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Early Education News! 

Get Ready to Grow! Tips for A Competitive EHS-CCP Application

by Andrea Abbott on 05/08/18

On May 4th the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership and Early Head Start Expansion (EHS-CCP) grant forecast was updated and the grant opportunity is slated to be released on June 5, 2018 with an anticipated due date of August 6, 2018. Through this funding opportunity, there will be $98 million available to fund new and existing EHS-CCP and EHS programs. The grant program will provide a unique opportunity to partner with childcare providers and to expand  EHS services to increase the number of infants and toddlers served in high quality programs. Listed below are a few strategies that programs planning to apply for these funds may want to consider to increase your chance of successful funding:  


1. What is your best program model? During the last round of funding, applicants had the choice of applying for funding in three different ways: 1) EHS-CCP Partnerships, 2) Non-Partnership Expansion, or 3) a mix of both EHS-CCP Partnerships and Expansion. When deciding which model is the best option for your agency it is important to identify if the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) will be allocating funds for any specific program models. For example, in round 2 of the EHS-CCP competition, ACF prioritized applicants that proposed to provide at least 51% of slots using the EHS-CCP Partnership model.


2. Funding is allocated by state, based on the number of children in poverty. This means that you are actually competing against other programs in your state applying for funding, rather than nationally. When you are designing your program model, it is good to get an idea of other EHS-CCP programs already operating in your state. Using this information, you can identify gaps in services and position yourself for a competitive application. To identify currently operating grantees, view the results from the last two rounds of the EHS-CCP competition on the Administration for Children and Families website.


3. Create informed partnerships. Having partners lined up and in support of your application is a good way to increase your chances of funding. Facilitate a community meeting or “EHS – childcare partnership information session” to help providers learn about the scope of the EHS program and the funding opportunity.  Please feel free to contact Heartland for our community meeting guide. 

Two unexpected gifts from the Office of Head Start – The gift of time and flexibility, but what does this mean?

by Andrea Abbott on 02/01/18

Our thoughts on the delay of the Round 6 FOA

The most recent round of recompetition was slated to post on January 17th. However, as of this posting the application has not been released. There are several reasons that an application can be delayed and it happens in almost every round of recompetition at least once. For example, in round six, the new Head Start Program Performance Standards are likely to be incorporated into the new funding opportunity announcement and the grant evaluation criteria. As a result, the Office of Head Start has to train grant reviewers on how to evaluate applicant responses to the new criteria, as well as revise the application instructions. Another cause for a lack of application posting is lack of resources within the Office of Head Start to complete the grant review process. For example, grant reviewers are compensated for reviewing each application and the budget impasse may impact the ability for funds to be released for this task. Regardless, we have been given the gift of time. Use the extra time for the following tasks and you are sure to strengthen your proposal:


1. Gather anecdotal data to justify any program changes you would like to make in your application. For example, if you are proposing to convert slots to EHS survey your program families to see how many families have children eligible for EHS and note in your application the number of families that you will have enrolled immediately upon funding.


2. Update your school readiness plan and progress you have made in meeting family and program outcomes.  


3. Update your grants.gov registration and watch the Workspace Webinar to ensure that you understand the submission process and how to upload your documents into the grants.gov system.


4. Review your policies to address the new program performance standards on expulsion and suspension, ERSEA training, attendance, and other issues as they are certain to show up in the new grant application criteria.


Like many programs, Heartland monitors Round 6 grant forecast every day. However, one little known grant secret is that FOAs are typically released on a Tuesday or Thursday in the Federal Register. So, if you are checking weekly, Tuesday is your best chance of catching it right out of the gate. We will keep you posted!



What about duration? Calling attention to the elephant in the room.

Last week, OHS disseminated a notice that programs would no longer be required to comply with the duration requirement by August, 2019. The Program Instruction indicates that the reason for the change was that OHS prefers to serve more children and families for less time, than to serve fewer children for more time. While this may be true, the desire to serve more children may signal that there is a proposed cut on the horizon for Head Start. Historically, when programs anticipate a challenge to their legitimacy, the last thing that administrators want is evidence there is a reduced need for services. With most duration conversions resulting in less children served, opponents to the Head Start program can make the case that Head Start is overserving children and for a reduction in funding. It is important to track this development and the discussions that are gearing up around Head Start for the next fiscal year. 

