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Building high quality early support systems for children and families: A guide for state policy
National Opportunity to Learn Campaign, May, 2014
Boston: National Opportunity to Learn Campaign.

This policy guide is designed to provide state policymakers with a blueprint for developing better-coordinated early childhood support systems. Policymakers can build on the concrete action steps set out in this document and adapt the highlighted strategies to meet their own states' needs. This guide should help lawmakers take a fresh look at the delivery of early childhood supports in their own states and ask questions about how states can best promote and sustain early education systems. (author abstract)

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Deciding the state role in Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grants: What are the different levels of potential state involvement?
Capizzano, Jeffrey, 20 June, 2014
Boston: Build Initiative.

The recently released $500 million Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Early Head Start (EHS) Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership grants provides an opportunity to increase the supply of high-quality infant and toddler care within states. Through this initiative, eligible organizations are strongly encouraged to partner with center-based and family child care providers who agree to meet Early Head Start Program Performance Standards and provide comprehensive, full-day, full-year services for eligible infants and toddlers and their families. The initiative creates an opportunity for applicants to think creatively about bringing federal Early Head Start standards and funding together with state child care subsidy regulations and funding to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers in child care settings. The Partnership concept, and the implementation challenges that come with it, are not new. The $1.1 billion expansion of EHS through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created similar partnerships, and more generally, Head Start programs have placed contracted Head Start slots within child care programs for many years. Although the concept is not new, this specific opportunity provides the various administrators working within a state's early childhood system with the opportunity to think differently about how the state's early childhood efforts to support infant and toddler health, development and care relate to the federal EHS program. Although the federal to local funding structure of Head Start has historically caused significant state-level coordination issues, state participation in this Partnership opportunity can build upon the work started by Head Start State Collaboration Directors to create stronger connections and alignment between EHS and state child care systems and can facilitate more streamlined implementation of the Partnership model on the ground. This brief outlines different ways in which states can participate in EHS-CC Partnership grants. While states cannot be grantees in the Head Start program (which serves children three- to five-years old), states are eligible to become Early Head Start grantees. (author abstract)

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Innovations in NYC health & human services policy: EarlyLearn NYC
Gelatt, Julia, February, 2014
Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's emphasis on fighting poverty in New York City focused particularly on three populations: the working poor, young adults, and children from birth to age 5. As a part of the focus on young children, and in response to mounting evidence that investments in early childhood education are a cost-effective antipoverty measure, the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) reorganized its system of contracted child care through an initiative called EarlyLearn NYC. The goal of the program was to maximize available funding streams for early childhood education while raising the quality of care and education provided. EarlyLearn also sought to improve the coverage of care across the city by shifting the supply of contracted slots to neighborhoods with the greatest economic need but fewest providers. Additionally, ACS aimed to increase the availability of child care for infants and toddlers. The implementation of this program brought rapid change to the city's contracted child care system. EarlyLearn successfully braided funding from child care, Head Start, and the State's Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) program in order to provide improved access and continuity for low-income children and their families. High program standards have improved the quality of contracted providers. Moreover, the redistribution of contracts across the city has increased the supply of care in targeted, high-need neighborhoods. At present, EarlyLearn serves approximately 37,150 children. This brief describes the context in which the EarlyLearn program was designed and implemented, and the timeline of the development and implementation of EarlyLearn. It also discusses the details of what this policy change has entailed. The brief concludes by detailing some of the successes of the program and ongoing challenges, highlighting potential paths forward under the new mayoral administration. This brief is based on interviews with current and past ACS staff members, EarlyLearn providers, early childhood advocates, and ACS reports and publicly available resources. (author abstract)

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A new vision for child care
Adams, Gina, May, 2014
Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy.

This brief is based on Confronting the Child Care Eligibility Maze: Simplifying Child Care and Aligning with Other Work Supports, an in-depth guide to the policies and practices that allow states to simplify and align child care assistance, improve service delivery for clients, and reduce administrative burden for agencies. (author abstract)

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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