Preventing Suspensions and Expulsions in Early Childhood Settings | An Administrator’s Guide to Supporting All Children’s Success


Purpose of The Guide:

Suspensions and expulsions of young children are not developmentally appropriate practices. Yet, recent data indicate that suspension and expulsion occur regularly in early childhood settings. These exclusionary practices, which disproportionately impact children of color, deprive children of valuable learning experiences and have a negative impact on children’s development that extends into grade school and beyond. Eliminating all forms of exclusion is urgent and vital to preparing all children for success. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Education (ED) have made this a key priority and issued a Joint Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension Policy in Early Childhood Settings.

The purpose of this guide is to provide relevant, specific recommended policies and practices that are actionable and address the underlying root causes and provide effective alternatives. The recommended policies and practices are based on the most important research for eliminating suspensions and expulsions in early childhood settings and were developed with guidance from a panel of national experts.

Using the interactive guide, program leaders can find resources on supporting social-emotional development, reducing challenging behavior, recognizing the role of cultural differences and implicit biases, and more.

The guide is intended for those most likely to make an impact and with a great need for resources: early education program leaders in center-based settings who implement policies and procedures and promote practices; however, anyone seeking to learn more about strategies for eliminating suspension and expulsion in early childhood settings can benefit from using the guide.

Get Started

The Introduction describes the contents of the guide and provides tips for how to get the most out of the guide. The guide can be read from start to finish, or the individual recommended policies and practices can stand alone. We recognize that implementing all recommended policies and practices may be overwhelming and that programmatic changes often need to occur in stages.

To help you prioritize what recommended policies and practices are most necessary and timely to implement in your program, we have developed a self-assessment. The self-assessment is an optional tool that includes a brief questionnaire to help you reflect on your program’s policies, practices, and needs. The results of the self-assessment will help you reflect on your strengths and needs and provide you a roadmap to navigating the guide.

Source: SRI Education’s Center for Learning and Development

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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.

A Healthy Early Childhood Action Plan: Policies for a Lifetime of Well-being


A Healthy Early Childhood Action Plan: Policies for a Lifetime of Well-being highlights more than 40 policy target areas that are key to achieving national goals of reducing toxic stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and improving the lives of millions of children.

Living with prolonged stress and/or adverse experiences can significantly increase a child’s risk for a range of physical, mental and behavioral problems – increasing the likelihood for hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cognitive and developmental disorders, depression, anxiety and a range of other concerns.

Currently, around one-quarter of children ages 5 and younger live in poverty and more than half of all children experience at least one ACE.  According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-quarter of children experience physical abuse (28.3 percent) and substance abuse in the household (26.9 percent) while sexual abuse (24.7 percent for girls and 16 percent for boys) and parent divorce or separation (23.3 percent) are also prevalent.

“More and more studies show investing in early childhood pays off in a lifetime of better health and well-being,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH.  “There are dozens of policy levers we can and should be pushing to ensure all children have high-quality preventive healthcare; safe, stable, nurturing relationships, homes and communities; good nutrition and enough physical activity; and positive early learning experiences.”

The report calls for increased public health engagement in early childhood areas, with a series of recommendations including to:

Build beyond the traditional healthcare system by integrating health and other social supports, including accountable health communities for children, by:

  • Ensuring every child has access to high-quality and affordable healthcare;
  • Building systems to help identify and provide support for children’s needs beyond the traditional medical system, but that have a major impact on health;
  • Focusing on a two generation approach to healthcare – and social service support;
  • Modernizing and expanding the availability of mental health and substance misuse treatment services – for both parents and children;
  • Expanding the focus of a trauma-informed approach across a wider range of federal, state and locally supported services; and
  • Improving services and care coordination for Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs (CYSHCN).

Promote protective, healthy communities and establish expert and technical assistance backbone support to help spread and scale programs nationally and in every state, by:

  • Improving the collection, analysis and integration of child health, well-being and services data to better assess trends and target services and programs;
  • Strengthening the role of federal, state and local health departments as the chief health strategist in communities; and
  • Establishing a support organization in every state that provides expertise and technical assistance.

Increase investments in core, effective early childhood policies and programs, by:

  • Making programs and services that promote early childhood well-being a higher priority to ensure they can be delivered on a scale to help all families (ranging from home visiting programs to child welfare services to increasing economic opportunity for families to child care and early education); and
  • Better aligning systems and financial resources to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health, social services and education services.

