Layered funding is the financial hallmark of the new Early Head Start (EHS) – Child Care Partnerships Grants. The March 31 webinar, Maximizing Resources in Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships/Role of Governance in Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, highlighted the following:
You can think of EHS funding in three layers.
First Layer: This is the foundational layer. These are the funds that the child care program is already receiving to operate (e.g., child care subsidy). These funds cannot be supplanted.
Second Layer: These are the Early Head Start funds that pay for the program-level, comprehensive services required by Early Head Start. Some child care programs already provide these services, so these are also thought of as funds that fill in the gaps. These are services that benefit all children attending the child care center, regardless of their EHS-eligibility. Examples include:
- Staff training to meet the EHS requirements,
- Increased staffing levels to meet EHS child/staff ratios,
- Equipment and supplies,
- Minor facility improvements to meet health and safety requirements, and
- Parent training.
Third Layer: These are Early Head Start funds that pay for individual child services only for Early Head Start eligible children. Examples include:
- Screenings for developmental, sensory and behavioral concerns,
- Referrals to outside agencies,
- Assigned family service workers and visits,
- Home visits, and
- Infant formula and diapers.
In addition to layered funding, presenters also discussed the following:
Continuity of Care prioritized. EHS funding will pay for an eligible-child’s slot even if that family loses their eligibility for child care subsidy.
Children should not be segregated by funding. If a center has five classrooms, EHS children should be in each class, rather having one EHS classroom.
Funds follow the child. Funds allocated to a child care program are directly tied to the number of EHS-eligible children enrolled. So the more EHS-eligible children attending a child care center, the more funding the child care center has to meet the EHS requirements. If the ratio of EHS- eligible children is too low, it may be difficult for the center to meet the standards.
Matching dollars are required. Grantees, not child care partners, are responsible for a 20% match of the approved budget. Federal funds from other programs cannot be used to meet this requirement. The match can include in-kind services such as donated space and supplies, community volunteers, and pro-bono professional services. These have to be documented according to federal guidelines.
Administration costs limited to 15 percent. A minimum of 85% of funds must go to supporting services. Administrative costs include (but are not limited to) overall management of the program, management of the agency, accounting, budgeting, payroll and purchasing.
Grantee has legal and fiscal responsibility. As soon as the grantee receives its first dollars, it is legally responsible for ensuring all grant activities meet the regulations, terms and conditions of the grant. It is fiscally responsible for ensuring that all funds are used prudently and according to the regulations.
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