Early Head Start–Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) build on the existing strengths of Early Head Start and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) subsidies, which allow low-income families to access high-quality child care. Through grantee partnerships with an array of local child care providers, EHS-CCP maximizes the impact of federal grant and subsidy dollars to expand access to high-quality child care and comprehensive supports for low-income infants and toddlers. In addition to benefiting these children and their families, the program improves the quality of care for all children in participating child care centers and family child care homes—even those who are not receiving subsidies.
Research shows the first few years of life are an important time for children’s learning and development, but many low-income families lack access to affordable, high-quality 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 it reaches just a fraction of eligible children. EHS-CCP was created in 2013 to address this gap in service.
Using EHS-CCP funds, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards competitive grants to Early Head Start grantees that partner with local child care providers—both center-based and in-home providers—that serve low-income children receiving child care subsidies and agree to meet Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS). Early Head Start grantees help their child care partners to meet these 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.
In addition to improving the overall quality of care, EHS-CCP funds benefit child care providers 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-to-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 more than 1,400 child care centers and 1,000 in-home child care providers across the country to provide enhanced quality child care for 32,000 infants and toddlers. These partnerships also benefited an additional 7,800 children in centers and classrooms that received EHS-CCP funding. In this way, EHS-CCP’s innovative and efficient approach of layering EHS-CCP and child care subsidy funds has been shown to improve the quality of care across communities while also expanding access to these essential services for low-income children.
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.