Head Start Funds More Hours of Service for Programs Across the Country


The Department of Health and Human Services is awarding approximately $290 million to 665 Head Start and Early Head Start programs to expand the number of children-attended programs that offer full school day and full school year services.

Congress allocated these funds as a down payment toward ensuring that nearly all preschool-age children in Head Start attend programs that operate for a   full day and full school year.  This investment complements new Head Start standards announced earlier this year, which require nearly all Head Start programs to offer full school day and full school year services by 2021. While these funds will ensure that communities have some full day and year slots, sustained and increased investment is needed to ensure that all Head Start children have access to a full school day and year of services.

“Strong and mounting evidence from research tells us when children attend high quality programs for more days and longer hours, they are better prepared for school and have improved outcomes,” said Linda Smith, HHS deputy assistant secretary for early childhood development.  “We are pleased Congress has appropriated these funds for young children served by the Head Start program.”

Research shows programs that run for fewer hours and fewer days may not have enough time to provide frequent intentional teaching in small groups and individualized instruction, or to provide necessary comprehensive services. Long summer breaks can also undermine the gains that children make during the program year.

This supplemental funding allows Head Start programs to choose the models that work best for their communities when designing programs with more total annual hours.  Programs work with parents in deciding to add days at the end of the year, to shorten the summer gap, to add more hours per day or a combination of both.

“Increasing the duration of Head Start programs is the right direction to help children, and it’s also more responsive to the needs of working families” said Mark Greenberg, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. “The funding provided by Congress will help to take an important step forward in strengthening the Head Start program.”

The $290 million in ongoing operational funding will become part of the grantee’s base funding subject to appropriations.

To learn more about Head Start, please visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs/.

Source: Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services

Head Start is underfunded and unequal, according to a new study


Head Start, the federal program that provides education, nutrition and health services to low-income children and their families, is not adequately funded and is administered so differently from state to state that children do not benefit equally, according to a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research.

The 478-page report, “State(s) of Head Start,” released Wednesday, calls for a near tripling of the program’s budget — to more than $20 billion — to fully meet its goals for serving 3- and 4-year-old children living in poverty. It also points to wide gaps in Head Start programs related to quality of instruction, amount of instruction, access to programs and levels of funding.

“Despite decades of bipartisan support for Head Start, we conclude that the program suffers from inadequate overall public investment,” the report’s authors wrote. “Simply put, the program is not funded at a level that would make it possible to provide child development services of sufficient quality and duration to achieve its goals while serving all eligible children even at ages 3 and 4, much less for those under age 3.”

The report, which compiled program data from 50 states, the District of Columbia and six territories, provides a deeper understanding of who Head Start serves and where it operates best, said Steven Barnett, executive director of NIEER and one of the study’s authors. But it also makes clear, he says, how and where the program has fallen short.

“The percentage of poor kids that Head Start serves nationally could be as low as a quarter, meaning that 75 percent of the children in poverty are not getting Head Start,” Barnett said in an interview. “I don’t think people understand that. And then if you say that the intended population is not just kids who are poor, but kids who are near-poor, then I think people don’t understand that that’s half the children in the country.”

The report arrives as Donald Trump prepares to step into the White House amid uncertainty about funding priorities in the new administration. The Health and Human Services Department, which is expected to be led by Trump’s nominee, Tom Price (R-Georgia), runs Head Start.

Barnett said that while there are questions about the new administration’s plans, he believes there is reason to be optimistic…

Source: The Washington Post

Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/head-start-is-underfunded-and-unequal-according-to-a-new-study/2016/12/14/54b01b24-c095-11e6-897f-918837dae0ae_story.html

Continuing Resolution is Signed, Keeps Federal Government Funded through April 2017


After last-minute action on Friday by the U.S. House and Senate, along with President Obama’s signature this morning, the federal government has a temporary spending bill that keeps the doors open for another 20 weeks, through April 28. The first “Continuing Resolution” (CR) for the federal Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), which began October 1, 2016, expired on December 9. 

