Will You Apply? EHS-Child Care Partnerships Grants

Forget summer vacation, you have a grant to write! The Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships grant applications are due August 20 2014. The good news – there is a 75-page limit.

The goal of the partnerships is to raise the quality of child care for infants and toddlers across the country. Currently, Early Head Start programs serve three to four percent of eligible infants and toddlers. Grantees will partner with center-based and family child care providers who agree to meet Early Head Start Program Performance Standards, and provide comprehensive, full-day, full year, high-quality services to infants and toddlers from low-income families.

North Carolina does not plan to submit a state application. The state is eligible to receive up to $15,537,531 in base funding, so eligible entities are encouraged to apply and include:

  • Current Head Start or Early Head Start grantees
  • Independent school districts
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • Native American tribal governments (federally recognized)
  • Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • For-profit organizations
  • Small businesses
  • State governments
  • County governments
  • City or township governments

Do This ASAP!

If you are even think about applying, be sure to register with grants.gov ASAP. It can take one to three weeks to process your registration. You must also have a DUNS number. This can take up to two days. Apply at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. 

Funding and Match

Funding is available based on the number of young children in poverty in the state. North Carolina is eligible to receive up to $15,537,531 in base funding. Amounts for all states are listed on page 55 of the application.

There are three funding categories – Start-up, Base and Training and Technical Assistance. Applicants may request start-up funds; however, the approval of start-up funding is not guaranteed. Base funding can be used for program operations, staff, materials, equipment and facilities. In addition, applicants should request an additional 2.5% of the base funding for training and technical assistance.

Funding requests need to be above the award floor of $750,000. Applications that exceed the award ceiling of $54,933,950 will be disqualified.

A match is required. Grantees must provide at least 20% of the total approved cost of the project. This match can include cash or in-kind contributions.

Three Categories of Funding

You can apply under one of three categories, but only one!

  1. Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership: All services are delivered through the partners and at least 25% of their Early Head Start eligible children receive subsidies at all times. These applications are prioritized and receive 10 bonus points.
  2. Early Head Start Expansion and Partnership Mix: Services are delivered directly through Early Head Start Programs and through the partnership model. At least 25% of children in the partnership receive subsidy.
  3. Non-partnership Early Head Start Expansion: This is the traditional Early Head Start model. Applicants will need to explain why they are not including a partnership model.

NC Data Sources

You will need to provide significant data as part of the application. Below is a chart outlining some of the data needed and North Carolina sources.

Describe precise geographic location and boundaries of service area
Define areas of greatest need using data from state, county or community assessment
Estimate number of infants and toddler eligible for Early Head Start in service areaNC Child is pulling this information together. We will post it on our website as soon as it is available.
Estimate number of infants and toddlers receiving child care subsidies in service area


NC Kids Count: NC Child is the state’s Kids Count organization and manages the North Carolina Kids Count Data Center. Information is available by county, school district, city and congressional district. This is an excellent resource for defining areas and need.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps: Information by county on health outcomes, including length and quality, health behaviors (obesity, smoking, etc.), access to care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

Diversity Data Kids: Indicators by race and ethnicity are available by county, metropolitan area and for large cities and school districts. Includes population, population change, household types, public school enrollment, school segregation and poverty among the 105 possible indicators.

NC ECE Data Repository: County data on child care, number of children under three receiving child care subsidy, use of child care, number of child care programs for each star rating and more.

Local Partners

High quality early child care is only one component of Early Head Start. Services are designed to meet the needs of individual children and families from pregnancy through a child’s third birthday. They include:

  • Home visits, especially for families with newborns and other infants;
  • Parent education, including parent-child activities;
  • Comprehensive health and mental health services, including services to women before, during, and after pregnancy;
  • Nutrition; and
  • Ongoing support for parents through case management and peer support groups.

Potential partners for collaboration include:

Proposal Sections

The application includes the following sections:

  • Community Need & Objectives (25 points)
  • Project Design & Approach (30 points)
  • Organizational Infrastructure & Management Systems (10 points)
  • Staffing (10 points)
  • Project Budget & Budget Justification (15 points)
  • Partnership Priority (10 points)

Additional Items of Note from the Application

  • They expect to award 300 grants.
  • The grant period is for up to 59 months. However, the initial budget period is up to 11 months with up to four additional annual budget periods.
  • Partnerships have 18 months to meet many of the Early Head Start performance standards, but they must meet basic requirements, such as ratios and health and safety requirements, immediately. The regulations relevant to Early Head Start (known as the Head Start Program Performance Standards) are listed on page 46 of the application.

There’s Help!

The Build Initiative has assembled a comprehensive arsenal of resources. Start with their white paper, Deciding the State Role in Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships. There is good information for any entity, not just states, considering applying. The paper includes:

  • Section-by-section breakdown of possible points in the Federal Opportunity Announcement (FOA), and
  • Requirements that the grantee must meet.

Check out their Webinar Series, starting with Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships: Making the Most of It. And the Build YouTube Channel has a video series on the topic. Visit their website for more tools.

As the grant administrator, the Administration for Children and Families is the authoritative source for information. If you have questions, be sure to contact them directly.

More Resources