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.

Image showing flow of information between the levels of the Early Childhood Training & Technical Assistance System.


National Centers

The National Centers provide the foundation of knowledge and practice for our Early Childhood T/TA System. These Centers develop and disseminate high-quality, evidence-based resources and practices, and provide training and technical assistance. Their approaches build capacity and create sustainable early childhood practices at the regional, state and local levels.

National Centers Jointly Managed by the Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care

  • National Center on Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (NCEHS-CCP)

NCEHS-CCP supports effective implementation of the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, which will allow grantees to deliver high quality comprehensive services to low-income infants, toddlers and their families.

  • National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (NCECHW) 

Administered in partnership with the Maternal and Child Health BureauNCECHW advances best practices for linking health and early childhood education systems. The Center's work will include, but is not limited to, providing support on topics such as medical and dental home access; health promotion and disease prevention; emergency preparedness and environmental safety; trauma and toxic stress; developmental, behavioral, vision and hearing screening; and nutrition. This new cooperative agreement has been awarded to the American Academy of Pediatrics in collaboration with Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, Education Development Center, Inc., and Health Care Institute at the University of California Los Angeles.

  • National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement (NCPFCE)

NCPFCE supports family well-being, effective family and community engagement, and children’s school readiness, including transitions to kindergarten. The Center's work will include, but is not limited to, providing T/TA on staff-family relationship building practices that are culturally and linguistically responsive; integrated and systemic family engagement strategies that are outcomes-based; consumer education, family leadership, family economic stability, and individualized support for families facing adversity.This new cooperative agreeement has been awarded to the Boston Children’s Hospital Brazleton Touchpoints Center in collaboration with Child Care Aware of America, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and Child Trends.

  • National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning (NCECDTL)

NCECDTL advances best practices in the identification, development, and promotion of the implementation of evidence-based child development, teaching and learning practices that are culturally and linguistically responsive and lead to positive child outcomes.  Its emphasis is across early childhood programs and supports strong professional development systems. The Center's work will include, but is not limited to, professional development for the infant/toddler and preschool workforce; evidence-based curriculum; early learning standards; effective transitions; screening and assessment; culturally and linguistically age appropriate practices; enhancing teacher/child interactions; supporting networks of infant/toddler practitioners; supporting children with disabilities (part C and part B); and using data to improve practice. This new cooperative agreeement has been awarded to Zero to Three in collaboration with the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of Denver Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington, WestEd, Child Care Aware of America, and AEM Corporation.

  • National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (NCECQA)

Administered in partnership with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau,NCECQA supports the implementation of rigorous health, safety and licensing standards and promotesbest practices that support the infrastructure of an ECE quality improvement framework. The Center's work will include but is not limited to: supporting Quality Rating Improvement Systems; helping state and territory CCDF grantees develop effective systems to raise health, safety, and quality program standards; and implementing quality improvement strategies to increase the supply of ECE programs that meet such standards. This new cooperative agreement has been awarded to ICF International in collaboration with the BUILD Initiative, Child Trends, and National Association for Regulatory Administration.

National Centers Managed by the Office of Child Care

  • National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE)

NCASE supports school-age care and summer learning programs by working with state-wide school-age networks and other community partners to expand learning opportunities for school-age children; identifying and promoting family engagement approaches; and coordinating with early childhood and school-age stakeholder groups and other federal programs to maximize effective service delivery models and minimize duplication of efforts. This new cooperative agreement has been awarded to the Education Development Center, Inc., in collaboration with the National Institute for Out-of-School Time, National Summer Learning Association, and Walter R. McDonald Associates, Inc.

  • National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability (NCSIA)

NCSIA assists grantees in developing child-focused, family-friendly child care subsidy systems that are fair to providers, including implementing new provisions of newly reauthorized Child Care and Development Block Grant, reaching goals related to subsidy eligibility, integrating quality and subsidy, as well as strengthening program integrity, payment rules, rate setting, and other policies and practices that support serving more low-income children in high quality care.

  • National Center on Tribal Child Care Implementation and Innovation (NCTCCII)

NCTCCII assists American Indian and Alaskan Native Tribes and tribal organizations in their efforts to implement and administer Child Care and Development Fund as well as increase the quality, affordability, and availability of child care. Targeted activities include a toll-free information and referral line; development and dissemination of materials; a peer learning and leadership network; national and regional webinars; and other on-site and distance learning events.

National Centers Managed by the Office of Head Start

  • National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations (NCPMFO)

NCPMFO disseminates clear, consistent messages on OHS priorities for the development and implementation of sound management systems and strong internal controls. The Center's work will include, but is not limited to, topics such as risk management; governance: data collection and analysis; budgeting; and management of multiple funding sources. This new cooperative agreement has been awarded to the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute in collaboration with Family Health International 360 (FHI 360) and Zero to Three.

Regional T/TA Network

As part of a coordinated national system, responsibility for disseminating the evidence-based practices, resources, and materials developed by the National Centers will be carried out by Head Start and Child Care T/TA specialists working in partnership with the National Centers. Regional Head Start T/TA Specialists and a new Child Care State Capacity Building Center will support implementation of research-based practices to address specific grantee needs.

  • Regional Head Start T/TA Specialists

The goal of the regional T/TA system is to create a seamless, easily accessible team of professional development providers at the state, tribal, and local levels, who can work with Head Start programs directly to improve the quality of teaching and other services. Regional Head Start T/TA Specialists will focus on school readiness, health, and linkages to early care and education systems at the local level.

  • Child Care State Capacity Building Center (SCBC)

SCBC will focus on national priorities, changing mindsets, and making strategic TA investments that lead to innovation and results for children and families, especially infants and toddlers. The SCBC will provide shoulder to shoulder support to child care administrators and their key partners to create early childhood systems that are coordinated, collaborative, and comprehensive in their approach to improving child outcomes and school readiness. The SCBC will support states/territories through the design and delivery of multiple capacity building services, including product dissemination, targeted TA (e.g., training, peer learning, and networking), and intensive tailored consultation. The SCBC will provide services to CCDF Lead Agencies using a TA framework through four teams – State Systems Specialist Network, Infant/Toddler Specialist Network, Intensive Capacity Building Network, and Information Services Team. This approach will help CCDF lead agencies improve individual, organizational, and system performance; leverage opportunities in the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014; and use complex, adaptive systems thinking to address the issues with the greatest influence and impact on states/territories. This will ultimately lead states/territories to move further and faster to improve outcomes for children and families. This new contract has been awarded to ICF International subcontracting with WestEd.

Last Reviewed: October 2, 2015