Policy Resource

Maryland Takes on the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge

Feb 9, 2016

In December 2011, Maryland was awarded a four-year Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant and proposed the following targets to improve its early learning and development (ELD) systems.

The state proposed to:

  • Develop a new formative assessment for children birth to three, in collaboration with Ohio. The two states would also develop training modules and professional development for the administration of this and other screening instruments.
  • Create two new Community Hubs to provide comprehensive services to pregnant women, children from birth to kindergarten and their families, and child care providers. Hubs provide services such as parenting education, health education and access to health care, employment readiness activities, and facilitate access to services by offering service coordination, transportation, and meals.
  • Offer training to pediatricians on developmental screening practices and to primary care providers to build their mental health capacity, including early childhood mental health detection and intervention.

As of 2013, Maryland has made the following progress towards its proposed ELD systems.

  • Two Community Hubs were established in under-resourced communities in Baltimore to provide and coordinate services for families with children birth to five. Hubs provide family support services such as parenting education, health education, and employment readiness activities; connect pregnant women and parents to center-based and home visiting programs; conduct outreach to child care providers to engage them in professional development opportunities; and work with families to ease transitions as children move from early childhood programs to school.
  • Two new Judy Center satellite sites have been established at Title I schools in Baltimore. Judy Centers provide a central location for early childhood education and support services, including health-related screenings and service referrals, for children birth to five.
  • The state developed a number of partnerships with pediatricians, family practice physicians, and mental health providers to support the use of developmental screening instruments as well as early detection and intervention in mental health.
  • The Maryland Family Engagement Coalition was established. Representatives of many child- and family-serving agencies, organizations, and programs are working together to develop culturally and linguistically appropriate Maryland-specific strategies for improving the quality of family engagement based on the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.

Learn more about Maryland and how other states are using RTT-ELC funds to strengthen their early childhood systems in ZERO TO THREEs papers:

How Are Early Learning Challenge Grant Targeting Infants and Toddlers: http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy/elc-it-article-for-baby-monitor.pdf

The Early Learning Challenge Grant Is Helping States Better Serve Infants and Toddlers: http://www.zerotothree.org/policy/docs/elc-grant-update.pdf

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