This temporary spending bill is the last action the current Congress took before adjourning for the year. The spending bill for the rest of FY17 (covering the period of April 29 to September 30), along with an FY18 bill, will be taken up by the newly elected Congress in the spring. Based on the proposals that Republican leaders in the House and Senate have made, those budgets could make deep cuts in core programs intended to address the needs of the 13.5 percent of Americans who live in poverty–woefully underfunding programs like Head Start, job training, and Pell grants that help low-income families, workers, and students. At the same time, Republicans will likely seek to sharply increase the budget for defense spending and reduce taxes for the richest Americans. As the new president and Congress act on the budget next spring, they must remember that investments in education, employment, young children, and anti-poverty strategies are crucial to America’s future. 

In the interim, CRs, which are used in the absence of an approved federal spending bill, typically continue the funding for discretionary programs at a rate or formula consistent with the previous fiscal year. This CR includes a 0.19 percent across-the-board cut, which is compounded by the fact that the FY16 budget was the lowest in a decade when adjusted for inflation—meaning that this latest CR represents a significant effective decrease. 

Specific examples of the consequences of temporary funding levels in the bill include the following:

  • Reducing current child care funding, which is already sharply inadequate, leaves states without the resources necessary to implement the critical improvements passed by Congress in 2014 to improve the health, safety, and quality of child care and to provide low-income working families with more stable child care assistance. Already, the number of children receiving child care funded through the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant program has fallen to a 16-year low, with just 1.4 million children being served in 2014, and more will surely lose access without new funding. 
  • Fewer workers will receive the skills training and postsecondary credentials they need to move toward better jobs, since this year’s funding level for adult education is more than 6 percent below the FY 2017 amounts authorized in 2014’s bipartisan reauthorization of the federal workforce development law. Moreover, current funding for key adult and youth employment and training is more than 3 percent lower than WIOA-authorized levels for next year. This would continue a decline in funding for these programs of more than 30 percent in real terms over the past 15 years.
  • Communities of color have been hit especially hard by federal disinvestment in key programs such as child care, workforce training, and Head Start. Youth of color, particularly out of school youth, simply don’t have the resources they need to succeed, and young children cannot get the start they need and deserve without help. With children of color soon to be half of all children—and already half of children under five—their success matters deeply to America’s future.

Our country can help offset the damaging prevalence of poverty and economic insecurity by making a strong commitment to addressing poverty. Such a commitment should start with the enactment next year of FY17 and FY18 spending bills that expand and invest in the crucial education, child care, safety net, and workforce development programs that help people get and keep a job, stabilize families, and promote success. In addition, policymakers must focus resources and attention on those who face the most barriers—children, youth, and families of color, immigrant families, and those whose opportunities are limited by pervasive poverty in their neighborhoods and communities. 

Unfortunately, the current statements of Congressional leaders suggest that the spring’s budget could reflect just the opposite priorities—tax cuts for the richest Americans and sharply eroded help for everyone else. CLASP intends to redouble efforts to ensure policymakers make the right decisions for those children, families, and individuals struggling to make ends meet. To that end, we are working closely with the Coalition on Human Needs on a variety of efforts, including this sign-on letter that the Coalition’s “Save for All” campaign will be sending in early January to the president and members of Congress. Hundreds of national, state, and local organizations have already taken the concrete step of signing on, and you may do so here

Source: CLASP

Webinar: Boosting Your Program’s Bottom Line: Ideas for Differentiation and New Revenue Streams

January 24, 2017
2:00 – 3:30pm ET

Let’s face it: Quality early childhood programs are expensive to operate, and the competition for enrollment can be fierce. We’re always looking for new ideas to boost our program’s revenue and make our program stand out from the crowd. Child care marketing genius, Kris Murray, will join us to help you learn the ingenuity you need to earn additional revenue and differentiate your program with solutions families will crave.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to define your program’s “key value differentiators” to attract more families to your program;
  • How to identify additional products and services that will bring in more revenue than tuition and other funding without “fundraising”,
  • Strategies for launching your new products and services;
  • How to locate resources to support your new revenue boosting campaigns.

