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New Early Head Start Expansion Project Kicks Off in Two States

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Supported with funding from the Ballmer Group, the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center (ZTT) in partnership with Start Early is initiating a state technical assistance (TA) project to assist two states in building and strengthening Early Head Start access, ensuring more children and families have access to the program. The TA team, consisting of representatives from both national organizations, will support teams from both New York and Colorado for the next 16 months.  State teams include various partners, including Head Start Collaboration Directors and State Head Start Association Directors.

While each team has determined specific outcomes they want to work toward through this project, TA will support both teams to achieve progress on short-term outcomes that are critical to laying the groundwork for increased access and expanded enrollment in EHS. Each team will receive:

  • Individualized, intensive support from the TA Team who can help identify strengths to build on and opportunities for growth, provide information on best practices and other state strategies, co‐facilitate group meetings, and connect states to outside experts;
  • Virtual peer‐to‐peer experiential learning activities based on emerging needs as the project progresses and;
  • Financial support to further project goals.

The toggle below gives a high-level view of how states’ plan to focus during the project.

Colorado wants to advance EHS access by addressing how state investments in the EHS model would benefit more families throughout the state. The Start Early and ZERO TO THREE consulting team will support the Colorado team in:

  • further understanding the current status of EHS access, developing recommendations, and testing those recommendations with key constituents to plan for advocacy and policy efforts.
  • providing a scan of other states activities related to EHS access and;
  • engaging families and providers via interviews and focus groups. Resulting recommendations will be tested and then the team plans to shift to preparing for advocacy and policy change.

New York hopes to increase capacity in the field in three main areas: availability of EHS slots, slot conversion and braiding funds.

The Start Early and ZERO TO THREE consulting team will support the New York team in three primary ways:

  • engaging providers and parents: Parents and providers will be engaged through a survey and focus groups to better understand the need and barriers to EHS Access including but not limited to slot conversion and partnerships (both formal and informal) between Early Head Start and child care programs.
  • supporting development of a guide to partnerships Between EHS and Child Care Programs: The team plans to create outreach materials that could be used to support both EHS and child care programs in partnering. This could include future EHS-CCP opportunities but also ways to partner prior to new funding opportunities.  These outreach materials may also be used to educate the CCR&Rs and the QRIS staff so they know how to get more information when asked in the field.
  • supporting development of a template for HS to EHS Slot Conversion: The team will create a template for slot conversion applications that includes a budget template that shows the budget and program before conversion, what is being changed, and what it looks like after the conversion.  This process will include collaboration with the Core Team, program leaders and the Head Start Regional Office.