The report includes a series of maps showing the status of different states on key trends and policy areas and case studies of evidence-based and model programs, organizations and initiatives—which are putting these recommendations into action—including the Nurse Family Partnership, Family Check Up Models, Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, Good Behavior Game, Child-Parent Center Program, Crittenton Children’s Center at Saint Luke’s Health System, Wholesome Wave, Community Asthma Initiative at Boston Children’s Hospital and many others.

“If we work together across sectors – bringing together the collective energy and resources of diverse partners – we will have a better chance of achieving the common goal of a healthy start for all of America’s children,” said Gail Christopher, chair of TFAH’s Board of Directors and vice president for policy and senior advisor at the WK Kellogg Foundation.  “This report shines a light on many promising policies and programs.  But the question remains whether we can garner the public will to turn the potential into the promise that improves the lives of our next generation.”

The report was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Source: Trust for America’s Health

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IM 15-03 Policy and Program Guidance for the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP)



TO: Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership Grantees and Partners

SUBJECT: Policy and Program Guidance for the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP)

INFORMATION:This Information Memorandum (IM) reinforces the purpose and vision of the Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) and provides policy and program guidance for grantees and their partners.1 This IM specifically addresses various issues and questions raised by grantees during the EHS-CCP orientations and start-up phase of the grants.

The EHS-CCP program will enhance and support early learning settings to provide full-day/full-year, seamless, and comprehensive services that meet the needs of low-income working families and those in school; increase access to high-quality, full-day child care (including family child care); support the development of infants and toddlers through strong relationship-based experiences; and prepare them for the transition into Head Start and preschool. The EHS-CCP is a unique opportunity which brings together the best of Early Head Start and child care through layering of funding to provide comprehensive and continuous services to low-income infants, toddlers, and their families. The EHS-CCP grants will serve as a learning laboratory for the future of high-quality infant/toddler care.

All infants and toddlers attending an EHS-CCP site will benefit from facilities and homes that are licensed and meet safety requirements. All children in classrooms with EHS-CCP-enrolled children will benefit from low teacher-to-child ratios and class sizes, qualified teachers receiving ongoing supervision and coaching to support implementation of curriculum and responsive caregiving, and broad-scale parent engagement activities. While only enrolled EHS-CCP children will be eligible for direct family-specific benefits such as home visits, health tracking and follow-up, and individualized family support services, EHS-CCP programs must operationalize services to ensure there is no segregation or stigmatization of EHS-CCP children due to the additional requirements or services.

The long-term outcomes of the program are:

  1. Sustained, mutually respectful, and collaborative EHS-CCP
  2. A more highly educated and fully qualified workforce to provide high-quality infant/toddler care and education
  3. Increased community supply of high-quality early learning environments and infant/toddler care and education
  4. Well-aligned early childhood policies, regulations, resources, and quality improvement support at national, state, and local levels
  5. Improved family and child well-being and progress toward school readiness

The EHS-CCP brings together the strengths of child care and Early Head Start programs. Child care centers and family child care providers respond to the needs of working families by offering flexible and convenient full-day and full-year services. In addition, child care providers have experience providing care that is strongly grounded in the cultural, linguistic, and social needs of the families and their local communities. However, many child care centers and family child care providers lack the resources to provide the comprehensive services needed to support better outcomes for the nation’s most vulnerable children. Early Head Start is a research-based program that emphasizes the importance of responsive and caring relationships to support the optimal development of infants and toddlers. Early Head Start provides comprehensive family centered services that adhere to the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS)2 to support high-quality learning environments. Integrating Early Head Start comprehensive services and resources into the array of traditional child care and family child care settings creates new opportunities to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, and their families.

Attachment A provides topical policy and program guidance around:

  • Seamless and Comprehensive Full-Day/Full-Year Services
  • Partnership Agreements
  • Layered Funding
  • Child Care Subsidies
  • Citizenship and Immigration Status
  • Child Care Center Ratios and Group Sizes
  • Staffing and Planning Shifts for Staff
  • Staff Qualifications and Credential Requirements
  • Federal Oversight and Monitoring

Please share this IM with your partners and direct any questions to your Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Regional Office.

