Once you have your Notice of Award – and even prior to that, if you want to be most prepared – having a thorough action plan and clearly defined timelines will help guide you through your 18-month start up period. If you have a start up planner, this will be a key responsibility for that individual alongside your Start up Leadership Team, as discussed in our recent post, Preparing for EHS-CCP Round 2 – Get Organized for Success!.
Create an action plan. Most likely, you included a summary of the actions your agency will take upon award and during start up planning in your proposal. You also likely included at least rough timeline estimates for when and how that work will take place. You might consider revisiting that information from your application, and ask yourself if it is as detailed and accurate as it needs to be at this new stage in your program. You will likely find that you need to drill down to even greater level of detail and adjust some timelines to reflect the current status of your program and the many steps that will take place leading up to implementation. Convene your Start Up Leadership Team to brainstorm a detailed and dynamic plan. Create a plan that includes action items, timelines, and identifies individuals’ responsibilities. Allowing your action plan to be dynamic – in other words, updated as you go, and adaptable to changing circumstances – will allow you to use the plan as a tool that captures progress. Use your action plan as a way to capture accomplishment and key milestones, and let it drive your Start up Leadership Team agenda setting during the start up period.
Consider the role of Child Care Partners. If you are a new EHS-CCP grantee, you will need to consider the role that Child Care Partners will play in your start up planning. For example, if you will be selecting your partners by way of a Request for Proposal process, they will not likely be involved in your start up planning in order to protect the integrity of the selection process. However, if you selected your Child Care Partners prior to your award, then involving them in your start up team may be beneficial. They likely have valuable insight, vested interest, and a shared goal of successful planning that leads to successful implementation.
If your agency is brand new to Head Start/Early Head Start as an EHS-CCP grantee, the depth and scope of your action plan will be significantly greater than those who already have a HS/EHS or EHS-CCP grant. You would benefit immensely from outside expertise to support your agency and staff’s new responsibilities. Working with the background and capabilities of your staff, Foundations for Families’ experience and expertise will help ensure your start up period is as efficient as possible.
It was hugely complex to get the program into place from facilities to staffing to contracts to governance. Having Linda be in the start-up planner role working with us at every step proved our wisest decision. She didn’t just advise…as many consultants often only do… she actually did the work and helped us with the work — a vital difference in value.
Julia-Ellen Davis, Interim Director
SC First Steps to School Readiness; SC Early Childhood Advisory Council
Foundations for Families offers EHS-CCP grantees targeted technical assistance and strength-based coaching of key start-up staff. We have helped multiple organizations design, plan for, and draft successful proposals for EHS-CCP. Please be in touch with Amy Augenblick, Executive Director, at 703-599-4329 or Augenblick@foundationsforfamilies.com to learn about how we can support you and your program.