Supporting High Quality Services for Children and Families


Operating on national and regional levels, the federal early childhood training and technical assistance (T/TA) system will support high quality services for children and families. All entities will:

  • Target services for children birth to age 5, and their families, with supports for expectant families and school-age children;
  • Promote the provision of comprehensive services and school readiness with strategies that are age, developmentally, culturally and linguistically appropriate;
  • Provide high-quality, evidenced-based, practical resources and approaches that build capacity and create sustainable early childhood practices at the regional, state, and local levels;
  • Scaffold timely and relevant guidance, training, materials and professional development activities to account for different stakeholder needs and levels of readiness;
  • Emphasize use of data for continuous quality improvement, coordination, and integration across the broader early childhood sector;
  • Build upon previous evaluations and lessons learned from the Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care T/TA; and
  • Include evaluation of the quality of the assistance provided and the degree to which early care and education programs, staff, children and family’s needs are met.

Source: Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families

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MIECHV Funding Has Central Role in Expanding Home Visiting Services to Vulnerable Families


CLASP, together with the Center for American Progress, interviewed 20 state and 2 tribal MIECHV grantees to understand how federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) dollars are being used to provide evidence-based home visiting services to children and parents, and to identify innovative approaches, successes, and challenges. The results are outlined in a report, An Investment in our Future: How Federal Home Visiting Funding Provides Critical Support for Parents and Children, and in-depth state profiles (accessed through our interactive map below).

Interviews with 22 states and tribal organizations revealed the breadth of innovation and success across the country as a result of MIECHV funding, including the:

  • Expansion of evidence-based home visiting to serve more vulnerable children and families in high-risk communities and keep them engaged in the programs.
  • Establishment of systems within home visiting communities and across services that support children and families, ensuring that families receive the best services to meet their needs.
  • Provision of systemic training, technical assistance, and professional development to support the home visiting workforce.
  • Creation of data collection systems, allowing grantees to analyze, evaluate, and report on data to demonstrate achieved child and family outcomes and improve program quality.
  • Coordination amongst home visiting and other early childhood programs as well as the creation of centralized intake systems, which are collaborative approaches to engaging, recruiting, and enrolling families in home visiting programs across programs and organizations.
  • Use of promising practices and other innovations in order to better serve at-risk populations with unmet needs.

Source: CLASP: Policy Solutions That Work for Low-Income People

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Committee on Supporting the Parents of Young Children 


An ad hoc committee will conduct a study that will inform a national framework for strengthening the capacity of parents of young children birth to age 8. The committee will examine the research to identify a core set of parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAPs) tied to positive parent-child interactions and child outcomes, as well as evidence-based strategies that support these KAPs universally and across a variety of specific populations. These KAPs and strategies will be brought together to inform a set of concrete policy recommendations, across the private and publicsectors within the health, human services, and education systems. Recommendations will be tied to promoting the wide-scale adoption of the effective strategies and the enabling of the identified KAPs. The report will also identify the most pressing research gaps and recommend three to five key priorities for future research endeavors in the field. This work will primarily inform policy makers, a wide array of child and family practitioners, private industry, and researchers. The resulting report will serve as a “roadmap” for the future of parenting and family support policies, practices, and research in this country.

The committee will address the following questions:

  1. What are the core parenting KAPs (i.e., knowledge, attitudes, practices), as identified in the literature, that support healthy child development, birth to age 8? Do core parenting KAPs differ by specific characteristics of children (e.g., age), parents, or contexts?
  2. What evidence-informed strategies to strengthen parenting capacity, including family engagement strategies implemented in various settings (e.g., homes, schools, health care centers, early childhood centers), have been shown to be effective with parents of young children, prenatal to age 8? Are there key periods of intervention that are more effective in supporting parenting capacity, beginning in high school or earlier?
  3. What types of strategies work at the universal/preventive, targeted, and intensive levels (e.g., media campaigns, information sharing, text reminders; social support groups, self-monitoring and tracking online; modeling and feedback coaching, intensive home visiting), and for which populations of parents and children? The committee will consider the appropriate balance betweenstrategies tailored to unique parent and child needs and common strategies that can be effective and accepted with parents across groups.
  4. What are the most pronounced barriers, including lack of incentives, to strengthening parenting capacity and retention in effective programs and systems designed to improve developmental, health, and education outcomes for children birth to age 8? How can programs and systems be designed to remove these barriers?
  5. Are there evidence-based models of systems and programs that support parenting capacity and build upon existing assets of families, including underserved, low income families of color?
  6. What are 3-5 research areas that warrant further investigation, in order to inform policy and practice?

Source: Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science

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Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes for Young Children with Disabilities and their Families


Purpose and Audience: Building and sustaining high-quality early intervention and preschool special education systems is a complex and ongoing process for state agencies. To support states, the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center), funded by The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), has developed a framework that addresses the question, “What does a state need to put into place in order to encourage/support/require local implementation of evidence-based practices that result in positive outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families?”

