Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a Funding Announcement Opportunity (FOA) for the new Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) program. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories are eligible to apply for grants by the October 15 deadline.

“We applaud the efforts made by Congress to establish and fund this program, as well as the work of HHS to implement the law and offer this opportunity,” said First Five Years Fund (FFYF) executive director Sarah Rittling. “FFYF encourages states, territories, and commonwealths to apply for the grants. We look forward to working with leaders in Washington to ensure the program is effectively implemented and adequately funded so that states can do the crucial work of coordinating, improving quality, and expanding access to early childhood education.”

Authorized under the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the $250 million PDG B-5 program will support improvements to states’ existing early childhood system by building on federal, state, and local investments in early learning and care. These competitive grants will also provide states with funding to enhance coordination among existing early care and learning programs in a mixed delivery model.

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at HHS, in consultation with the Department of Education, will consider applications from eligible jurisdictions starting today. The application can be accessed here. ACF expects to award 40 grants of at least $500,000 and no more than $10,000,000.

The ACF Office of Child Care and ED’s Office of Early Learning will conduct a pre- application webinar/teleconference on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 from 2-3:30 pm, EST.

PDG B-5 grants are an important step in advancing the bipartisan goals of ESSA. By helping states improve existing early learning services and more efficiently use federal, state, local, and non-governmental resources, PDG B-5 grants will ensure more children have the opportunity to experience high-quality early childhood education. Children will also benefit from improved transitions between early care and learning programs and kindergarten.

When ESSA became law in December of 2015, it authorized the creation of this new Preschool Development Grant (PDG) program, demonstrating a deliberate effort to foster connections across early learning programs and between the early learning and K-12 systems within states. The name “Preschool Development Grant” was previously used for similar federal grants (Legacy PDG) created by the Obama administration and issued under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. However, the new PDG B-5 grants are an innovative bipartisan program created by Congress, and are distinct across purpose, eligibility, duration, matching requirements, use of funds and reporting requirements.

The First Five Years Fund provides knowledge, data and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all. FFYF helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children.