Although it may seem like a long way off, awards from the second round of Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grants will be made before we know it. The latest communications from the Office of Head Start (OHS) suggest that EHS-CCP awards will me made in early spring 2017. That leaves about four months to take actions to get organized to help ensure your program can hit the ground running upon Notice of Award.
Foundations for Families team members have successfully supported grantees from the first round of EHS-CCP through start up planning, coaching, and training. We’ve journeyed through challenges with grantees to help ensure everyone is on a steady, successful path to implementation. Today, we share some of the key tips to help you get organized for success!
Start up Planner – Do you have one? And do you need one?
Before you receive your new EHS-CCP award one of the first questions you should ask yourself is who will be supporting your agency to help plan the best start up timeline, action steps and staffing resources. In the EHS-CCP round 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) OHS strongly advised having start up planners for this complex and highly challenging grant program. Many of you may have budgeted for this in your round 2 EHS-CCP application. If you haven’t included a start up planner, perhaps reconsider your options for recruiting an experienced planner who can provide expert guidance on organizing the work and problem solving. It might be challenging for an existing staff member to take on this time-consuming role. Having an experienced start up planner for EHS-CCP can help you avoid costly pitfalls and map a course to a sound programmatic and fiscal approach. Be sure you select a planner with the greatest expertise and experience. The 18-month start up period will go quickly, and having a planner with EHS-CCP round 1 experience will likely prove to be invaluable!
Compile your Start up Team
Convene your internal leadership team and determine who among your agency’s staff is going to see EHS-CCP through the start up period. Make a list of all program areas – e.g., program, fiscal, executive/governance, human resources, and facilities – and identify who from each will serve on the Start up Leadership Team. As an EHS-CCP grantee, you’ll likely want your most senior staff member responsible for contracting and procurement on the team.
Have your team discuss the group’s purpose, and make sure there are clear roles and responsibilities as they relate to smooth and steady start up. Establish a regular meeting schedule with advance agendas, and take meeting minutes to capture action items and share among the group. Weekly meetings of 1-2 hours might be a good starting point until you determine how often and how long your group needs to come together. One of your first agenda items for the Start up Leadership Team could be to consider all team members within the agency who will be essential to start up and implementation (consider content area coordinators, for example). Make a plan to include other team members in start up planning, as needed.
Later this month we’ll continue to explore tips and strategies to get organized for success. Timelines and communications can’t be underestimated… Stay tuned!
It was clear that we needed some significant expertise and help to put the organizational, fiscal, program and policy structure in place to run this program well and remain in compliance. I would highly recommend the work of Foundation for Families and the value that they bring in terms of knowledge and expertise (both breadth and depth), skillfulness in working with management and staff, and their passion for this work. I would also highly recommend Foundation for Families for those existing or long-standing HS/EHS programs that are looking for ways to improve their Program Management and Fiscal Operations (PMFO).
Dave Kontur, Executive Director of the Lucas County Family and Children First Council (EHS Delegate and EHS-CCP Delegate)
Foundations for Families offers EHS-CCP grantees targeted technical assistance and strength-based coaching of key start-up staff. We have helped multiple organizations design, plan for, and draft successful proposals for EHS-CCP. Please be in touch with Amy Augenblick, Executive Director, at 703-599-4329 or Augenblick@foundationsforfamilies.com to learn about how we can support you and your program.