DRS Updates

About DRS Updates

Foundations for Families started this blog in 2011 to provide support for those agencies on the Designation Renewal Systems (DRS) list, and to give you up to date information and analysis about DRS.

DRS Updates provides timely information and context for those agencies in DRS, at risk of being in DRS, or those wishing to compete for the service areas.

Strategies for Managing DRS through the Holidays

During a year that has been anything but typical, this is the first time the DRS application process has spanned the holiday season. The time between the release of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) and the application due date is longer than usual – nearly 10 weeks as opposed to 8 weeks – but with the holidays, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s more time for application preparation. Here are four strategies to help you navigate DRS through the holidays and to support successful...

DRS Round 9 FOAs Posted and Applications due January 5, 2021

The Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for the ninth round of Designation Renewal System (DRS) grant competitions were announced on Grants.gov. Applications are due no later than January 5, 2021. FOAs are available on the Office of Head Start (OHS) Funding Opportunities website. DRS FOAs were released by state (in past rounds, there was a FOA for each service area that was up for competition). For example, state FOAs include the language, “communities in the state of…” In the Appendix of...

DRS Rule Change in Effect as Grant Competitions Approach

Over the summer, a Final Rule was published that describes substantial changes to DRS. We’ve now reached the effective period for the rule change. The Final Rule published in the Federal Register clearly states “the Final Rule is effective on October 27, 2020.” According to the Final Rule, the revised DRS conditions are in effect as of today. Yet, in the OHS Program Instruction (PI) released on August 27, 2020, the final rule effective date was communicated as November 9, 2020. If you have...

DRS Quarterly Status Update (#3 of 4)

This is the third of four 2020 quarterly status updates about DRS. Learn about changes to DRS, new resources, and what to expect for the upcoming round of DRS grant competitions. Changes to DRS were published in Final Rule. Last month, shortly after releasing the 2020 National CLASS Scores, OHS announced substantial changes to DRS. These changes impacted the competition status of some grantees. Many grantees that expected to compete in the upcoming round of DRS are no longer required to do so....

OHS Provides Updates on DRS Round 9 Forecasts and Timing

On Thursday, the Office of Head Start (OHS) hosted a webinar to discuss the recent changes to DRS and provide information about next steps. For grantees expecting to compete in DRS this fall (Round 9), important updates on process and timing were shared. First, many programs that were previously designated for competition in Round 9 have now received a follow up letter from OHS stating whether they will still have to compete or if they are eligible for a non-competitive grant. This decision is...

DRS Updates Archive

Grant writing exceeded our expectations.

We also developed internal capacity through the modeling and coaching provided by Foundations for Families. We have an excellent DRS application. Foundations for Families removed the anxiety from the process, using a strengths-based approach. This helped us focus on the positive components of our program.

Roger Pavey

Executive Director, Community Action of Eastern Iowa

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Two EHS Expansion & EHS-CCP Grants Included in DRS Round 10

Last week, the Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for grants in the upcoming round of DRS were announced. This is the tenth round of DRS, and ten NOFOs were released for grants open for competition. Two of those NOFOs are for Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grants.

5 Strategies for Success in EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP Round 5

The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the fifth round of EHS Expansion and Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership grants (EHS-Expansion and EHS-CCP) may be released this fall. Since each round of EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP has become increasingly...

EHS-CCP Quarterly Status Update (#4 of 4)

This is the fourth of four 2020 quarterly status updates about the Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) initiative. Learn about what to expect for EHS-CCP and EHS Expansion in 2021. Round 4 grant award negotiations...

Is Consolidating EHS-CCP and HS/EHS Grants Right for Your Program?

This time last year, the Office of Head Start (OHS) issued a Program Instruction (PI) announcing an opportunity for grantees to consolidate their Head Start and Early Head Start grants. Now, consolidations may include Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership...

EHS-CCP Quarterly Status Update (#3 of 4)

This is the third of four 2020 quarterly status updates about the Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start - Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) initiative. Learn about next steps for EHS-CCP Round 4 applicants and what all grantees should know about changes to...

Application Deadline Extended in Six States

The EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) has been updated to provide extensions to the application deadline in six states: Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oregon. For applicants in these states, the deadline is...