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of infants and toddlers and their families.

/ Linda K. Smith /
Linda K. Smith
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development
Administration for Children and Families

/ Blanca Enriquez /
Dr. Blanca Enriquez
Office of Head Start

/ Rachel Schumacher /
Rachel Schumacher
Office of Child Care

Source: Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, and Office of Child Care

Available at:

State Early Care and Education Updates 2014


A number of states made notable progress on early care and education this year, expanding investments and improving policies to increase families’ access to child care assistance and prekindergarten programs. However, additional federal and state investments are needed to ensure families in all states have access to high-quality child care and early education that enables parents to work and children to enter school ready to succeed. This fact sheet highlighs some of the key developments in state early care and education policies from the past year.

Source: National Women’s Law Center

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Implementing Policies to Reduce the Likelihood of Preschool Expulsion


By Walter S. Gilliam

Behavior problems during the preschool years are meaningful predictors of continued behavior problems, poor peer standing, and academic difficulties during Kindergarten.1,2 Fortunately, high-quality early education and intervention programs may prevent severe behavior problems in young children from low-income communities and families.3,4 Yet some preschoolers may begin their early education programs with severe behavioral problems already present, potentially limiting their ability to participate fully and benefit from the early educational experience.5

This policy brief examines factors associated with expulsion from Prekindergarten (PK). Recent research has explored issues regarding the rate at which preschoolers (children ages three to four) are expelled from PK programs, as well as some of the factors associated with expulsion and the effectiveness of mental health consultation to reduce the classroom behavior problems that may lead to expulsion. Although several factors that predict an increased likelihood of expulsion have been described, this brief addresses those factors that may inform changes in policy that can be both implemented and regulated.

Source: Foundation for Child Development

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Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership Webinars

Sign up for one of our webinars to learn more about the Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships and how states and communities can plan for this new grant opportunity.

Note: If a webinar title is not clickable, registration has not yet opened for that webinar.

Upcoming Webinars on Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships

  • March 14 1:30pm ET Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships: Getting Started. This session will provide an overview of Establishing Partnerships, Implementing Management Systems, Understanding Policies & Requirements, Facilitating Ongoing Communication, and Sustainability Planning.
  • March 19 1:00pm ET EHS-CC Partnership Examples: What Would Work In Your Community? This session will help you envision partnerships that lead to high quality, full day, full year programs that deliver comprehensive services to infants and toddlers in the unique context of your community.
  • March 20 12:30pm ET How State Policies Can Support Partnerships. This session will highlight areas of subsidy, including eligibility and continuity of care, that can support partnership efforts.
  • March 24 2:00pm ET Comprehensive Services Part I: Curriculum and Assessment. This session will highlight requirements around evidence-based curriculum, ongoing assessment, individualizing, teacher/child interactions, participating in QRIS along with other aspects.
  • March 25 2:00pm ET Comprehensive Services Part II: Health, Mental Health, Nutrition & Disabilities. This session will highlight expectations around health, mental health, nutrition and required services to children with disabilities. The role of child care health consultants will also be highlighted.
  • March 28 2:00pm ET Comprehensive Services Part III: Family/Community engagement. This session will highlight Early Head Start family engagement performance standards and intersections with state child care family engagement practices.
  • March 31 2:00pm ET Maximizing Resources in  Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships/Role of  Governance in Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. This session will describe how applicants can make sound fiscal decisions and maximize resources when there is more than one source of funding.  In addition, the role of Governance will be explored.

Source: Administration for Children and Families

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Low-Income Families and the Cost of Child Care: State Child Care Subsidies, Out-of-Pocket Expenses and the Cliff Effect


Child care subsidies provide assistance for low-income families, often to support work activities. Depending on the state of residence, families’ out-of-pocket expenses can vary widely, both while receiving the subsidy and at the point when families no longer qualify for assistance. In this paper, we look at how state policies affect families’ child care expenses, focusing on the point when families no longer qualify for assistance. We find that when families’ incomes increase just enough to make them ineligible for child care assistance, the potential increase in out-of-pocket child care expenses can be much greater than the increase in income.

