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Early Head Start Expansion and Child Care Partnership Heartland's Initial Award List

by Andrea Abbott on 04/18/19

Heartland staff have been regularly monitoring the federal grant accountability database in an effort to provide regular information on the status of the Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start Child Care Partnership grant awards. Recently, we compiled a list of awardees and we are pleased to share it in advance of the official announcement from the Office of Head Start.

Please keep in mind as you read this list, there is a level of interpretation involved and it may not represent all awards and some awards may be for continuing grants rather than for the 2019 award cycle. However, to generate our list, we pulled a list of new grantees as of March 31st and excluded any programs that were not noted as EHS Expansion or EHS-CCP awardees. 

Heartland was recently informed that all new grantees were notified of their award by March 31st, so if you have not heard yet, it is possible you did not receive funding in this round. However, in the past we have observed that the Office of Head Start has made several awards after the official deadline for the award decision. We do not know if this will be the case in 2019, but we can always hope! 

Navigating Recompetition

by Andrea Abbott on 02/24/19

Since 2012, Heartland has written over 50 recompetition proposals. Our strategy has always been to keep focus on the quality of our grants instead of increasing the quantity of grants we apply for which has resulted in successful ongoing funding for our clients. One of the keys to our success is a commitment to looking at each round of recompetition with “fresh eyes”. We have learned so much from our clients, from the process, and from consistently revisiting our fund development strategies. Below are a few critical elements of the process that we believe can “make or break” your recompetition proposal and our strategy for supporting our clients through the process.

Communication – The most important part of the grant development process is communication. The client is where the information to write the proposal comes from. What works for one client may not be the best approach for everyone. For example, a larger agency may have a staff member dedicated to coordinating the process, while in a smaller agency the executive director or Head Start director must take on the role of leading the grant process in addition to maintaining their daily responsibilities.

Innovation and Something New: Recompetition grants are incredibly detailed and our process often results in the need to create multiple documents that adequately capture your program’s best features. The recompetition process is designed to improve quality or expand services, it is important to make sure your application reflects your agency’s commitment to ongoing improvement and efforts to keep up with new research about “what works” for helping disadvantaged children transcend poverty.

What Heartland is Doing – Heartland will be leveraging site visits, technology, and other communication tools to customize how we work with each client. Upon initiation of our services we will create a communication plan that details how we will communicate and work together to make your application the best it can be. Heartland also has a full library of resource materials that are ready for your use and can advise you on program changes that will help keep your program in-step with new research.  

Your Submission Date The best proposals are guided by flexible timelines that are aligned to key steps in the process. Many programs begin the grant development process by setting firm timelines, but fail to account for the “human element”. For example, an auditor shows up, staff working on the grant turnover, or the budgeting process is more difficult than expected. As a result, the process falls off track and you end up submitting the day the grant is due.

What Heartland is Doing – Heartland staff will help you set a submission date and time for your program’s application that is at least 48 hours before the grant deadline. There is nothing more important to us than making sure your grant is submitted. Our staff will keep you on track by sending reminders, templates for your grant, and we will discuss the common pitfalls of the application process early on. Each grantee receives a “DRS Survival Guide” that we review during our first call that talks about elements of success and possible challenges that may arise so we can work them into the timeline. For example, we know that typically every budget we work on needs three reviews to ensure it is accurate and sufficiently detailed and another review after the information is put into the online submission forms. Even with a template and examples of funded budgets from DRS grants, the budgeting process tends to take as much time as the actual narrative to develop. 

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


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