Grants.gov Maintenance Scheduled for This Weekend

Grants.gov is scheduled for maintenance this weekend, leading up to Monday’s deadline for submission of EHS-CCP proposals. The maintenance schedule states that systems will go offline Saturday, September 19 at 12:01am ET and will go back online Monday, September 21 at...

5 Tips and 10 Days Before Proposals are Due

Applications for EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP Round 4 funding are due in 10 days, on September 21, 2020. This is anticipated to be the most competitive round of funding yet, and high quality applications will stand out. Here are five tips to keep in mind as you finalize...

Prioritizing Qualified Opportunity Zones in EHS-CCP Round 4

When the EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP Round 4 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) was released last month, one of the highlights we noticed is that funding may be prioritized for services in Qualified Opportunity Zones. Here, we provide information about Qualified...

EHS-CCP Round 4 Posted and Applications Due September 21

The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the fourth round of Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grants was released on Grants.gov. The applications are due no later than September 21st. The FOA can be found here. With a sixty...

Funding Highlights from 2022 NHSA Fall Leadership Institute

The 2022 National Head Start Association (NHSA) Fall Leadership Institute took place September 19-22 in Washington, DC. It was a welcome opportunity to see colleagues in person, as the last couple years it has taken place virtually. One aspect of the conference that was particularly interesting from the funding perspective was Updates from the Office of Head Start. We learned about big picture and program-specific funding opportunities.

Wage and Benefits Studies Support Competitive Compensation Systems

Staff wages and benefits are important factors in a program’s ability to attract and retain a qualified workforce. Research shows that higher staff turnover is associated with lower wages in child care programs, so learning how your program’s compensation compares to others is an important strategy for fostering a stable workforce. And with widespread staffing shortages in the child care industry, compensation is more important than ever.

CLASS and Coaching: Valuable Tools to Support Continuous Program Improvement

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Head Start/Early Head Start programs have taken unprecedented steps to provide compliant, high quality programs for children and families. There have been health and safety mandates, guidelines, and protocols to implement, all while programs navigate the day-to-day with a shrinking workforce.

Written Policies and Procedures Align Service Delivery and Compliance

Earlier this summer, we published a blog post about how well-defined policies and procedures can help new and experienced staff to understand their role and support program monitoring. Documenting policies and procedures, particularly following rapid changes that took...

How Climate Change and Natural Disasters Shape Community Needs

Environmental risks are one of the many factors that influence community health. Climate change is increasing the intensity and duration of weather-related disasters, which occur alongside other natural threats such as earthquakes. All communities have some level of risk, and understanding those risks is important.

Support New and Experienced Staff with Well-defined Policies and Procedures

Developing and maintaining up-to-date policies and procedures is essential for any Head Start/Early Head Start program. It is important because they are foundational to a program’s operation and they provide a guide for staff – new and experienced – that helps to ensure clarity and consistency in program implementation.

Environmental Risk Factors Contribute to Community Health Needs

Environmental risks can range from natural disasters and climate change to pollution and air quality. These factors play an important role in the overall health and wellbeing of communities and can vary widely across geographic areas. Certain environmental health factors – like pollution and unsafe drinking water – disproportionately impact low-income communities, and children and pregnant women are at particularly high risk of health problems.

Annual Report Brings Together Program and Community Data

Head Start annual reporting is established in Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS), Section §1302.102(d)(2), and requires programs to include a summary of a program’s most recent community assessment. The report must also comply with the Head Start Act. In this blog post, we’ll explore the intersection of HSPPS and the Act and how your program can use the annual report as an opportunity to show need across the service area and within your program.

What Does the Census Data Tell Us About Population Changes in 2020?

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an annual survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that provides vital information to help determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year. On March 17, 2022, the Census Bureau released the 2016-2020 ACS 5-Year Estimates, after multiple delays due to quality and response issues for 2020 data collection. This data, which many agencies rely on for annual community assessments, is now available at data.census.gov.

Understanding Census Undercounts in Anticipation of 2020 Data Release

The much-anticipated 2020 U.S. Census data is scheduled to be released Thursday, March 17. The census is conducted once every ten years and is designed to count every resident in the United States. Census data is used many ways; for example, to determine the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, adjust electoral districts, and inform the allocation of federal funding.

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