Source: The Urban Institute

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State Early Childhood Profiles

NCCP’s Early Childhood Profiles were produced as part of the Improving the Odds for Young Children project. These profiles highlight states’ policy choices that promote health, education, and strong families alongside other contextual data related to the well-being of young children.

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

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Ten myth-busting facts about welfare


Unlike monthly jobs numbers, poverty numbers come out only once a year—and they’ll be rolling out on Tuesday. That means this is the time to talk about the 46.2 million living in poverty. And you can’t talk about poverty without talking about welfare, officially known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

It may come as a surprise, but TANF was never intended to be a comprehensive anti-poverty program. It was designed to be a temporary leg up, but its mission varies greatly from state to state.

Here are a few other facts that may surprise you:

1. States have no legal obligation to support poor families with cash. States have a lot more freedom to do what they want with this program than people realize. In the extreme, states could even decide to get rid of TANF altogether, as Alabama budget cuts threatened to do last year.

2. States are able to set their own rules about who gets TANF and how much, usually reflecting the state’s culture and philosophy about government’s role in helping the poor. Some states believe the poor shouldn’t get help from the government. Whether a family receives TANF assistance and how much they receive depends largely on the state where they live. For example, in Texas, fewer than 1 in 10 poor families receive assistance, compared with almost three out of four in California.

3. Not everyone who is poor gets welfare. The official poverty line is already so low that a family of three with any income over $1,500 a month is not officially poor. And even that is not poor enough to qualify for TANF. To qualify, you need to have income below half the poverty line; in some states, the income limit is much lower. Cash assistance reaches fewer than one in three poor families nationally (about 1.5 percent of the total population).

4. Reducing poverty is not one of TANF’s purposes. The amount families receive from TANF does not come close to lifting them out of poverty. The most a family could receive in the most generous state is still less than half the federal poverty line. A family of three would receive at most about $400 a month in the average state.

5. Even though TANF was intended to assist needy families and promote work, the program devotes relatively few resources to either purpose.

  • In 2010, only 28.8 percent of TANF funds nationally was spent on cash payments to needy families. Less than 8 percent goes to activities that help people find work (including job search, work subsidies, education and training, transportation, individual development accounts, and other work expenses, combined).
  • A whopping 63 percent is spent on other social service programs or child care, or the other two purposes of TANF: preventing out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encouraging the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

6. The amount the federal government gives states for TANF has not changed since 1997. The federal government spends a total of $16.5 billion a year on TANF. This figure does not change with inflation, so it is worth less and less over time. States are obligated to contribute their own funds as well.

7. The program was not responsive to the recession or the recent rise in poverty. During the recession, the share of needy families receiving cash assistance fell. The number of families receiving cash assistance grew, but the number of poor families grew faster.

  • While unemployment rates doubled, the number of families receiving cash assistance grew by only 13 percent.
  • The poverty rate increased from 11 percent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2011.
  • Child poverty rose from 16 percent in 2000 to 22 percent in 2011.

8. Since TANF began in 1997, the share of poor families receiving assistance has fallen in all states, and the difference among states has grown. In 1998, about half (53 percent) of poor families with children nationally received TANF cash assistance, compared with 28 percent in 2010. In 1998, poor families in California were three times more likely to receive cash assistance than families in Texas; by 2010, California poor families were 10 times more like to receive cash assistance than those in Texas, where TANF cash assistance went to just 7 out of 100 poor families with children.

9. Some TANF policies discourage states from helping participants find work, in some cases giving states an incentive to drop families from their caseloads instead.

  • States have incentives not to help hard-to-employ families find work. The definition of what counts as work is so narrow and the expected levels of participation so high that states have an incentive to avoid the expense of helping hard-to-employ families.
  • Onerous documentation requirements mean caseworkers must spend many hours getting through red tape rather than pushing people toward employment. Federal requirements provide incentives for caseworkers to steer clients into activities that help the state meet regulatory requirements but don\’t help people find and keep jobs.
  • Further, states can reduce their work participation rate requirement by one percentage point for each percentage point drop in the number of families receiving TANF. This creates a direct incentive for states to reduce their caseloads, regardless of whether exiting families find work.

10. Almost half of TANF cases include only children, with no financial support for the adults. Many of these children (about 4 out of 10) are living with relatives other than their parents, and the rest live with parents who have been disqualified for a variety of reasons.

Source: Urban Institute

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