As we head into the new year there are Head Start/Early Head Start programs in all stages of DRS. Your program might have just submitted a DRS grant proposal, be working on a proposal for an active DRS competition, or awaiting your program’s opportunity to compete. Let’s talk about how this all breaks down as we look ahead to 2020.

Programs that just submitted a DRS grant proposal (DRS Round 8). DRS Round 8, Head Start/Early Head Start grants up for competition this past fall, was the biggest round of DRS that we’ve seen yet. Applications were due in November and December and applicants can likely expect to receive notification of awards in the spring, with new grants beginning in July 1, 2020.

Programs that are working on a proposal for an active DRS competition. There are 12 active Head Start/Early Head Start and Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grant competitions. Applications for these grants are due January 13, 2020. Some of these competitions are for replacement grants (where CDI currently operates the program) though most are DRS. The anticipated start date for these grants is July 1, 2020. It seems that applications for these grants could be reviewed around the same time as DRS Round 8 and thus notice of award may come in the spring.

Programs with a deficiency, awaiting competition. If your program is in or entering its fifth year and you didn’t compete in DRS Round 8, then it is most likely that your program’s grant will be up for competition in the next round (DRS Round 9). The timing of DRS grant competitions is somewhat unpredictable. In past years there have been one or two rounds of DRS each year. Following these patters, the next competitions could be spring and fall or perhaps fall only. The best indicator of when Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) will be released is the forecast on There are not any DRS grants currently forecasted.

What about programs with a deficiency but not in their fourth or fifth year? You will most likely have to wait for a future round of DRS for your grant competition. Consider using the time to your advantage to make sure areas of noncompliance and deficiencies have been addressed. Take proactive steps, such as updating your conducting a new community assessment. You’ll need the most up-to-date information to ensure your program design is the most competitive when it comes time for the application process.

What else could be on the horizon for DRS in 2020? In August 2019, OHS released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) with proposed changes to the CLASS condition of DRS. A final rule has not yet been published. If and when a new rule is published, it generally goes in effect no less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Learn more about the Rulemaking Process and look out for announcements from OHS.

There could be a lot of DRS activity in 2020! If your program anticipates a need for community assessment or grant writing or coaching services please feel free to be in touch. Our team has worked with Head Start/Early Head Start grantees across the country to prepare for, design, draft, and submit winning grant applications. Reach out to learn more about the array of services available to your program.

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