All sessions are 1.5 hours long, and include a brief announcement from our sponsor.

Can’t participate in our webinars at the appointed time? Never fear! All of the webinars are recorded. To view the recording, simply register now and you will receive an email with a link to the recording when it is ready to be viewed. You can still download the certificate by watching the recording to the end when the certificate link is announced and displayed on the screen.

Only 1,000 people at one time can attend our webinars, but registration often tops 4,000. Only the first 1,000 people to click the link to attend the webinar will be able to get in. We start the webinars 30 minutes in advance of the start time. Arrive early to make sure you get in.

Please be advised that you will only be eligible for the great door prizes if you participate in the live session.

You can earn .2 CEUs for each webinar. The cost is $15 paid to University of Oklahoma online when you apply. Learn more here: Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from University of Oklahoma

Understanding Subsidy Eligibility Policies in the New CCDF Final Rule, Thursday, December 15, at 3:00 p.m.

Please join the Office of Child Care on Thursday, December 15, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time for our second webinar in this series. The webinar will focus on implementing new Child Care and Development Fund subsidy policies, including continuity of care and graduated phase-out.

Participants can register for the webinar via this Web link.

Please note: The date for the third webinar in the series has been changed to January 12, 2017; the timeframe will still be 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and the topic of that webinar will be Consumer Education and Parental Choice.

From November 4 e-mail: CCDF Topical Webinar Series Begins November 17.

As a part of our ongoing effort to support Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program grantees with the work of implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 and the new CCDF program regulations, the Office of Child Care is launching a new webinar series that will feature monthly webinars focusing on specific CCDF policy topics. The multifaceted discussion on each webinar will include a presentation on the policy and requirements around a particular topic; a conversation focused on State, Territory, or Tribal experiences; and suggested resources and next steps that CCDF administrators and partners can take as they move toward full implementation of the new policies.

Webinars will be held on the third Thursday of every month from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). They will also be recorded and posted on line for those who are unable to join the live presentation. The first three dates for the webinars are as follows:

  • November 17 at 3 p.m. ET—Health and Safety Standards and Training Requirements
  • December 15 at 3 p.m. ET—12-Month Eligibility and Graduated Phase-Out
  • January 12 at 3 p.m. ET—Consumer Education and Parental Choice (Originally scheduled for January 19).

 The registration link for the third webinar will be forthcoming.

Achieving Kindergarten Readiness for All Our Children: A Funder’s Guide to Early Childhood Development from Birth to Five


When every child has the opportunity to meet his or her full potential, we strengthen families, our communities, and the nation’s economic future. Remarkably, one in four American children come from low-income families and enter kindergarten not ready to learn and, as a result, fall behind from the very start. Our nation pays a heavy price through larger taxpayer burdens in remedial and special education, more costly health interventions, and increased criminal justice expenditures. Research shows that for a fraction of those costs, preventive investments in high-quality early childhood programs can avoid the high price of remediation and bring enormous benefits to the economy. Further, early intervention strengthens families and accelerates a child’s ability to learn, thus increasing the effectiveness of K–12 education.

America vastly underinvests in early childhood programs that work, especially in the critical period from pregnancy to age three. This guide offers numerous specific, evidence-based public investment opportunities private donors and government can pursue immediately to make an impact. We cannot afford to wait. Philanthropy, business, and government must work together to expand early childhood opportunities so that all children arrive at school ready to learn and with an equal chance to achieve success throughout their lives.

