In fall 2018, the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5). The opportunity was open to all states and funding is intended to strengthen collaboration and coordination within their early care and education mixed delivery system. Prior rounds of Preschool Development Grants focused on enhancing preschool program infrastructure and the delivery of high-quality preschool programs and services to children. PDG B-5 is different, with a broader focus on birth through age 5 systems and services. Estimated total funding is $242,500,000.
PDG B-5 Framework
In September 2018, ED and HHS presented a technical assistance webinar to states to describe the PDG B-5 opportunity. If you’re looking to ground yourself in the purpose and requirements of the PDG B-5 grant, this webinar is a good place to start.
The PDG B-5 grant focuses on five core activities. All grantees are required to allocate funding to all five activities.
- Activity One: States will conduct or update a statewide birth through five needs assessment.
- Activity Two: States will develop or update a statewide strategic plan for the B-5 mixed delivery system.
- Activity Three: States will implement activities to maximize parental choice and knowledge about the state’s mixed delivery system.
- Activity Four: States will implement activities to share best practices among early care and education (ECE) providers in the state to increase collaboration and efficiency. This activity points to a specific need to focus on improving children’s transitions to elementary school.
- Activity Five: States will implement activities to improve the quality of ECE programs in the state.
The structure of PDG B-5 is such that grantees may only implement Activity Five after the state has completed Activity One and Activity Two. Because of this requirement, states that already have a robust needs assessment or strategic plan in place might end up spending more time on Activity Five than states that are conducting a new assessment or creating a new strategic plan.
Timing of PDG B-5 Funding and Future Funding Opportunities
The end of 2018 will likely bring the announcement of PDG B-5 grant awards. In fact, the PDG B-5 FOA states that the anticipated project start date is December 17, 2018, so the awards should come any day. The length of the PDG B-5 grant is 12 months. Renewal Grants are slated to follow this one-year grant in years two to four. PDG B-5 grantees will be eligible to apply, as will prior awardees of Preschool Development and Expansion grants.
Resources and Support for PDG B-5 Implementation
During the proposal development period, BUILD Initiative provided resources to states to assist with proposal development. Many of these resources will be helpful to states planning for and implementing a PDG B-5 grant. BUILD’s compilation of PDG B-5 resources and information covers an array of topics related to supporting vulnerable populations, systems improvements, and the financial aspect of B-5 system coordination.
Foundations for Families team members provide expert, tailored services and technical assistance to grantees and service providers in the early care and education field, spanning from local entities to state departments. Our team embraces an approach to systems development that begins with understanding and exploring the uniqueness of each client’s needs. Learn more about our consulting services and our specific PDG B-5 grant support.
Embracing the PDG B-5 Opportunity Locally and Statewide
The PDG B-5 grant presents an opportunity for states to streamline and strengthen their ECE system. If you are service provider in a state awarded a grant, consider how you might provide input into the assessment and planning that may take place. Voices from on-the-ground service providers will be an important consideration for state entities implementing a PDG B-5 grant.
States awarded funding will leverage a fast-moving 12-month grant to implement their planned activities. This work will be foundational to future Renewal Grant funding opportunities, which may present opportunities to deepen the PDG B-5 investments and focus further on quality improvement. What about states that applied but are not awarded a PDG B-5 grant? In these instances, there remains an opportunity to leverage stakeholder engagement and seek outside funding or leverage existing programs to complete the most essential aspects of their PDG B-5 proposal. Perhaps this is the assessment, or the strategic planning component, which are foundational to coordinating systems statewide.
Whether or not your state is awarded a PDG B-5 grant, we would be glad to talk with you about your state’s needs. Please be in touch to explore our services and how we can help you to plan for, coordinate, and complete PDG B-5 activities.