Interoperability Collaboration

OCC/ACF Interagency Partnerships

I.    With the Department of Education

Developed the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge
Worked with Congress to develop the proposal for the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge, to be jointly administered with the Department of Education. Provided expert analysis of state policies around core components of an integrated early childhood system including program standards, data systems, early learning standards and assessment, health promotion and family engagement.

II.   With Health

Launched the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

Starting in November 2009, ACF convened a workgroup that included ACF, ASPE, CDC, HRSA, SAMHSA, and Department of Education staff to discuss the home visiting legislation and how the proposed program might be implemented. This workgroup continued to meet following the passage of the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, in order to begin implementation of the new home visiting program.
ACF (Early Childhood, ACYF and OPRE)  and HRSA continue to collaborate closely, as required by the legislation, on all aspects on implementation of the home visiting program.

  • The agencies recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to clearly define agency responsibilities and transfer funds. The agencies will jointly develop all programs and policy guidance, including funding opportunity announcements and other guidance.  HRSA is the administering agency for grants to States and Jurisdictions, ACF will administer grants to Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations, and the agencies will share responsibility for developing and carrying out a research and evaluation agenda and providing technical assistance to grantees.
  • HRSA has now released over $88 million in FY 2010 home visiting program funds to all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 5 territories. Both HRSA and ACF will be working with States over the coming months to complete statewide needs assessments and develop evidence-based home visiting programs to respond to identified needs.

ACF, the administering agency for grants to Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations, will award $3 million in grants under this program by September 30, 2010.

On July 23, 2010, ACF and HRSA issued a Federal Register Notice on proposed criteria of evidence of effectiveness of home visiting program models, in accordance with statutory requirements, in order to establish requirements for States in developing their home visiting programs. Public comments on the proposed criteria were due to HHS by August 17, 2010, and final criteria will be published in a future guidance outlining to States requirements for submitting a State plan for responding to identified needs
Supported the development of Early Childhood Standards on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Screen time

Through a collaborative partnership, ACF’s Child Care Bureau and HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau supported the release of Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education Programs, national standards for nutrition, physical activity, and screen time for early care and education programs.  The standards support the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative and will assist early care and education programs with the development and implementation of best practices, procedures, and policies to instill healthy behavior and healthy lifestyle choices in our youngest children.  The Standards were revised and reviewed by a Steering Committee representing the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education.

Worked with the White House and Nemours to launch Let’s Move Child Care:

III.   With the Department of Defense

Participated in the Military Family Federal Interagency Collaboration
The Office of Head Start and the Child Care Bureau have joined forces with the Department of Defense as part of a Military Family Federal Interagency Collaboration.  This particular collaborative effort is focused upon increasing availability and quality of child care in 13 identified States for military families, especially those families not near military bases or not having easy access to other military child care supports.  The Military Family Child Care subcommittee, as part of the overall collaboration, has identified the strategic goals of (1) improving access to quality child care programs by increasing the level of quality; (2) improving the awareness of quality indicators and their importance for creating and maintaining safe and healthy environments for children: (3) improving the communication between various partners and agencies to ensure limited resources are used effectively.  As a first step Child Care Regional Program managers will assist newly hired DoD Child Care liaisons in each of these 13 States to connect with the key players in those States and provide needed support/information to help them coordinate activities with the various early childhood partners.

IV.   With the Office of Community Services

Launched the Financial Stability for Families with Young Children Project
The Office of Head Start and Child Care Bureau are partnering with the Assets for Independence (AFI) program in the Office of Community Services (OCS) to sponsor the Financial Stability for Families with Young Children Project.  The project targets regional offices as entry points from which focused strategies are identified to enhance awareness, increase knowledge, and identify possible partners to provide financial education, individual development accounts and other asset building services to families with young children in the programs we fund.  The overall goal of this project is to quickly move financial strategies to the families and staff in our programs and to ensure better linkages between AFI grantees and Head Start and child care programs.  The initial steps of this project include 7 regional summits and 5 demonstration projects between September 2010 and February 2011.  These will serve as the foundations for moving asset building strategies and resources into early childhood communities.

V.   Partnerships Promoting More Integrated Early Childhood Systems at the State and Local Levels

State Advisory Councils

Prior to the deadline of September 30, 2010, ACF/OHS will award the entire $100M ARRA funding allotment for State Advisory Councils to the 50 States and/or Territories that applied for this funding.  These State Advisory Councils will lead the development of a high quality, comprehensive system of early childhood education and care that ensures statewide coordination and collaboration among the wide array of early childhood programs and services in the State, including Head Start, child care and pre-kindergarten programs and services.  The State Advisory Councils will play a key role in advancing the goal of integrated services to young children and families while promoting school preparedness of children from birth through school entry.

Early Head Start for Family Child Care

The Early Head Start for Family Child Care Project (EHS for FCC) is funded to design, implement and evaluate a replicable framework that supports a partnership between Early Head Start and family child care. This project will increase quality for low-income children in family child care homes by leveraging comprehensive services that include health and social services.

The Early Head Start for Family Child Care Project