Getting Started on EHS – Child Care Partnerships

UPDATE MARCH 20: March 14 webinar, “Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships: Getting Started” is now available online

Partnership was the word of the day on the first Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships Grants webinar, titled Getting Started, hosted by the Administration for Children and Families.  Presenters emphasized the intensive work needed to build successful partnerships and outlined stages of partnership development.

Key Lessons Shared:

  • Reflect before jumping in.
  • Be intentional and strategic in recruiting partners.
  • Engage partners from the beginning in a structured planning process.
  • Use data and engage stakeholders.
  • Define roles and responsibilities.
  • Develop a common understanding.
  • Put it in writing!
  • Communicate. Communicate. Then communicate again!

Audio from the webinar along with the PowerPoint will be available online sometime next week. The Administration for Children and Families has a website full of resources:  In addition, you can email questions to:

Reflect before jumping in. Potential applicants need to assess honestly their readiness to support and provide collaborative leadership.

Be intentional and strategic in recruiting partners. Use community assessments to help identify and select partners. Questions to address include:

  1. What services do infants and toddlers in our community need, and what currently exists to meet those needs?
  2. Are providers located in areas where families are most in need?
  3. What structures exist to support the work ? Existing structures often can be a strong place to start.
  4. Do families need center-based or family child care?
  5. Are providers representative of the demographics of families most in need?
  6. Are there existing Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships?

Related ACF Resources:

Engage partners from the beginning in a structured planning process. Consider hiring a neutral consultant or implementation planner. Partners need to be actively engaged at the outset as equals.

Related ACF Resources:

Use data and engage stakeholders. Use data to select achievable goals and develop an evaluation plan. Include stakeholders that provide diverse perspectives and experiences.

Related ACF Resource:

Define roles and responsibilities. State clearly what each group brings to the table. Define governance structures and each partner’s roles and responsibilities, tapping into each group’s strengths.

Related ACF Resources:

Develop a common understanding. Engage in strategic planning to develop shared mission, vision and goals. The plan also should include establishing a framework for the partnership; defining indicators and performance measures; and outlining a monitoring and accountability plan. Clearly define a decision-making process. Doing so will help the group determine the most appropriate course of action when conflict arises.

Related ACF Resources:

Put it in writing! Form contractual agreements to solidify and formalize partnership relationships. All agreements should be in writing. Agreements should address roles and responsibilities, providing enough detail to bind the partnership and serve as a mechanism to assess that commitments are being fulfilled. The agreement should be reviewed periodically and adapted as needed.

Related ACF Resources:

Communicate. Communicate. Then communicate again! Effective and consistent communications is central to the success of creating, implementing and sustaining partnerships. Partners should discuss what information is important to them and how they want to receive it.

Related ACF Resources: