2022-2023 Early Head Start and Child Care Partnership Grants - What to do right now.
Based on discussions of the American Families Plan and the focus on improving access to childcare it is likely that we will see a new round of Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start Child Care Partnership grants in 2022-2023. For programs interested in either Early Head Start expansion or in an Early Head Start Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP), there are many considerations and tasks that can be completed as preparation for the grant development process, even without a published funding opportunity announcement.
First, programs can consider the different types of funding offered through the opportunity. In the past, the Office of Head Start has designated a certain percentage of funds for expansion versus EHS-CCP only and EHS Expansion/ EHS-CCP models. Given the current climate and focus on childcare we may see a larger portion of funds allocated to EHS-CCP models. It is a good time for programs to update their community assessment, particularly in regard to access to childcare for infants and toddlers as that will surely be an important point of discussion in demonstrating the need for services in your community and for justifying your choices in program models in any new grant applications.
Secondly, consider your program options and opportunities to blend funding or cost share across existing Head Start or Early Head Start programs your agency is operating. Say you apply for a new grant, a competitive edge may be that you are already a current Head Start provider which means that you are familiar with standards of care that exceed childcare licensing regulations. However, you can even increase your chances of getting funded by exploring how you might use childcare subsidies or contracts with childcare providers to create models of care that leverage funding from EHS-CCP and childcare subsidies. Typically, the most successful EHS applications propose these models.
Lastly, the big question is when do we expect an EHS-CCP application. While there is not a guarantee, in the past applications have posted around the time the Head Start recompetition applications are due, in part because often the grant reviewer pool is at the ready during that time which makes for a more seamless grant award management process. If that is the case, we expect applications to post in the winter. When they do post, there will be a 60-day turn around. Going into the process understanding your community’s needs and with a program model (and possibly some childcare partners in mind) will certainly help you create a strong grant application.