About the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interdepartmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development (ECD)

What We Do

The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interdepartmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development (ECD) promotes a joint approach to improving the availability of high quality early learning and development programs. We are made up of the Office of Head Start, the Office of Child Care, and the Interagency Team.

In addition to providing coordination across the  Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care, we manage early childhood development efforts with other offices within the Department of Health and Human Services. We also work with other federal agencies, state and tribal councils and administrators, and a wide range of national organizations and non-profit partners. These interagency, collaborative programs and communications help ensure a complete and integrated approach to improving the nation’s childhood learning and development. 

Within all of our programs and projects, we strive to achieve the following goals:

  • Building successful Early Learning and Development Systems across Head Start, child care, and pre-K
  • Promoting high quality and accountable early learning and development programs for all children
  • Improving the health and safety of early learning and development programs
  • Ensuring an effective early childhood workforce
  • Promoting family support and engagement in the child’s development

Leadership

Linda K. Smith is the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interdepartmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development (ECD) for the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, she provides overall policy coordination for the Head Start and Early Head Start Programs and the Child Care and Development Fund, and serves as liaison with the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies. Her office serves as a focal point for early childhood policy at the federal level.

History

The Administration for Children and Families has expanded its services and attention to young children and their families in an effort to assure quality. An important step in this work has been the establishment of a more integrated focal point for early childhood at the federal level in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interdepartmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development.

The Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care are part of this newly created office.   ECD also works with other programs within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   One of these is the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, which administers and coordinates the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.

ECD also serves as the liaison to a range of other federal agencies (see interagency initiatives), particularly the U.S. Department of Education.  Given the importance of state and local activities in early childhood development, ECD works closely with state partners such as State Advisory Councils, State Child Care Administrators, and State Pre-K Directors. 

Finally, the ECD team continues to reach out to a wide range of national organizations and philanthropic partners to ensure that we are collaborating and learning together.

ECD Contact Information

Phone:          (202) 401-9200
Fax:               (202) 205-4891
Email:            Dishon.Tucker@acf.hhs.gov


Address:  Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interdepartmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development (ECD)
                 Administration for Children and Families
                 370 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
                 Washington, DC  20447