Early Childhood Program Year End Wrap Up
As we come to a close in the calendar year, it is clear that 2015 marked enormous progress on the early learning initiative front!
Congress passed the FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act
The FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (PL 114-113), enacted on December 18, included an increase of nearly $1 billion for programs operated through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) — primarily for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start.
What’s in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for early childhood?
- FY2016 Key Early Learning and Family Funding (Table Comparing FY2015 & FY2016 Funding)
- Summary: FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act Summary for Key Early Childhood & Family Programs and Tax Provisions Affecting Families in Dec. 2016 Tax Bill
- FY2016 Labor, HHS and Education Programs Committee Report Text
Matching Budget Information with Context:
For more information on the most recent data for CCDBG program statistics (number of children receiving assistance, settings those children are in) and for information about TANF funding used for child care by state, click here.
Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships: The FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act included $635 million for EHS/CCPs. This means that previous grants will continue to receive funding and $135 million in additional funding will be available for a new competition. Stay tuned for competition criteria and proposal deadlines in 2016. Current awards finalized in March of 2015 are here.
Preschool Expansion/Development Grants: The FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act included $250 million to continue another year of funding for current grantees.
Every Student Succeeds Act and Preschool Development Grants
On December 9, the President signed the Every Child Succeeds Act into law (P.L. 114-95), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act- also known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The Every Child Succeeds Act includes many opportunities to better integrate early learning initiatives with K-12 education, including a new provision authorizing Preschool Development Grants. This new competitive grant program is designed to assist states to:
- develop, update or implement a strategic plan to improve collaboration and coordination among existing early learning programs in a mixed delivery system across the state to prepare low income children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed;
- encourage partnerships among Head Start providers, state and local governments, private entities (including faith and community based organizations), and local educational agencies, to improve coordination, program quality, and the delivery of services; and
- to maximize parent choice among a mixed delivery system of early childhood education program providers.
The Secretary of HHS is in charge of the program to be operated jointly with the Secretary of the Department of Education. Watch for more details about the competition for funding in 2016.
Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization Implementation:
November marked a year since the President signed the bipartisan CCDBG Act of 2014 into law. During that year, much progress has been made to promote more parent choice among high quality settings in every community.
CCDBG State Plan. In order for states to receive federal funds, each state must submit a state plan to HHS. The template for the state plan was published for public comment three times in 2015 (in January, in May, and in September). In December, the final state plan template was published.
Many states have begun drafting their state plans, which are due on March 1, 2016. Some states have held public hearings already. HHS regularly posts updates on state plan public hearings under Key Resources Related to the Implementation of the CCDF Reauthorization Law.
CCDBG Regulations. On December 24, HHS published proposed CCDF regulations in the Federal Register. Public comments with regard to the proposed regulations are due on or before February 22, 2016. The regs play a key role in ensuring that states have a uniform interpretation of the law.
- HHS’ Overview of the Proposed Regs
- HHS’ Resource Page Related to CCDBG Implementation
- Early Learning Policy Group CCDBG Resource Page
In June, HHS proposed the first major revision and reorganization of the Head Start Performance Standards, which were open for public comment for several months. The proposed program performance standards will improve the quality of services, reduce bureaucratic burdens, and improve regulatory clarity and transparency. They provide a clear pathway for current and prospective grantees to provide high quality Head Start services and to strengthen outcomes for the children and families served. Read the proposed revisions and watch for final regulations in 2016.
Also Noteworthy for the Early Childhood Field: (Released in 2015)
- Caring for Our Children Basics: Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education
- Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation
- HHS/ED Joint Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension Policies in Early Childhood Settings
- HHS/ED Joint Policy Statement on the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs
- DRAFT HHS/ED Joint Policy Statement on Family Engagement
Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best in 2016! We have come so far in 2015. 2016 will be the year to close the gap between research, policy, and practice… The opportunity is yours. Seize the day!