The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the third round of Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) Grants was posted to grants.gov yesterday. The FOA can be found here. Applications are due November 30, 2018. This is a very quick turnaround – 4.5 weeks!

If you’re applying for an EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP Grant, below are some of the highlights of the FOA (we also recommend a thorough read through!).

There are three approaches for which you may apply for a grant, though you may only apply for one. They are: 1) Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (partnership with child care and/or family child care programs), 2) Non-Partnership Early Head Start Expansion (establishing or adding traditional EHS slots); or 3) Combination Approach (expanding EHS slots and implementing the EHS-CCP model). Regardless of the approach, the project start date is March 15, 2019.

If you apply for Non-Partnership EHS Expansion, note that there is specific language in the FOA about how applicants should prioritize services. This includes new language related to “substance misuse issues” that wasn’t in the past rounds of EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP.

Applicants should prioritize providing services to the most vulnerable families with the greatest need due to special challenges, such as extreme poverty, homelessness, involvement with the child welfare system, or substance misuse issues.

Regardless of your approach, the FOA states the following priorities. In the first, ACF “reserves the right to prioritize,” and the second states that ACF “will prioritize.”

  • “ACF reserves the right to prioritize funding for qualified applicants who propose services in census tracts designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones.”
  • “ACF will prioritize proposals that include a viable plan to reach full enrollment within 12 months of receiving the grant award.”

While some aspects of the FOA look different than round 2 (for example, the evaluation criteria is structured different and there are no bonus points), the content is generally the same. There is, however, an additional section – Planning & Implementation. In the Planning & Implementation section applicants are required to provide information about their implementation plan and timeline. This includes items such as meeting licensing requirements, acquiring or updating facilities, alternative service provision, staffing, and recruitment of children and families. If you’ve written a proposal through DRS in the last couple of years then this section will be familiar to you.

With the addition of Planning & Implementation, this also changes the point allocation for the six sections of the application.

  1. Community Need and Objectives – 20 points (in round 2, this was maximum 30 points)
  2. Program Design and Approach – 30 points
  3. Staffing – 15 points
  4. Planning and Implementation – 10 points
  5. Organizational Infrastructure and Management Systems – 15 points
  6. Budget and Budget Justification – 15 points

If your program is applying for an EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP Grant, we strongly recommend a close read of the FOA as soon as possible. The application process will move very, very quickly! Stay tuned for more information about the round 3 FOA and how to manage the 4-week turnaround.

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