In a recent blog post, we discussed the release of the FY2017 Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership Monitoring Protocol. We weren’t surprised to see that two of the four goals of the tool focus on fiscal aspects of the partnership – 1) Evaluate the benefits of partnership funding and, 2) Determine the fiscal oversight and integrity of partnership funds. Fiscal management is a significant focus, and understandably so. Many Round 1 Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grantees had fiscal challenges and the tool dives deeply into grantees’ oversight and use of partnership funds. It is incredibly important to consider your fiscal planning and oversight of EHS-CCP funds whether you are a Round 1 grantee (being monitored in FY17 or not) or if you find yourself a new grantee in Round 2.
If you are a Round 2 EHS-CCP applicant, how much time, expertise and attention went into your program’s fiscal design? It may not have been enough. That’s because the entire fiscal approach for EHS-CCP is unlike the business as usual “pay for slots” approach. It’s far more complicated and multi-faceted. Many Round 1 grantees underestimated the fiscal approach. We recommend taking steps to ensure you don’t encounter the same challenges. There is time at the very start of your new award to re-visit and revamp your fiscal approach for success!
Through our work with Round 1 grantees, Foundations for Families thoroughly understands the fiscal challenges that may be encountered with an EHS-CCP grant. We have developed practical, multi-layered and skillful strategies, tools and training to help ensure grantees’ fiscal (and thus, program!) success. It’s won’t be enough to have simply determined a fair and justifiable payment rate in your proposal. The entire approach must be rooted in fiscal goals that are tied to program objectives as well as the fiscal capacity building and accountability of partnership funds.
The key fiscal aspects in the new EHS-CCP Monitoring tool – “evidence of “layered funding,” “internal control procedures for spending and use of funds,” and evidence of processes in place to ensure partners “develop and budget effectively” – are all areas which Foundations for Families has addressed with Round 1 grantees. This includes cost modeling, budgeting, fiscal approach designs, child care partner contracts, and technical assistance and training. Our experience is that at the heart of EHS-CCP fiscal success is determining exactly how to calculate and close the cost of quality gap in partner classrooms and homes, as well as building the fiscal skills and capacities of partner programs. This month, we will share lessons learned from Round 1 and provide guidance about how to anticipate and position your new Round 2 grant for a strong and comprehensive fiscal approach. Using our expertise from Round 1, and the new EHS-CCP monitoring tool as a guide, we will help to set you on a path to success!
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.
Linda Dunphy, under Foundations for Families, Inc. provided invaluable and top shelf quality 12-month strategic guidance in all areas of launching our new EHS-CCP grant particularly in the context of being a brand new Head Start grantee. I honestly don’t know if we would have succeeded through the start up period without her week to week, month to month goal setting, tactical guidance and tools, as well as her recommendations for program and fiscal design changes that proved pivotal to the viability of this expansion 12 county, multiple child care partner program. 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.
Julia-Ellen Davis, Interim Director
South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness; SC Early Childhood Advisory Council