Early Head Start—Child Care Partnerships (EHS—CCP) are an innovative model that builds on the existing strengths of Early Head Start and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) subsidies to expand access to high-quality child care and comprehensive supports for low-income infants and toddlers.

Research shows that the first few years of life are an important time for children’s learning and development, but many low-income families lack access to high-quality, affordable early care and education for their infants and toddlers. Early Head Start  provides high-quality early education and comprehensive development supports for low-income infants and toddlers, but reaches only 7 percent of eligible children.

EHS-CCP was created in 2013 to expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers and provide more comprehensive and integrated services for low-income children and families. Using EHS-CCP funds, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards competitive grants to support Early Head Start grantees that partner with local child providers to help them improve their quality. Both child care centers and in-home child care providers can participate in EHS-CCP partnerships, if they serve low-income children receiving child care subsidies and agree to meet Head Start Performance Standards. Early Head Start grantees work with their child care partners to help them meet Head Start Performance Standards and provide comprehensive wrap-around services, such as developmental screenings, formula, and diapers, to meet children’s health, nutrition, and other comprehensive development needs. EHS-CCP funds can help child care providers improve quality in a variety of ways, including paying costs for supplies, equipment, and facilities improvements; improving compensation, professional development and training for child care staff; and reducing class sizes and adult: child ratios. Federal funds also support technical assistance to help grantees implement the EHS-CCP partnerships successfully and with fidelity.

In 2017, 275 Early Head Start grantees partnered with over 1,000 child care centers and 1,400 in-home child care providers across the country to provide enhanced quality child care for 32,000 infants and toddlers. These programs also benefited an additional 7,800 children in centers and classrooms that received EHS-CCP funding.  

EHS-CCP offers an innovative and efficient approach to maximizing the impact of federal funding by layering EHS-CCP and child care subsidy funds to improve the quality of care offered to low-income children who receive child care subsidies. In addition to benefiting these children and their families, the program’s benefits improve the quality of care for all children in participating child care centers and family child care homes – even those not receiving subsidies.

FFYF supports funding to help address the needs of young children from low-income families and is committed to identifying opportunities that will result in more children accessing high-quality learning opportunities. FFYF has a plan to leverage public support for early childhood education and care, which includes building upon the investment in Head Start and the expansion of the EHS—CCP initiative.