Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) System

The Administration for Children and Families' (ACF) Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care are collaborating to more effectively provide training and technical assistance (T/TA) across early care and education (ECE) programs. This joint T/TA system supports ECE programs and educators in delivering quality services to children and their families across the country. In 2015, six National Centers were launched to promote excellence through high-quality, practical resources and approaches that build ECE program capacity. The Centers also support consistent practices across communities, states, tribes, and territories.

Currently, the Office of Head Start (OHS) offers T/TA program staff support in their delivery of quality services to low-income children and families. OHS T/TA consists of three components: direct funding to grantees; state T/TA network, including Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start; and the National Centers.

Learn more about OHS's approach to T/TA:

Vision for Head Start Grantees

A coordinated system that works together seamlessly to ensure that Head Start and Early Head Start programs have access to high-quality information, resources, and materials.


To support all Head Start and Early Head Start programs in bringing best practices into agency systems and services to promote continuous program improvement.


Every Head Start and Early Head Start program deserves access to the same level of high-quality T/TA to produce the best possible outcomes for children and families.

Guiding Principles

  • Capacity-building and sustainable support and practices, both internally and externally
  • Comprehensive approaches
  • Culturally and linguistically responsive practices
  • Easily and logically accessible and usable materials
  • Evidence-based materials and approaches
  • Incorporating and promoting best practices
  • Promoting school readiness
  • Respectful and professional processes and service delivery
  • Timely and relevant guidance, support, activities, and materials

Components of the OHS T/TA System

OHS expects all three strands of its T/TA system to work together seamlessly to raise quality and improve outcomes for all our children and families. The three components are:

Direct Funding to Grantees

Head Start grantees form the most critical component of Head Start's national T/TA system. At least 50 percent of all T/TA dollars are provided directly to grantees.

Regional T/TA System

The goal of the regional T/TA system is to create a seamless, easily accessible team of professional development providers at the regional, tribal, and local levels, who can work with Head Start programs directly to improve the quality of teaching and other services.

National Centers

The National Centers are funded and guided by OHS, the Office of Child Care (OCC), and the Health Services and Resources Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). The Centers work to promote excellence across all ECE programs. They offer resources and approaches that build program capacity and encourage consistent practices.

The current T/TA system includes the National Centers on:

  • Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (funded by OHS and OCC)
  • Early Childhood Health and Wellness (funded by OHS, OCC, and MCHB))
  • Early Childhood Quality Assurance (funded by OHS, OCC, and MCHB)
  • Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (funded by OHS and OCC)
  • Program Management and Fiscal Operations (funded by OHS)
  • Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (funded by OCC)

Last Reviewed: December 2016

Last Updated: February 17, 2017