve the lack of “political will”, rapid turnover in government administration, decentralization without technical guidance for ECCD, extreme sectorality, inadequate attention to ECCD systems, and policy implementation itself.