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Early Learning

In addition to providing policy coordination across the Office of Child Care and the Office of Head Start, ECD works with other programs and offices within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and across the federal government on various programs and initiatives:

Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge

Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) is a program jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services/ACF that strives to improve the quality of early learning and development and close the achievement gap for children with high needs.

Interagency Policy Board Report to the Secretaries

In 2010, the Secretaries of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) formed an Early Learning Interagency Policy Board (IPB) to advise the Secretaries on how to better align programs and systems, and improve coordination and administration of federally funded early learning programs serving children from birth to age eight.

Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships

ACF set aside $500 million for new Early Head Start – Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships. New grants will allow new or existing Early Head Start programs to partner with local child care centers and family child care providers serving infants and toddlers from low-income families.

Preschool Development Grants

The Preschool Development Grant program is a $250 million discretionary grant competition jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health & Human Services.

State Advisory Councils

ACF awarded $100 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for 50 State Advisory Council grants to 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. The overall responsibility of the State Advisory Council is to lead the development or enhancement of a high-quality, comprehensive system of early childhood development and care that ensures statewide coordination and collaboration among the wide range of early childhood programs and services in the state.

Child Care

The Office of Child Care supports low-income working families through child care financial assistance and promotes children's learning by improving the quality of early care and education and afterschool programs.

Head Start

Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development.

Last Reviewed: January 25, 2017