It’s Model Monday for the Early Head Start- Child Care Partnership Blog. It is also a snow day here in the Washington DC area where I reside as the guest blogger.

Instead of digging out from the 10 inches of snow, I turned to digging in – trying to finding a model EHS program that has successfully partnered with a community center that cares for infants and toddlers. 

So, what did I find in a reasonable search effort of a few hours?  Oddly, not much in terms of easy to find EHS-Child Care center Partnership models – highlighting infants and toddlers.  Nothing like my experience with searching for the EHS-Family Child Care partnerships.

Even on the OCC Model’s page there is not one EHS-CC center model as example for the new EHS-CCP funds.  Odd.

I am curious. Why I was having a hard time finding the same research, articles, briefs that I was able to find for EHS and family child care – using the same search methods?  I know there are existing programs that partner with community based child care centers to deliver their core EHS child care services.  Why are they so hard to find?

Perhaps it’s because so few private child center models offer infant and toddler care, leaving EHS with few centers with which to partner — posing more of a challenge to establish?

I read in a 2010 CLASP report, just under half of Early Head Start slots (49 percent) were in center-based programs. And, only seven percent of all children who were enrolled received EHS services through a child care partner that had contracted with a center-based Early Head Start program. Thus, a very, very small universe of EHS-Child Care center partnerships were in existence as recently as 2010. This may explain why the projects and funding efforts I did read about were, by and large, focused on Head Start.

I came away from my efforts this morning convinced that there is much more evidence of the efforts that have shaped Head Start and child care partnerships, than Early Head Start. Nonetheless, there is plenty to glean from the Head Start perspective on child care partnership initiatives even though there are significant differences in delivering infant and toddler child care, Head Start Performance Standards, and even financing.

So, if you want to know about the historical efforts shaping the current new EHS – Child Care Partnership funds – whether from a Head Start or Early Head Start position, here’s what I did find worth recommending as a review, perhaps over a cup (pot?) of tea:

  1. Strategies for Head Start — Child Care Partnerships Revisitedcovers the efforts and findings during the decade from 1995-2005 when marked changes occurred to challenge traditional Head Start silo practices and resulted in more partnerships with child care.  New welfare legislation had been implemented, impacting the work patterns for Head Start families. There was a shift among Head Start programs to move from half-day programs to full-day, full year programs. Many states provided increased funding and changed policies as incentives to Head Start programs to partner with child care to achieve full-day, full-year services.
  2. An example from #1: California provided $7.7 million in 1999 to encourage Head Start to partner with the child care community to expand full day/year care options.  Read the research report from the Los Angeles Collaboration of Child Care and Head Start partnerships for ideas on how this mammoth county fared across settings and partnerships.
  3. The ACF Issue Brief (short and sweet), CHILD CARE AND HEAD START PARTNERSHIPS, reviews the changing landscape over twenty years of Head Start and child care partnerships, including financing and policies.  It shows the improvements which better meet the changing needs of low-income working families and describes the evolving emphasis on school readiness.  It discusses the myriad of federal and state policy and procedural issues that challenge systems integration for the benefit of programs to sustainably provide full day and year quality child care coverage.
  4. One seminal Federal (DHHS/ACF/OPRE) sponsored research initiative, The Role of Early Head Start Programs in Addressing the Child Care, Needs of Low-Income Families with Infants and Toddlers: Influences on Child Care Use and Quality (February 2004)  examines the challenges EHS programs faced in developing child care options that could meet Head Start Program Performance Standards, and patterns of child care use among EHS families at points corresponding to children’s first, second, and third birthdays and then describe how EHS influenced those patterns of child care use.

I’d like to recommend to the feds working on the EHS – CC partnership initiative and to NHSA that you offer more direct examples of high quality EHS-Child Care center partnerships in future webinars and materials.  They are not easy to find.  It shouldn’t take several hours of digging.

In the meanwhile, I’ll keep refining my search and look forward to posting a few specific EHS-Child Care center programs – challenges, lessons learned, and successes soon.  Let me know if you know of one to recommend.   

 

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Whether your agency might apply to be an EHS-CC Partnership grantee or your child care program is a solid partnership candidate, there’s a lot to consider.  We can help analyze the opportunity, prepare a competitive grant proposal, or design and implement a high quality 18-month start-up plan.  If we can’t, we will connect you with the right resources to support your efforts.  Give us a call to discuss your situation: 703-599-4329 or augenblick@foundationsforfamilies.com

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