Our List of Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Awards

by Andrea Abbott on 04/18/17

Like many others who applied for the last round of EHS-CCP grant funds, Heartland staff are becoming impatient as we wait for final announcement of the awardees. With this in mind, we created our own list. Using our monthly search of awards negotiated for Head Start and Early Head Start programs and our google daily news updates, Heartland has identified the following agencies as new EHS-CCP or EHS Expansion grantees. One note, use this with caution as it does not list those agencies that may be in the process of negotiating and it also may not be completely accurate. However, for now we will post it in hopes that a final list will be released soon. This list will be updated monthly until the final award list is posted by the ACF.





AR St. Department of Human Services



Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana



Sunbeam Family Services



Mile High Child Care Association



Action for Boston Community Development



United Children’s Services of Bennington County, Inc.



Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative



Municipality of Caguas



Acelero, Inc.



Acelero, Inc.



Southwestern WI Community Action Program



Genesee Intermediate School District



WSOS Community Action Commission



Northwest NJ Community Action Program



University Settlement Society of NY



Scott County Public Schools



Rolling Plains Mgmt. Group of Baylor Cottle Foard



 Motivation, Education and Training



Bright Beginnings, Inc.



Manatee Community Action Agency



Community Programs Center of Long Island



Mid-Florida Community Services, Inc.



Genesee County Community Action Agency



Pace Community Action Agency, Inc.






Mt. Hood Community College



Washington State Community College District # 17



Macon Bibb County EOC



Mid America Regional Council



Private Industry Council of Westmoreland Fayette



Council of Three Rivers AI Center -EHS Southwest PA EHS/CCP



YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago



Los Angeles Universal Preschool



Contra Costa County Auditor



Urban Strategies


Is There a Grant Season?

by Andrea Abbott on 01/04/17

Is there are Grant Season?

Heartland is constantly asked this question by organizations we are working with to develop funding and strategic plans. Our answer is somewhat complex as the idea of a “grant season” depends on your funding sources and their requirements. Grant season is also different if you are seeking new funding and launching new projects. Regardless, it can be helpful to view your grant development and management efforts in the context of these three ideas:

1.       Federal Grant Writing Season: The federal fiscal year ends on September 30th, the last half of the federal fiscal year is when the greatest number of grants are awarded (April to September). This time frame reflects all 26 federal grantmaking agencies. This timeframe also means that the actual time you will likely be writing federal grant applications is from October through March. I am groaning right now, because every year this means that grant application due dates are around the holidays…

2.      State Grant Writing Season: The fiscal year for all but four states ends on June 30th (Alabama and Michigan have a fiscal year aligned with the federal fiscal year, New York has a fiscal year end of March 31st, and Texas ends on August 31st). When it comes to state funding, you will likely experience the heaviest grant writing period from July to December.


So, the answer is: yes, there is a grant writing season. Taking into consideration when federal, state, and foundation grantmaking agencies tend to release their funding announcements and have their due dates can help you anticipate your workflow. It can also help you determine when you will need the most grant writing assistance (either budgetary funds to hire a grantwriter or internal manpower to write grants). If your agency happens to apply for all three types of funding (federal/state/foundation), it would be safe to say that the spring months will have less grant activity, and a good time for a vacation!


You Have Been Given the Gift of Time

by Andrea Abbott on 12/14/16

You have been given the gift of time. As of today, the designation renewal funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) have not yet been posted. There are many steps that programs that will be relinquishing or competing for their grant can take to get a jump on the FOA. Heartland always suggests starting early so that you have time to craft the best proposal possible. If you would like a copy of an FOA from a prior round of recompetition so that you can start working on your grant, please do not hesitate to contact Andrea at andrea@heartlandgrants.org. We are happy to find a sample FOA that is similar to your service area that you can use while waiting for the release of the new FOA.

Heartland was also recently made aware that in addition to the FOAs for this round of redesignation, an additional round of recompetition grants will be posted in January. That means that due dates will likely be in February and March (60 days after the FOA is posted). Make sure to review your program planning calendar and schedules to assure that you can set aside dedicated time to work on your proposal, while managing other program planning activities such as your community assessment, strategic planning, and mid-year data tasks. If your program is overwhelmed by these activities or is seeking assistance Heartland is here to help and able to provide high-quality, cost effective services that meet the needs of programs of all sizes. 

Better Data for Head Start?
Click here to download a report from Results for America, Bellwether Education Partners, the National Head Start Association, and the Volcker Alliance.

State Head Start Cost Per Child 
Click here to download our analysis.