Source: The Bridgespan Group

Available at: http://www.bridgespan.org/Publications-and-Tools/Youth-Development/early-childhood-funder-guide-2015.aspx#.VkvpQdDMD2A

2013 State Preschool Yearbook Finds Need for Renewed Investment


Today NIEER released its 2013 State Preschool Yearbookat CentroNía/DC Bilingual Public Charter School in D.C. This newest installment of the Yearbook series covers policies, enrollment, and funding for state-funded pre-K programs in the 2012-2013 school year. Joining NIEER Director Steve Barnett at the event were Myrna Peralta, President/CEO of CentroNía; Roberto Rodriguez of the White House Domestic Policy Council; and Rob Dugger of ReadyNation/America’s EdgeClick for the full report.

This year’s report found states still struggling to recover from the economic downturn that did so much damage to preschool programs in the previous year. As Barnett noted, “Our nation has emerged from the recession, but preschool-age children are being left to suffer its effects. A year ago, our data showed a half-billion-dollar cut in funding for state pre-K and stalled enrollment. For 2012-2013, we find that enrollment is down and funding per child, while up slightly, remains stalled at near-historic lows.”

Particularly of concern, the report found that:

  • In 2012-2013, enrollment decreased by about 9,000 4-year-olds from the prior year across the 40 states plus D.C.[1] that offer pre-K. This is the first enrollment decrease nationally NIEER has observed.
  • Slightly more than 1.3 million children attended state-funded pre-K, 1.1 million of them at age 4, accounting for four percent of 3-year-olds and 28 percent of 4-year-olds.
  • On the plus side, 20 states increased enrollment while 11 states reduced enrollment.
  • One program improved against NIEER’s Quality Standards Benchmarks, while two fell back.
  • Also good news, for the first time, every state-funded pre-K program had comprehensive early learning standards. This is first of the quality standards benchmarks to be met by all.
  • Four states, plus one of Louisiana’s three programs, met all 10 benchmarks for state pre-K quality standards, the same as in the previous year. This remains down from the peak of five states in 2010-11. Weak program standards persist in too many states, including lax standards for teacher qualifications in 23 programs and no limits on class size and/or teacher child ratio in a few large states–California, Florida and Texas.
  • Total state funding for pre-K programs increased by $30 million in real dollars, about a 1 percent increase.
  • State pre-K funding per child increased by $36 inflation-adjusted from the previous year, to $4,026.
  • Only 15 states could be verified as providing enough per-child funding to meet all 10 benchmarks for quality standards. As only 19 percent of the children enrolled in state-funded pre-K attend those programs, it seems likely that most children served by state pre-K attend programs where funding per child is inadequate to provide a quality education.

Source: Preschool Matters… Today!

Available at: http://preschoolmatters.org/2014/05/13/2013-state-preschool-yearbook-finds-need-for-renewed-investment/

U.S. GAO – Early Learning and Child Care: Federal Funds Support Multiple Programs with Similar Goals


What GAO Found

The federal investment in early learning and child care is administered through 45 programs that provide or may support related services to children from birth through age 5, as well as five tax provisions that subsidize private expenditures in this area. Among the 45 programs, 12 have an explicit program purpose of providing early learning or child care services. These programs differ in size, target population, and structure. For example, most of them obligated less than $500 million each in fiscal year 2012, while the largest program, Head Start, obligated approximately $8 billion in that year. The remaining 33 programs identified in GAO’s 2012 report permit the use of funds for delivering or supporting early learning or child care services, but this is not their explicit purpose. These programs include multipurpose block grants, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, for which early learning or child care is not a primary purpose but which may nevertheless provide significant funding for child care. They also include programs that may allow funds to be used for early learning or child care, but these are not among their primary goals and do not typically account for a significant portion of available program funds. Finally, five federal tax provisions support early learning and child care by forgoing tax revenue to subsidize the private purchase of child care services. These five tax expenditures accounted for at least $3.1 billion of forgone tax revenue for the U.S. Treasury in fiscal year 2012.

