The National Head Start Association (NHSA) Winter Leadership Institute was held last month in Washington, DC. Foundations for Families team members attended this conference. It was wonderful to see so many of you there! We heard important funding updates from federal partners and are passing the highlights along to you.

Funding Updates. There are funding opportunities available now, coming soon (FY2019 funding), and on the horizon (FY2020 funding) for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Disaster Recovery Funds (available now). Disaster Recovery Funding was announced in September 2019. The funding is available to Head Start/Early Head Start programs that have been impacted by disasters and/or weather related emergencies. It is a one-time award, and funding requests must be responsive to community need. At the conference, it was suggested that programs think broadly about how they might use disaster recovery funds to address both immediate impacts from the emergency, as well as those that may be ongoing and/or recurring. Programs were encouraged to apply.

EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP (coming soon).The fourth round of competitive Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grants has been anticipated for months. The grant competition is still coming, expected this spring. In the federal update it was shared that applications will be accepted for both EHS-CCP as well as traditional EHS expansion, with no extra points awarded for partnership programs. $100 million is available for EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP grants.

Under-enrollment (coming soon). In spring 2020, a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will be released for Head Start/Early Head Start programs in twelve states. The purpose of the FOA will be to redistribute funding that was captured from programs due to enrollment issues. This competitive funding opportunity will help to ensure that children are served in states where there have been substantial under-enrollment challenges.

DRS Round 9. There is not yet a forecast on for DRS round 9. However, if trends from the past hold true then we would expect the competitions to open around late summer or early fall. In August 2019, the Office of Head Start (OHS) released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NOPR) that, among other updates, proposed a change to the CLASS condition of DRS. The NOPR proposed removing the 10% CLASS condition and raising the absolute CLASS thresholds. At the Winter Leadership it was announced that the final rule is expected in summer 2020, and the current rule/conditions remain in effect until the final rule is effective. The next round of DRS determination letters will be sent, as scheduled, and preliminary decisions may be reconsidered under the new rules if they become effective.

Quality Improvement Funding (on the horizon). OHS will release a $250 million, non-competitive funding opportunity for all Head Start/Early Head Start grantees to request funding for ongoing quality improvement activities. OHS is strongly encouraging grantees to consider uses of funding that incorporate a trauma-informed approach to support children, families, and staff. Activities must align with Section 640(a)(5) in the Head Start Act, though grantees were advised that the related percentages in that section will not apply. The funding amount provided will be based on funded enrollment.

Other funding coming in FY2020. The FY2020 Head Start appropriation also include $193 million for Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) funding and $4 million for a Tribal Colleges and Universities Partnership Program.

See You There! The 2020 National Head Start Conference is taking place March 29 to April 2, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. This is an exciting opportunity to engage with other programs and hear updates about the direction of Head Start/Early Head Start. Foundations for Families Executive Director, Amy Augenblick, will be in attendance. She will be presenting a pre-conference seminar on EHS-CCP with Walter Frye’s Fiscal Institute. There are just a few seats left and you can register here. We hope to see you there!

We recently updated the Foundations for Families website. Check it out to learn more about our consulting services, including community assessment, CLASS and coaching, grant writing solutions, federal review preparations and more. Please be in touch to explore how Foundations for Families can help to support your program.

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