This fall was a whirlwind for Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) proposal development. The application for the third round of EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP grants was much like the second round, with the exception of a shortened turnaround time and greater page limit. With a one-month turnaround there was a lot to think about in a short period of time!
The anticipated project start date for EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP grants is March 15, 2019. We expect programs will start hearing from the Office of Head Start to negotiate the terms of their award in early 2019. As you come back to your desk in the new year, we recommend you review your program’s application in detail with fresh eyes.
As part of your EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP grant proposal you might have requested start up funds. Remember, start up costs are not guaranteed and are negotiated at the time of award. Start up is important, and as noted in the EHS Expansion and EHS-CCP Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), ACF recognizes that the development and implementation of a start-up plan is critical to the success of new or expanded programs for all grantees, regardless of model. In fact, the FOA explicitly encouraged applicants to request start up funds.
We encourage you to revisit your proposed start up budget so that you’re clear about the top start up needs of your program. Determine if there are any aspects of start up that you did not plan for in your requested budget. Start up activities may include a variety of activities such as establishing agreements with partners, 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 (this is a limited list – see pages 11 and 12 of the FOA for more information).
As you organize your program for implementation of a new EHS-CCP grant, we also encourage you to establish a start up implementation team and determine if you need a start up planner. Having a team and expertise in place will help to ensure you hit the ground running and smoothly navigate the start up period. In the FOA (page 12), ACF strongly encourages use of a start up planner and/or fiscal consultant for EHS-CCP grantees to help ensure compliance with all regulations. A start up planner can help to ensure compliance and assist with development of plans, policies, and procedures for your new program. Grantees will be expected to achieve full enrollment in 12 months, and a start up planner will help to reduce the burden on staff as your team prepares for implementation.
By revisiting your proposal and carefully considering what you proposed and need for start up you will be better positioned to negotiate the terms of your grant award. If your program needs assistance determining start up needs or is considering procuring the services of a start up planner please be in touch. Foundations for Families team members have successfully supported Round 1 and Round 2 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.