Last month, in Top 5 Tips for Success in EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP Round 4, we highlighted the importance of planning for start-up during your grant application process. In this blog post, we describe key factors to keep in mind if your program plans to request start-up funding in the next Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grant competition.

Since the FOA for the upcoming grant competition has not been posted, we recommend you start by reviewing pages 11 to 13 of the round 3 FOA for guidance about start-up. There is no guarantee that the language will be the same in the round 4 FOA, but this is a good place to begin.

Newly awarded grantees, regardless of model or option(s), should anticipate a reasonable start- up period and will be expected to begin providing services as soon as high-quality services can reasonably be provided (i.e., when high-quality facilities are ready and staff have been trained). Grantees are expected to be fully enrolled no later than 12 months after receiving a grant award.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind if your program plans to request start-up funding.

1. The Start-up Budget is separate from the regular budget request. Start-up requests could include activities such as recruiting and training staff, developing plans to provide services, fiscal management planning, establishing oversight and monitoring systems, recruitment and enrollment of children, and updating classroom and outdoor environments among others.

2. Many elements of start-up will be addressed in the Planning and Implementation section of your proposal. Your Start-up Budget should align with the Planning and Implementation narrative. For example, if your program is requesting start-up funding to train new partnership staff then that training should be described in Planning and Implementation.

3. Start-up activities should also be included in your Implementation Timeline. This timeline will be part of the Planning and Implementation section of the proposal, or included as an Appendix item that is referenced from Planning and Implementation.

4. Be mindful of the need for Appendix items to strengthen your start-up justification. Use Appendix space strategically, if needed, to show commitments related to start-up.

5. Overall, make sure your proposal narrative and start-up budget complement each other. It will help the reviewer if you provide references to the start-up budget for parts of your program design are enhanced by start-up activities. Use cross-references to minimize repetitiveness and build a complete narrative.

Whether using the services of a start-up planner or an internal team, we can’t stress enough the importance of having a detailed work plan with timeline to guide your start-up activities. And, having a start-up budget that is aligned to your proposed program design will be necessary for you to successfully implement the program in a reasonable time period. Being specific about start-up during proposal development will lead to clear expectations when it is time for implementation.

If your program needs assistance determining start-up needs or is considering leveraging the services of a start up planner please be in touch. Foundations for Families team members have successfully supported EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP grantees through the start-up period to successfully implement their new grant. We would be glad to discuss your program’s needs and how we can help.

Thank you.

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