Washington, D.C.– A new report released today by the Bipartisan Policy Center, Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships: Spotlighting Early Successes Across America, highlights an innovative partnership model that combines federal accountability with local flexibility to bring high-quality early learning experiences to thousands of children.
For families everywhere, high-quality child care is challenging to find, let alone afford. The Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) program, created by Congress in 2014, is one solution to this challenge. The program brings Early Head Start grantees together with local child care programs to help low-income working families access and pay for high-quality infant and toddler care. This model requires child care partners to meet Head Start Performance Standards in exchange for receiving access to essential resources, including coaching, assistance accessing higher education, research-based curricula, learning materials, family supports, and, often, higher teacher pay.
The new report highlights 12 EHS-CCP sites, with grantees including a combination of states, cities, and non-profit agencies, each implementing the program differently based on their community’s need. For example, Arizona’s grantee is focusing part of its efforts on the child care needs of families of veterans who are experiencing homelessness, and a grantee in Maryland is supporting young parents so they can finish high school and pursue higher education or technical training. Alabama and Georgia, which are both state-level grantees, aim to enhance the quality of early care and learning in family child care settings.
“The partnerships encourage local solutions by infusing resources into under-resourced child care systems around the country,” said Linda Smith, director of BPC’s Early Childhood Initiative. “Grantees focus their efforts on areas they determine are the highest priority to better serve their children and families. It allows the opportunity for communities to be flexible while remaining accountable to federal Head Start standards.”
The report also includes a call to action for Congress to permanently authorize the EHS-CCP program and to increase its funding to meet more need. “Through the partnerships, more children are receiving access to new books and toys, research-based curricula, and more highly educated and trained teachers,” said Smith. “We need to keep the partnerships going so that more children, families, and communities win.”