The purpose of the ECTA System Framework is to guide state Part C and Section 619 Coordinators and their staff in:

  • evaluating their current systems;
  • identifying potential areas for improvement, and;
  • developing more effective, efficient systems that support implementation of evidence-based practices.

States vary significantly in their Part C and Section 619 service delivery systems and the framework was developed to accommodate this variation. It is intended to enhance the capacity of Part C and Section 619 state staff to:

  • Understand the characteristics of an effective service system;
  • Lead or actively participate in system improvement efforts, including cross-agency work; and
  • Build more effective systems of services and programs that will improve outcomes for young children with disabilities and families served under Part C and Section 619 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Source: : The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

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10 Ways to Promote the Language and Communication Skills of Infants and Toddlers | FPG MTBT


Early language and communication skills are crucial for children’s success in school and beyond. Language and communication skills include the ability to understand others (i.e., receptive language) and express oneself (i.e., expressive language) using words, gestures, or facial expressions. Children who develop strong language and communication skills are more likely to arrive at school ready to learn.1 They also are less likely to have difficulties learning to read and are more likely to have higher levels of achievement in school.2

During the first years of life, children’s brains are developing rapidly and laying the foundation for learning. The interactions that children have with adults influence how children develop and learn.3 As a result, early childhood educators have a prime opportunity to provide children with interactions that can support children’s growth and development, particularly their language and communication skills.

As past research shows, when teachers provide children with higher levels of language stimulation during the first years of life, children have better language skills.4,5 When teachers ask children questions, respond to their vocalizations, and engage in other positive talk, children learn and use more words. A study found that one third of the language interactions between teachers and children were the type that support children’s language development, while the other two-thirds included less complex language such as directions, general praise, and rhetorical questions.6 Promoting more high-quality language interactions between children and adults provides children with the kinds of experiences that can foster their growth in language and communication.

This guide describes 10 practices that early childhood educators can use to support the development of language and communication skills of infants and toddlers. Because research supports the importance of adult-child interactions for infants and toddlers,5 the practices are designed to be done one-on-one or in small groups. Each practices draws upon the types of interactions that research suggests promotes language and communication skills. These interactions include:

  • Responding to children’s vocalizations and speech
  • Engaging in joint attention with children
  • Eliciting conversations with children
  • Talking with children more
  • Using complex grammar and rich vocabulary
  • Providing children with more information about objects, emotions, or events.

These interactions benefit children from a variety of language and cultural backgrounds, including children who are dual language learners. Children who are dual language learners may sometimes feel socially isolated and have difficulty communicating their wants and needs.7 Educators may find the practices presented in this guide useful for helping dual language learners feel more socially connected and communicate better. Educators interested in learning more about supporting dual language learners will find additional information in the resources presented at the end of the guide.

Source: Frank Porter Graham Institute on Child Development, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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Welcome to the FPG Portal | FPG Child Development Institute Portal

The Professional Development Center at FPG (PDC@FPG) provides people and organizations with opportunities to expand capacity, knowledge, and skills in areas related to child development and learning. PDC offerings are based on evidence-based content and strategies for supporting adult learners. Professional development options include: Institutes and Intensive Workshops, Online Learning, Technical Assistance Services, and Study Visits. via Welcome to the FPG Portal | FPG Child Development Institute Portal.

Tackling Toxic Stress

May 31, 2013

“Tackling Toxic Stress,” a multi-part series of journalistic articles planned and commissioned by the Center, will examine how policymakers, researchers, and practitioners in the field are re-thinking services for children and families based on the science of early childhood development and an understanding of the consequences of adverse early experiences and toxic stress.

The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child created the categories of positive, tolerable and toxic stress to help describe the body’s stress response and its varied effects on health, learning, and behavior.

Stories in the series will describe how broader understanding of toxic stress has affected the programs and strategies of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the federal government, academic researchers, community agencies, and others. New stories will be posted as they become available.

Source: Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

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Better Child Care: eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care Activities Database

Looking for fun, hands-on activities to include in your child care curriculum? You can find lots of learning activities for young children here.

Click the View List tab and you will get a listing of all activities in alphabetic order.

Click the View Single tab and you will get more details on a specific activity.

Click the Search tab and you will be able to look for specific activities by child age, topic, skills learned, and season.

Source: eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care Activities Database

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Request for Proposals from States and Support Organizations (Doing What Works In Action)

The Doing What Works Initiative (DWW) is seeking proposals for Implementation Awards to be used for the integration of DWW resources into professional learning or school improvement support processes. The goal of the awards is to develop a deeper understanding of how educators can be better supported to integrate evidence-based educational resources, such as those offered by DWW, into their everyday work.

Source: Doing What Works In Action

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Research Synthesis Points on Quality Inclusive Practices

In April, 2009, two national organizations working on behalf of young children—the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)—completed two years of historic and collaborative work with the release of a joint position statement on inclusion1. This document provides brief descriptions and supporting references for the evidence-based and promising practices that support early childhood inclusion.

Source: National Professional Development Center on Inclusion

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