The multiple programs that compose the federal investment in early learning and child care are administered by multiple agencies and include programs that have similar goals and potential for both duplication and service gaps. The 45 programs identified in GAO’s 2012 report are concentrated within the Departments of Education (Education) and Health and Human Services (HHS)—the principal administrators of the federal government’s early learning and child care programs—but are also administered by the Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, Justice, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, the General Services Administration, and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Some of these programs overlap in that they have similar goals for children under the age of 5 and are targeted to similar groups of children. For example, five programs, administered by Education and HHS, provide school readiness services to low-income children, and programs in both Education and the Interior provide funding for early learning services for Indian children. Administering similar programs in different agencies can create an environment in which programs may not serve children and families as efficiently and effectively as possible. Although some programs fund similar types of services for similar populations, several factors contribute to difficulty determining whether these programs are duplicative—that is, whether they provide the same services to the same beneficiaries. These factors include differing program structures and eligibility requirements as well as inadequate or missing data. Despite some program overlap and the potential for duplication, it is likely that service gaps exist since these programs generally are not designed to serve all eligible children. Coordinating the administration and evaluation of early learning and child care programs can help mitigate the effects of program overlap and potentially help bridge service gaps.

Why GAO Did This Study

Millions of children under the age of 5 participate each year in federally funded preschool and other early learning programs or receive federally supported child care in a range of settings. Federal programs that funded early learning and child care as an explicit purpose received at least $14.2 billion in federal funding in fiscal year 2012. This testimony discusses existing federally funded programs that provide or support early learning or child care services for children and the extent to which these programs are administered by multiple federal agencies, have similar goals, or provide the same services. It is based on work done for GAO’s 2012 annual report on opportunities to reduce duplication, overlap, and fragmentation in federal government programs (see GAO-12-342SP ), which updated earlier work in this area. For that report, GAO searched the Catalog of Domestic Federal Assistance to identify relevant programs; obtained supplementary information from Education, HHS, and other agencies; and reviewed previous GAO reports. In January 2014, GAO updated information on expenditures for selected programs.

Actions Needed

In its 2012 report, GAO noted that Education and HHS needed to extend their coordination efforts to other agencies with early learning and child care programs. As of December 2013, the agencies had taken initial steps toward greater coordination but need to follow through with their plans to include these other federal agencies in an inter-departmental workgroup.

Source: Government Accountability Office

Available at: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-325T

Office of Head Start Policy


The Office of Head Start (OHS) is moving from indefinite project periods to five-year project periods for all Head Start grantees. This requires changes in OHS funding practices and oversight of Head Start programs. Changes in oversight will include improved communication between federal staff and grantees, as well as ongoing analysis of data to determine the type of support needed by grantees. The main purpose of improved oversight is to demonstrate the quality of program services, the effectiveness of management systems, and the achievement of outcomes for children, families, and communities.

Source: Office of Head Start

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/standards/IMs/2013/resour_im_002_070113.html

Medicaid Financing of Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs: Options, Opportunities, and Challenges


Home visits to new parents and young families help ensure that both mothers and children receive the health services they need to thrive. Home visiting programs vary widely in scope and intensity, but studies of certain models have found them effective at improving outcomes for both new mothers and young children.

Various funding streams — federal, state, and private — support state home visiting programs. Recently, however, in light of Medicaid’s ability to reach so many low- income and at-risk women, interest has been growing in its potential to finance home visiting services for eligible mothers and children.

The Pew Home Visiting Campaign engaged the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) to investigate
how states are using — or could use — Medicaid to finance home visiting services. NASHP conducted a literature review
and a scan of state policies and practices nationwide to identify mechanisms for supporting home visiting services through Medicaid and facilitated an expert meeting at which state and federal government representatives and national home visiting experts discussed the benefits and challenges of different Medicaid funding mechanisms.

Source: Pew Center on the States, Pew Home Visiting Campaign, and National Academy for State Health Policy

Available at: http://www.nashp.org/sites/default/files/medicaid.financing.home_.visiting.programs.pdf