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Office of Early Childhood Development

Mission Statement: 
The Office of Early Childhood Development (ECD) acts as a catalyst to create a collective impact and support the early learning and care of our nation’s children and their families.


ECD strategies will include:

  • Communication: ECD consistently communicates, within the organization and across HHS, an established set of values and norms that promote the importance of early childhood development across all our programs.
  • Coordination and Partnerships: ECD develops governance, structures and champions that enable coordination across ACF, HHS, and other federal agencies; and mobilizes a network of public and private partners to support early childhood development.
  • Sustainability: ECD aligns its initiatives across ACF to institutionalize and make the established values and norms sustainable.
  • Resource sharing: ECD provides resources to states and communities to facilitate cross-service and cross-sector coordination.


Dr. Deborah Bergeron is the Director of the Office of Early Childhood Development (ECD) and is also representing the Office of Head Start as its Director. Within ECD, Dr. Bergeron aims to bring together early childhood programming across ACF offices and beyond ACF to better align programs, coordinate collaborative efforts and become the front-facing identifier for ACF in the area of early childhood development.

Interagency Workgroups

The Early Childhood Federal Partners Workgroup is a federal staff-level group comprised of more than 70 representatives from across 9 federal agencies and Departments who are focused on sharing resources and improving federally funded early childhood programs.

To provide guidance for interagency efforts, ECD also convenes the Early Childhood Health and Well-being Federal Leadership Group, which is comprised of political and career leaders from ACF, HHS, ED, DOL, and USDA.

The goal of these interagency workgroups is to improve the collective impact of early childhood federal programs by supporting integrated early childhood systems that improve the effectiveness and efficiency of services and result in equitable health and well-being for young children and their families.

We developed an overarching Early Childhood Federal Partners Logic Model (coming soon) to guide our work which is focused on shared learning and shared action for shared impact. In 2020, we established subgroups to respond to leadership priorities and advance early childhood interagency efforts in critical areas:

  • Technical Assistance
  • Needs Assessment
  • Outcomes/Indicators/Performance Measures
  • Research

ACF Early Childhood Collaborative

The Office of Early Childhood Development (ECD) has been focused on strengthening internal and external coordination, collaboration, and communication across ACF and with federal partners around early childhood to improve the health and well-being of young children and their families. In 2019 ECD established the ACF Early Childhood Collaborative, a group comprised of representatives from every program office within ACF. The purpose of the collaborative is to ensure that ACF prioritizes and enhances early childhood development across ACF programs to strengthen families and promote economic mobility. This group has developed information to further prioritize early childhood development. (Graphic PDF can be found here)

infographic - Early Childhood Collabortive lists ACF offices, priorities and alignments





Last Reviewed: September 23, 2020