Special Initiatives

Initiative for Improving Monitoring in Early Childhood Programs: High-quality early childhood programs, including Head Start, child care, and prekindergarten, aim to support the health, development, and learning of young children to maximize positive child and family outcomes. We have learned a great deal in the past few decades about what constitutes a high-quality early learning and development experience. What is less known, however, is what constitutes a comprehensive high-quality monitoring regime for early childhood programs. Proposed Initiative activities and products include a forum of researchers and experts on monitoring in early childhood programs, a series of small group listening sessions around the country, and a white paper on “Policy Recommendations on Improving Effectiveness of Monitoring in Early Childhood Programs in the U.S.”

Increasing ECE Services for Homeless Children: Whether you are in a Head Start program, early childhood program, or work at the state level on early childhood systems and services, providing early care and education (ECE) services to homeless children is especially urgent when considering the vulnerability of young children experiencing homelessness.   Take a look at the ways you are already identifying and serving homeless children and identify additional strategies to do so. This section provides fact sheets on: strategies/action steps, resources and relevant Head Start and CCDF laws, regulations, and policies to help you.

National Early Care and Education Survey: ECD is working with the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation who is conduction a national survey that will provide a comprehensive assessment of both the availability and utilization of early care and education in the United States.  Additionally, because of the critical importance of quality, it will include a set of observable predictors of quality.

Look Before You Lock Campaign: ECD is working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for to get word out through on a national campaign to prevent child heatstroke death, injury and trauma after being left unsupervised in cars, vans or school buses. The campaign reminds bus drivers and monitors, teachers, parents and caregivers to acknowledge it can happen to them and ask themselves - “Look before you lock.” There are resources centered around this theme available to parents, teachers and grassroots organizations to use in local outreach on the issue.

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): ECD worked closely with the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA to reissue policy guidance regarding the participation of tribal child care programs in the CACFP. The updated memo, originally released in 1999, clarified current Program policies and removed unnecessary barriers that some tribal child care programs may currently face.  View the Tribal Participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program policy memo.

Crib Safety: On December 28, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved new mandatory standards for full-size and non-full-size baby cribs as mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).  Federal crib standards had not been updated in nearly 30 years and these new rules are expected to usher in a safer generation of cribs. As of June 28, 2011, cribs manufactured, sold, or leased in the U.S. must comply with the new federal standards.  These new standards directly affect the early care and education community.  ACF and CPSC are working closely to assure the smoothest transition possible. For more detailed information, please access the Crib Information Center.

Safe Sleep for Babies: ACF has strengthened its commitment to address the public health challenges of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected/Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) and cultivate opportunities for prevention in the United States.  To that end, ACF has established and enhanced relationships among multiple Federal agencies in order to work together to improve communication and coordination, as well as collaborate on a range of activities designed to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate SIDS and SUID, including the elimination of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic disparities.

ACF-EPA Asthma Resource Starter Kit – Through a national Memorandum of Understanding, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families have combined efforts to provide the Asthma Resource Toolkit – Starter Kit, which offers resources and training materials for providers and educators interested in promoting a healthier environment for children.

Department of Defense (DoD) Military Family Child Care Liaisons – The Department of Defense (DoD) Military Community & Family Policy, Office of Children and Youth has contracted with Child Care Aware (formerly NACCRRA) to improve access to quality affordable child care for military families. They have identified dynamic State Military Child Care Liaisons to serve as subject matter expert on quality child care issues for military families.  These liaisons serve as the central point of contact within 13 selected states - Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington - coordinating efforts of state and local officials, military installations and various non-governmental organizations/community partners to achieve the most effective utilization of child care resources. With assistance from HHS, the liaison will interface with the State Advisory Councils designated or established by the Governor and funded by ACF.

Related Information

Special Initiatives Legislation, Policies & Regulations
Special Initiatives Research, Reports & Resources