One Year in the Life of the Early Head Start — Child Care Partnerships Program

a caregiver helps a toddler stand

For most parents, celebrating the first birthday of your child is a big milestone. The first year is typically a blur of sleepless nights, lots of anxiety and worry about whether you are doing the right thing. It’s a period of rapid growth and development for the baby and the parent. On August 20, 2015, we celebrate the one-year birthday for the Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships and Expansion. That was the day that the applications were due and now we have 275 grantees all over the country implementing the program. This idea was just a twinkle in the eyes of the Administration back in January 2013 when it initially proposed and we knew the baby was coming when Congress appropriated $500 million for this partnership. We have certainly come a long way!

The EHS-CC Partnerships had the benefit and support from many partners over the past year. Foundations like the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Alliance for Early Success, Irving Harris Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation worked with The BUILD Initiative the Alliance for Early Success, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, and ZERO TO THREE to help states and communities. Now as we implement the program, we have new partners, including the State Child Care Administrators, the Head Start Collaboration Directors, and the grantees and their child care and family child care partners.

Let’s look at some of the milestones from the last year.

  • Nearly 600 applications were submitted last August 2014.
  • In December 2014, Secretary Burwell announced 275 EHS-CC Partnership and Expansion awards, which included 28,000 Partnership and 4,000 Expansion slots, at the White House Summit on Early Childhood.
  • Grants were awarded in all 50 states, including 14 tribal and 7 migrant and seasonal programs.
  • Orientation Sessions for grantees and their partners included a Virtual Pre-Orientation Expo and six Regional three-day, in-person Orientations. Almost 2000 participants attended sessions from April through May 2015.
  • Grantees and partners started serving children and families in January 2015 and a quarter of the grantees have already filled at least 50% of their funded slots. Enrollment increases each month.
  • An Information Memorandum was issued on August 6, 2015 to provide program and policy guidance for grantees and partners.
  • Baseline visits to the sites started in July and will continue through September 2015.
  • Plans are in place for a national study.
  • Intensive support and technical assistance is being provided.

It’s been five months since the grants were all rolled out and thousands of children are now being served. We are well on our way to full enrollment! Ultimately, tens of thousands of infants and toddlers and their families will benefit from high quality learning environments. As with all new parents, we are still learning and there are still many things we are trying to work out. This is a new and exciting partnership for all of us at the national, state and local levels. We certainly have a lot to celebrate!

Linda K. Smith is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This blog was originally posted to the ACF family room blog.

One Year in the Life of the Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships Program. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2015. English.

Last Reviewed: August 2015

Last Updated: August 25, 2015