The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced a new $500-million funding opportunity to expand access to high-quality, comprehensive services for low-income infants and toddlers and their families.
ACF said in a statement today that the funding will support the creation of Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships and the expansion of Early Head Start services to children and families. Funding for the partnerships will encourage collaboration between new or existing Early Head Start grantees and child care providers to improve the quality of existing child care programs and expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers.
President Obama called for a comprehensive plan to support high-quality early education for all children from birth through school entry in his 2013 State of the Union address. That initiative included the new EHS-CC Partnership, in which competitive grants would support communities that establish partnerships between Early Head Start and childcare providers to expand the availability of high-quality infant and toddler care for children, from birth through age 3.
"The new funding will help support working families by providing a full-day, full-year program for young children," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Research shows that the first three years are the most critical for brain development, and Early Head Start provides high-quality care and education for our most vulnerable young children."
The resources announced today will help prepare infants and toddlers for early success in school and in life through:
- Developmental and behavioral screenings;
- Services that promote safety, nutrition and healthy development;
- Individualized, high-quality adult-child interactions; and
- Support for the early education workforce to build skills and competencies that support child development.
EHS-CC Partnerships also leverage existing Federal and state investments in child care subsidies.
"By investing in Early Head Start and launching the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, the Department of Health and Human Services is raising the quality of care for the children who need it most, providing more of our nation's children with the fundamental services they need to reach their full potential. We are pleased to offer this new opportunity to partner with our communities across the country," said Linda Smith, deputy assistant secretary for Early Childhood Development.
ACF said territories, community organizations, non-profit or for-profit organizations, and state and local governments are among the eligible agencies that can apply for competitive partnership or expansion grants.